I’m delighted to announce receipt of a Live Well Make Art microgrant from Cartwheel Arts which will fund my research project into using journal therapy with patients living with Crohn’s Disease.
Creative writing can develop peoples confidence and help them to communicate more effectively. This comes not just from sharing their own writing but also from receiving feedback, and giving a response to the writing of others. People are often surprisingly open about sharing their feelings within the supportive framework of a writing group, perhaps because the main focus is on the writing rather than themselves.
I have used creative writing to help people to sustain and/or improve their mental health and wellbeing, and develop their self-confidence and communication skills.
I am particularly interested in working with people who are at a crossroads in their lives whether that is because of physical or mental illness, unemployment, bereavement, etc.
I can offer one off workshops, e.g. as part of a Mental Health event, or extended courses introducing different techniques and providing support and feedback and/or leading to a final product such as a booklet and/or presentation of work.
Journal Therapy exercises allow a person to freely express their thoughts and feelings on paper without inhibition or fear of being judged. They can make an individual feel more in control of their own thoughts and less inhibited and, therefore, more liberated in their expression of them.
Journal Therapy exercises encourage the individual to feel responsible for finding their own answers to their own questions and, as a result, their own self-development.
We all make an impact in our lives no matter what our jobs, interests or roles have been and it’s important to acknowledge and recognise that particularly when your life is limited by your mental or physical health. I have worked in a Day Hospice helping patients to record their lives – for themselves to create a positive perspective, and for their families so that they can share in a past they may never have discussed before. I have researched and documented family trees then turned the dry data into personal ‘stories’ which flesh out the facts with wider research and anecdotes.
Local history is important to local people because it creates a sense of place, pride and perspective. I have worked extensively with local history. I am meticulous in my research and can usually find a way to bring even the driest facts and figures to life. I have used local history topics to inspire primary school children, make older people feel that their lives and experiences are valued, and bring generations together.
I can interview local people (transcribed, audio or visual) and encourage them to talk about their own lives, using the results to inform others about the past either through public exhibitions, books or plays.