Poetry and short stories can act as powerful springboards to growth, self-enhancement and healing. With the guidance of a facilitator, participants can engage with their own creative expression, and with that of others, and in doing so find opportunities to voice their truth, affirm their strengths, and find new ways of coping with challenges.
This accessible book explores the therapeutic possibilities of poetry and stories, exploring ways of selecting appropriate works for discussion, and providing techniques for facilitating personally relevant and growth-enhancing sessions. The author provides ideas and suggestions for personal writing activities that emerge from or intertwine with this discussion, and explains how participants can create their own poetic and narrative pieces using other media, such as music, photographs, film, paintings, objects, and physical movement. The book references a wide variety of specific poems, short stories and films to use as prompts to creative writing, and contains a useful bibliography of poetry collections, story anthologies and film resources as well as a list of further resources and template feedback forms.
Combining theory with a multitude of case examples and innovative ideas for practical, experiential activities, this book is a valuable introduction for creative arts therapy students and practitioners, mental health and medical professionals, and anyone else interested in the healing possibilities of creative expression.
'This is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in using stories in a therapeutic context. The author's focus is on using a written text or reading aloud from a text rather than oral storytelling however there is still much that is useful for the storyteller.
In reading I was reawakened to the potential that stories have to facilitate healing and change lives. Chavis uses stories and poems to work with clients and in the book she outlines how she chooses the texts and works with them. There is a short section on folk and fairy tales and I was interested to read that the author likes to work with client's most memorable story. The reason it is memorable is because it resonates strongly with the client's psyche and can help to reveal aspects that have been suppressed or hidden.'
'Envisaged as a "primer of poetry therapy"(primarily for readers outside of the United States), this wonderful book thoroughly explores the therapeutic possibilities of poetry and story, as well as considering some wider aspects of creative writing practice. It will be of interest to both students and practitioners of creative arts therapies within the medical and health professions, as well to those working in other settings that use the healing possibilities of creative expression.'
Introduction: The Transformative Power of Word and Image. 1. Poems: Springboards to Growth and Healing. Poetry's Special Healing and Inspirational Role. Therapeutic Features of Poetry. Poetry Selection Process. Choosing Therapeutic Poems for Your Files. Selecting Poems for Specific Participants and Settings. Facilitating the Poetry Growth/Healing Experience. Steps in the Poetry Therapy Process. Setting the Tone/Warm Ups. Introducing the Poems. Beginning Discussion - Encouraging Personal Engagement with the Poem. Encouraging Exploration and Self-Application Through Discussion. Incorporating Writing Activities for Exploration and Self-Application. Providing Closure. Illustrating the Process - Two Vignettes. 3. Stories: Stimuli for Personal Development and Relationship Building. The Role and Personal Magic of Stories. Choosing Therapeutic Poems for Your Files. Basic Therapeutic Features of Stories. Fairy/Folk Tales, Fables, Myths and Childhood Storybook Tales. Literary Short Stories. Short-Short Stories or Sudden Fiction. Creative Non-Fiction Memoirs/Vignettes/Anecdotes. Selecting Stories for Specific Participants and Settings. Facilitating the Story Therapy/Growth Experience. Setting the Tone/Warm-Ups. Presenting the Story. Beginning Discussion/Encouraging Personal Engagement with the Story. Inviting Exploration and Application to Self. Creative Writing Techniques in Response to Stories. Providing Closure. 4. Creative Writing for Life Enhancement. The Power of Self-Expression. Setting the Atmosphere for Writing. The Therapeutic Process of Telling Our Stories. Developing Our Personal Waking and Dream Metaphors/Symbols. Word Play and Creating with Linguistic Structures. Creatively Working with Objects. Nature Writing and Healing. Writing to Visual Stimuli. Writing in Response to Film. Melding Art, Music and Movement with Creative Expression. The Power of the Group Poem. 5. Concluding Remarks. Appendix I: Selected Resources. Poetry Anthologies. Story Anthologies. Anthologies with Both Poems and Short Stories. Film Resources. Recommended Websites. Appendix II: Feedback and Report Forms.
About the Author:
Geri Chavis is a professor of English at St. Catherine University, Minnesota, a Licensed Psycholgist in private practice, and a Certified Poetry Therapist and poetry therapy mentor/supervisor. She is a former Vice President of the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) and is an Editorial Board member of the Journal for Poetry Therapy. A few years ago, she was named honorary President of the newly-formed Irish Poetry Therapy Network. Geri resides in Edina, Minnesota.