This is an important resource for anyone who runs writing workshops and a delightful, unputdownable adventure - yes, really! - for anyone who thinks it matters that writing works... I loved the chapters on place and objects, although, as before, I am not looking for overtly 'therapeutic' outcomes. I delight in the recognition of the importance of doing worthwhile, satisfying work. The authors clearly believe that a rigorous attitude to quality is in no way in conflict with catharsis and discovery. I loved the succinctness of the accounts “This is what I wanted to do. This is what happened”. I read this book as I read many creative writing handbooks: as a total immersion experience in a familiar but stimulating pool; a pool that refreshes, relaxes, buoys me up, gives me opportunities for vigorous exercise.
The subheading explains what Writing Works is all about: A resource handbook for therapeutic writing workshops and activities.The use of creative writing as a route to personal development is a powerful and therapeutic tool, and therapeutic writing groups are run not only by writers but also by health professionals, occupational therapists and nurses as well as social workers of various kinds. And these groups will often take place in community centres, hospitals, schools, homes for the elderly and rehabilitation centres. This is a highly specialised field in which group leaders will encourage participants to use writing (as the book puts it) 'to explore themselves and their situations, and to express what they think or feel'. The practical aspects of running such a group are explained in the early chapters, and there are also plenty of suggestions for writing exercises that can be set and explored in group sessions. Typical exercises would involve allowing an inanimate object to 'speak' and to write down what it says, using published poems as a springboard for therapeutic writing, and using writing to explore the ways in which group members believe they are perceived by others.
Three editors; but – including these three – forty nine contributors. Is it this number and variety of voices which makes Writing Works not merely interesting, but satisfying. It is a collection of simple, sound and enthusiastic advice about using writing as therapy, and it is all the better for spelling out what might be taken for granted.- the importance of the organization, context, location amenities needed before even beginning to work with those who are writing to learn about themselves….Writing works contains many exercises and activity which any creative writing teacher could use with success. In fact, although this is a handbook for therapists, is has a great deal to teach us about how we think through what we are doing, and why, in any writing course/class/workshop. It is also extremely readable, and edited in such a skilful way that it feels as if there is one editor, rather than three. The tone is reassuring, consistent, warm – and a real testament to the work of Lapidus as an organization, as well as the sensitivity of the teachers who contributed... Every NAWE member should buy this book.
The book is full of vignettes from practitioners' experiences of using creative writing in many different ways to bring about therapeutic expression or catharsis. It is presented as a resource handbook for therapeutic writing workshops and activities, and as such contains many interesting approaches and ideas for running successful therapeutic groups…It would be an excellent resource for ideas and developing skills for experienced occupational therapists in mental health and educational settings.