Rescuing speech: Teaching a writing aesthetic for counseling practice

Pages 73-86 | Published online: 14 Jun 2010

This author locates and describes the narrative therapy practice of writing poetic documents, and outlines a process for teaching counselor education students to craft poetic documents. Rescued speech poems, as poetic documents, are crafted by a therapist using only “rescued speech,” that is only words that clients have spoken in therapy. Significant words are noted during therapy—rescued, on narrative therapy terms—and later arranged in poetic form by the counselor. The author describes the steps of a teaching process intended to support student counselors to develop linguistic attunement and a writing aesthetic. Illustrative examples of poetic documents written with rescued speech are offered. In these ways, the article contributes from a narrative therapy perspective to the wider field of poetry therapy.