This article reports on the early stages of a multi-year project using writing to facilitate healing among university-aged survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. Working with genocide survivors carries with it expected and unexpected personal and professional complexities. Drawing on early versions of her own published and unpublished poems, the author demonstrates by way of example the role that writing poetry and the use of poetic inquiry played in addressing those complexities. The article includes an overview of the project that took place in Rwanda and describes the challenges inherent in working with survivors, then lays out the role that poetry and poetic inquiry can play as a means of engaging with this sort of difficult research. Through the inclusion of the poems themselves, the author explores the ways poetry affords opportunities for listening, understanding, processing, and responding to others. The article concludes with an explication of the broader implications of this work.
The purpose of this article is to present a spiritual perspective of creative writing, discuss the impact of emotional trauma and psychotropic medication on creativity, and explore the dilemmas posed by pharmacological disconnection from the Spiritual Divine.
Expressive and reflective writing has been one way of recording personal changes and losses. It has also been key in surviving the sometimes traumatic work involved in working with clients in psychotherapeutic relationships. This article explores some of the underlying research into writing for personal and professional development with illustrations from both personal and professional life.
This article presents a heuristic research project designed to explore the role of personal writing in the development of the self. True to the heuristic process as outlined by Moustakas, the author analyzed over 30 years of personal poetry and journal writing through her mother’s mental illness and brother’s traumatic brain injury and epilepsy. Phase two of the project included nine participants (co-researchers) who were lifetime writers. Results indicated themes related to the (i) interpersonal and personal nature of writing, (ii) the spiritually transcendent nature of writing, (iii) the fact that writing facilitates perspective taking, (iv) the importance of challenge in personal growth, (v) the dynamic nature of writing, and (vi) the power of writing to influence personal identity. The paper presents the process, stories of the author and three participants, synthesized results, the power of the heuristic process, and potential application to the creative arts.
The focus of this article is on the role poetry writing plays in helping those bereaved or depressed to cope with their emotions. Through a therapeutic process of applying her thoughts to writing poetry, the author, mother of a special needs child, expresses herself and the trauma of her experience. The writer utilizes free verse to allow thoughts to freely form on the page instead of forcing them into a tightly constructed form that might hinder the therapeutic writing process.