What is writing for wellbeing and how might it be helpful?
Writing for wellbeing is purposeful and intentional use of reflective writing to aid mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness. Writing therapy can be both healing and revealing. The act of writing things down often relieves tension and can bring clarity to a situation or feeling.
By embarking on journal therapy, it allows you to not only write down and clarify a situation or how you are feeling but to also have a dialogue with that writing and analyse your thoughts and concerns. Writing therapy can increase awareness and insight, promote change and growth and further develop your sense of self.
Writing therapy can also be hugely beneficial when it comes to your relationship with the past. Your capacity to move forward as a developing being rests on a healthy relationship with your history. Psychotherapy relies heavily on memory and on the ability to retrieve and organise images and events from the personal past. If you learn not only to tell your stories but to listen to what your stories tell you, you can become more self-aware and may experience closure or at least a more comfortable way of living with the past.
There are four flames of Writing for Wellbeing:
The Therapy. We’ll start with the science bit. Person Centred, Gestalt and Transactional Analysis are at the root of our practise as counsellors. These theories may not explicitly feature in every writing exercise of the retreat, but you will learn about at least one concept and you will be encouraged to use it in some of your writing. As counsellors we will use the essence of these therapies during group discussions to build the safety and therapeutic nature of the retreat.
Writing. Writing itself is therapeutic as it can help us escape and let go. Writing can also be used to work on specific issues, uncover truths and help us pick up our patterns of behaviour and this will be encouraged in the writing sessions. The intention of the retreats is not to produce great writing as it is about expressing yourself in the moment. Having said this, retreats such as this can help unblock writers who are blocked and who knows you may go on to write a novel after the retreat!
The connection of the group.
‘At its best, a group is not only a small, cohesive community in which people feel received, accepted and confronted, but it is also a place and an atmosphere where people can become creative together. An ideal group is a place for testing one’s growth boundaries, a community in which members can develop at the highest levels of human potential.’ Joseph Zinker – Creative Process in Gestalt Therapy, p. 156 Therapeutic groups of any sort can be hugely powerful and a place for awareness and growth. The beauty of the retreats is that you have time alone for writing as well as group sharing and discussion time and you can share as much or as little as you like (as long as you introduce yourself at the beginning of the day).
Relaxation and sometimes silence.
The fact that we call these days or weekends a retreat is hugely important. In our busy lives we barely have time to stop and think. The retreats give participants opportunity to listen to themselves and take stock. The idyllic setting and escape from everyday life promotes relaxation as does the fact that you don’t have to worry about food or refreshments as they are provided throughout the day, leaving you time to concentrate on your own writing and thoughts.
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