The very act of putting pen to paper has a therapeutic value. Many suggest that in writing our thoughts down we are acknowledging them and subconsciously making meaning of them. It can help those struggling with distressing or destructive thoughts in forming new and positive perspectives.
At Camino we adopt a holistic approach that offers a diverse set of therapeutic processes to suit the individual. We often find that in tapping into the creative side of a client we can access those thoughts and feelings that are otherwise locked away in the subconscious.
When we’re in the depths of addiction and trauma, creativity can get pushed into the recesses of our minds making it difficult to access. Creativity can often become stifled by addictive thoughts. But it’s always there.
What is Creative writing?
At Camino Recovery, Creative Writing workshops are guided by writers, not therapists. This means that the focus is on the craft and process of writing; how to construct a good story. Working together in small groups we explore different genres, character creation and development, setting and sensory details, conflict and tension, dialogue and resolutions.
We encourage our creative writers to produce complete scenes, poems or short stories in the genre of their choice. There are no hard and fast rules; fiction, life-writing and poetry are all explored and each genre benefits from careful crafting.
Janet creates an informal and friendly setting in which our clients can express themselves. In encouraging internal reflection it can be easier to share our experiences and tell our stories-something many find difficult to verbally.
How does it work?
Each creative writing workshop session begins with free writing. Keeping the pen moving non-stop across the page for five to seven minutes has been shown to access parts of the brain that we do not use normally. Free writing opens a window to creativity and fresh ideas.
Visual and written prompts tailored for the individual group can be used to stimulate ideas in free writing exercises. Your writing tutor will offer prompts to spark creativity in individual clients. In the past, we have used prompts related to fantasy, hero’s journey, revenge plots, life writing, and poetry.
How does it help?
Our Clinical team often find that Creative writing is a useful catalyst in moving a client forward when verbal therapies alone have initially proven challenging.
Aside of the therapeutic value to our clinical team studies have shown that there are many advantages to creative writing that can assist in the process of recovery including:
- Boosting self-esteem
- Learning a new skill
- Fine-tuning an existing passion
- Increased wellbeing
- Enhanced sense of community
- Discovering your voice
What do I need?
- A fresh notebook dedicated to creative work
- A pen
- That’s it!
A willingness and open-mindedness to the process helps! ….and maybe you will enjoy it…Many of our clients have initially found it difficult to appreciate its value but subsequently reflect that it helped them in their process.
Can anyone do it?
Absolutely…the therapeutic value to writing is immeasurable. Even when finding the right words is a challenge we use other forms of visual expression such as coloured markers and collage: there is always a road to creativity.
Each writer is invited to read their stories to the group, and we discuss ways to develop themes and narrative. This is usually followed by readings from published authors to illustrate techniques being worked on that day.
When we use our imaginations to create fictional characters, invent settings and dream up plots, we still have access to our personal experiences and emotions. By introducing fictional techniques we can access our personal experiences and all our emotions while enjoying control over our narratives. In this way we can allow ourselves to turn up on the page, to find our voice, and have fun in the process.
Workshops take place every Friday afternoon with Janet Floyer.