This conversation about poetry/writing therapy germinated from many discussions between two authors with long experience in the field. Their conversation has an essentially European quality, deepened by cultural differences. They talk about fundamental principles and values used in their practice and professional writing; their own personal writing experience that brought them to this work; characteristics and history of European approaches; its foundations in education, psychology, and philosophy; the difference and similarities between published literary writing and therapeutic writing; and the role of metaphor, narrative, and descriptive observation writing. An eclectic range of references, vital to the field, including selected research trial evidence from the United States and Europe, are drawn upon and critically discussed.
Last but not least, James W Pennebaker (University of Texas at Austin, USA) began the last keynote of the 2017 conference by discussing his early work exploring the links between emotion, language and health; which culminated in his finding that expressive writing interventions can improve both physical and mental health. He went on to focus on his current research studying how the use of everyday language reflects personality, with a particularly fascinating analysis of the linguistics of US presidential debates.
Positive psychology, expressive writing and the confidence cult – BPS 2017
Kathleen Adams: In the last decade I have taught this class to more than 8,000 therapists across the United States, and nearly all of them tell me that the Journal Ladder completely shifted the way they think about the use of writing in therapy
The Journal Ladder was originally designed as a trauma model, one developed while I was working as a journal therapist for a psychiatric hospital program specializing in dissociative disorders (Adams 1998).