Have you ever noticed how different your thoughts look when written down in front of you? Sometimes, our thoughts can feel like sand slipping through our hands – hard to catch and grasp. When we write our thoughts down and the words appear in front of us, we can gain insight into what we are thinking and even what we are feeling. This clarity allows us to explore our inner world and 'connect the dots' between our thoughts and feelings—a practice behind many therapeutic approaches. Expressing ourselves creatively—through words—can assist with processing our experiences and feelings and can have a significant healing effect.
There are four main styles of writing: narrative, expository, descriptive and persuasive writing. Creative writing can cross over throughout any of these styles, using words for movement, exploration and expression. Creative writing provides an opportunity for the writer to build their unique voice and safely explore their ideas and values throughout the process. Creatively practising assertion is useful for people who struggle with establishing boundaries or who have a history of trauma and abuse. Writing out our feelings can help us use the two hemispheres of the brain (left and right) to engage our emotional and cognitive sides, allowing us to process information and experiences helpfully and organically. As a practice, writing encourages mindfulness and reflection, which can be soothing for our nervous system, giving our bodies a chance to relax and unwind. Writing can give us the space and time to allow our thoughts to just be and settle where they are. This reminds us that we have control over what we are thinking and that we may choose to practice different perspectives after noticing our thoughts. Once we understand our feelings, we can practice the skill of 'self-regulation,' supporting ourselves during times of emotional distress.
Writing can also help improve our memory and make us feel less 'full' or overwhelmed by writing down what is on our mind or making a list of things to do. Writing can provide us with new insights and perspectives and can help us reflect and make meaning of our thoughts, feelings and experiences. It can also lead to a deeper connection with oneself and therefore aid on the journey to self-acceptance and understanding. When you are wielding the pen (or the keyboard!), you are reminded that you are the writer of your own unique story and you can make choices as to where the story goes.
The Therapeutic Writing Group at Skylight offers participants the ability to explore their thoughts and feelings creatively, in a safe, supportive and fun environment led by a qualified Counsellor and Writer. Creative expression has many therapeutic benefits and is a tool to assist with self-regulation, mindfulness practice and exploration of the self. Writing can also help with the processing of experiences and feelings and can have a significant healing effect. You do not need to be a prolific writer to join the group – it is all about the experience.
Come along and express yourself. I hope to see you there.