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Writing in Therapy

Updated for 2021

A six-hour live interactive course

with Jonathan Young and Anne Bach

Course Description

This course demonstrates how expressive writing can be useful for personal exploration. Engaging the imagination helps reveal unclaimed dimensions of emotional experience. Writing activities show how spontaneous expression can help us gain compassionate perspectives towards ourselves and others.

Focus is on methods of encouraging participants to write freely. We will discuss how writing encourages healing through increasing confidence and self-acceptance. The ongoing practice of reflective writing can be a major aid in finding personal fulfillment.

The material is presented at an introductory level, requiring no background in writing or psychology.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize how the unconscious can be evident in reflective writing.

  • Select helpful methods of acknowledging individual perspectives.

  • Discern how the inner life can be enriched through expressive writing.

  • Demonstrates techniques useful in stimulating the imagination.

  • Identify strategies for introducing writing activities into psychotherapy.

  • Discuss effective facilitation methods for group writing.

CE Credit information

The following CE credits are available:

  • Psychology, MFT, LCSW, NBCC, Nursing : 6 CE hours

Most teachers must get credits approved by their school administration. Center courses meet the requirements in most states. Contact us if you need more information about receiving credit in your state.

How to Register

  1. Select a date from the list of seminar dates

  2. Register online or call the Center

These courses are offered online via Zoom meeting.

About the Presenter

Anne Bach

Anne Bach, M.S., MFT 38891 is a specialist in uses of writing in psychotherapy. She gives presentations on creativity as inner work at major conferences, and lectures widely on psychological dimensions of expressive writing. She also appears in memoir drama performances for various theater groups, including the Marsh Stage in Berkeley. Her clinical background includes poetry therapy with seriously mentally ill patients.

This day includes support from Jonathan Young, PhD, psychologist.

William Holman Hunt, The Lady of Shalott

Day Schedule

Zoom link opens at 9:30 a.m. - Workshop 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

10:00 - Writing as Personal Exploration

11:15 - Break (approximate time

11:30 - Techniques to Stimulate the Imagination

12:00 to 1:30 - Lunch Break

1:30 - Written Expression and the Unconscious

2:30 - Break (approximate time

2:45 - Pacing to reduce vulnerability

3:50 - Break (approximate time

4:00 - Becoming an Effective Writing Facilitator

5:00 - Course concludes - Total 6 hours

Selections from the Reading List

Bolton, Gillie, Victoria Field, Kate Thompson (Eds) (2006) Writing Works: A Resource Handbook for Therapeutic Writing Workshops and Activities (Writing for Therapy or Personal Development). London, UK: Jessica Kingsley

Cameron, Julia (1999) The Right to Write. Los Angeles: TarcherPerigree

Chavis, Geri (2011) Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley

Chavis, Geri Giebel (2003) The Healing Fountain: Poetry Therapy for Life's Journey. Saint Cloud, MN: North Star Press of Saint Cloud

DeSalvo, Louise (1999) Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives. New York: HarperSanFrancisco

Dillard, Anne (1989) The Writing Life, New York: HarperPerennial

Fox, John (1995) Finding What You Didn’t Lose, New York: Tarcher/Putnam

Goldberg, Natalie (2016) The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and this Zigzag Life. Boston: Shambhala

Goldberg, Natalie (2016) Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Boston: Shambhala

Goldberg, Natalie (2014) Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing. STC Craft / Falick

Goldberg, Natalie (2013) The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language. Atria

Goldberg, Natalie (2011) Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft. Open Road

Goldberg, Natalie (1999) Freeing the Writer Within. Audible audiobook

Goldberg, Natalie (1990) Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, New York: Bantam

Hirshfield, Jane (1998) Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. New York: HarperPerennial

Hynes, Arleen (1994) Biblio-Poetry Therapy: The Interactive Process: A Handbook. Saint Cloud, MN: North Star Press of Saint Cloud

Keen, Sam and Valley-Fox, Anne (1973) Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life through Writing and Storytelling. New York: Tarcher/Putnam

Lamott, Anne (2004) Word by Word, (audiobook). Austin, TX: Writer’s AudioShop ~ also available on audible

Lamott, Anne (1994) Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, New York: Doubleday

Mazza, Nicholas (2003) Poetry Therapy ~ Theory and Practice New York: Routledge

Mazza, Nicholas (1999) Poetry Therapy: Interface of the Arts and Psychology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press

Metzger, Deena (1992) Writing for Your Life: A Guide and Companion to the Inner Worlds. New York: HarperSanFrancisco

Pennebaker, James W., Joshua M. Smyth (2016) Opening Up by Writing It Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain (3rd Ed.) New York: The Guilford Press

Pennebaker, James W., John Evans (2014) Expressive Writing: Words that Heal. Enumclaw, WA: Idyll Arbor

Rilke, Rainer Maria (1984) Letters to a Young Poet. New York: Random House

Woodman, Marion (1990) Chaos or Creativity? (audiotape). Pacific Grove, CA: Oral Traditions Archives

Woodman, Marion (1993) Emily Dickinson and the Demon Lover<, (audiotape). Boulder, CO: Sounds True