Workshop for Patients
When we become ill, we are thrown into a chaotic world where our “normal” lives disappear. We can feel a loss of control over our bodies and our circumstances, and feel overwhelmed by our new role of patient. Suddenly, instead of being the actors in our lives, we are rendered passive, or in-valid. Fear, despair, and guilt can often threaten to overtake us. Sometimes we don’t know who we are anymore. Yet, through writing, we are able to find our true voice. Our writing becomes the place we can awaken to our feelings, and the workshop becomes the safe haven where we can share those feelings.
Family Caregiver Workshop
No one is ill in isolation. The burden extends to family members and caregivers. Caregivers may suffer from conflicting emotions of love, fatigue and fear. Frustrations can arise from feelings of isolation. This workshop is designed to provide a safe space for caregivers to sort through their feelings and find a sense of balance and support.
A Professional Development Workshop for Health Care Staff
Working with people experiencing a health crisis can be both rewarding and draining. We are privileged to witness moments of courage yet we also often witness despair, pain and death. How do we process these intense emotions? Do we ignore them? Do we share them? Is it safe? This workshop is designed to provide writing tools for self-care for health care workers. It is also designed to be a safe place where staff can reveal experiences and feelings. Research into such programs has demonstrated boosted morale among participating staff.
Correctional Facilities Workshop
Writing workshops provide many psycho-social benefits for those who are incarcerated. The writing allows them to reflect on how and why they came to this place in their lives, while the group setting offers them opportunities to have their stories told and witnessed to empathically. Author Wally Lamb, long-time teacher in correctional facilities states that “their writing and sharing often lead to greater and deeper personal insights.” Often these insights translate into learning new strategies for coping, as well as leading to changed behavior.
Narrative Medicine for Medical Students
Much of the art of doctoring lies in the doctor’s ability to be observant, as well as her ability to listen for the subtext of the patient’s narrative. To be attentive to the whole patient- mind, body, emotions– the doctor needs to be attentive to her own mind, body and emotions. Narrative competence is the term used to describe a doctor who is attuned to issues of context, causality, and emotion in the patient’s subjective experience of illness.
This aims of this workshop are to develop observational skills, communication skills and narrative competency. Close reading and reflective writing skills are both taught.
Workshops for Veterans
Writing provides many psycho-social benefits for those who have experienced the trauma of war. Many returning vets feel isolated. The writing workshop allows them to reflect on their experiences while also creating community. It provides a safe space for veterans to tell the stories that “can’t be told but must be told.”
Domestic Abuse Survivors Workshop
Survivors of domestic abuse have to work through conflicting, often ambivalent feelings about their abusers. Writing, especially over time and with a group, gives them the perspective to understand what they can change and what they cannot. The workshops help them regain confidence, first by finding their own voices, and then in witnessing to others.
Note: We are not trained therapists. However, we use the time-tested tools of art to create therapeutic outcomes.
“Cherish your own emotions and never undervalue them.” — Robert Henri