Writing As Creative Medicine
If you have reached this page it is possibly because you have worked within the daily writing network and come to understand that writing is indeed a creative medicine, or I have specifically requested that you help me promote writing as a creative tool. Let me explain.
For the past thirty years I have been a secondary school educator, specializing in the development of language through journal writing. In the process I have found striking evidence of the therapeutic value of these journals and found that they were an efficient tool for strengthening adolescent self esteem. As time passed I came to understand that if I encouraged my students to Zen it and participate in regular writing sprints their language development accelerated. This lead me to further research in the field.
Of more recent years my field of study has broadened and I have been examining the role of imagination in personal development, in the development of belief systems and in assisting adolescent rites of passage. My work has touched such a throng of emotions in my students that I have been led to examine the grief process and to devise creative strategies to help people write their way out of grief over a wide range of losses. The writing program I have created, which I used to call Writing for Well-being, applies a diverse range of strategies such as creative visualization and guided imagery to help people, ranging in age from eight to eighty, access their collective unconscious. My work reveals that when people use the tool of writing to do interior work they avail themselves of a creative medicine and are stunned by their creative potential. Writing helps them to find meaning and to break down the walls of silence that society has so carefully built around them. Writing enables them to express the throng of feelings and emotions that have previously been locked up within them.
Writers in residence and creative writing tutors around the world have been working for some time in forward thinking hospices and hospitals for a decade now. They have worked in prisons and with people providing care to others. However this is still a fledgling field in Australia and there is room for much growth and development.
It is my hope to raise awareness of the potential this field has not only in dealing with stress, workplace retrenchments and trauma, but in helping people find meaning at a time of societal discontent. At a time when our society is without creed or religion to turn to to control superstition and provide direction, writing takes on particular value. It helps people find things to have faith in.
At present I am working to do my bit towards this growth and development by maintaining this website as a free resource. I have reached out and worked with local primary schools, the Melbourne City Mission's Palliative Care Team, the Northern Carer's Association and students within the secondary college where I am employed full time. This work has advanced my understanding of the potential of training people to use writing as a way, a practice. It has led me to undertake an applied course in loss and grief and to develop links with bereavement counselors and the funeral industry.
My experience with such a broad range of individuals is unique, as is my application of Greek Mythology and the Muse, who was believed to preside over creativity, imagination and the arts. In my quest to identify the source of the creative impulse and make it available to the multitude I have been assisted by the thinking of great poets and other giants of literature. For example, I have made a close study of the relationship John Milton had to the Muse. I introduce people to the treasure house of stored memories and images within their psyche and help them to plunder their interior world by role modeling and working alongside them. I always do the same tasks and permit others to see my vulnerability and creative thinking processes.
"Imagination is the immortal God which should assume flesh for the redemption of mortal passion" wrote Shelley. To Shelley the imagination was a god. I am in no doubt that when we contact the Muse through writing we make a link to the divine. The really exciting thing is that when the ordinary man, normally so busy that his perceptions are clouded by his preoccupation's with survival, finally finds time to write on a regular basis, he comes to see his place in the universe through new eyes. Once his perspective is altered, once he connects with his creative core, his life alters - for he is then able to break down the walls of silence that have surrounded him since birth. Writing releases him from his prison, just as educative mythology enticed man forward out of his brutishness and the terrifying wilderness he in inhabited
You can help to further my work and empower more individuals by raising their awareness to the potential that lies within and actively encouraging people to make full use of the daily writing network.
My warmest regards