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Poetry Therapy

– Poetry Therapy: Poetry, Journaling and Healing –

poetry therapy

Using poetry and journaling as part of therapy is growing in practice across North America. Organizations like the National Association for Poetry Therapy; the International Academy for Poetry Therapy; the Center for Journal Therapy; the Therapeutic Writing Institute; and the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy now offer various resources and services for practitioners interested in expanding into this field.

Although these credentialing organizations are based in the United States, there are accredited individuals available as mentors in Canada for Canadian’s interested in becoming poetry facilitators or therapists. You can also complete expressive writing and poetry therapy studies online through the Therapeutic Writing Institute.

In addition to the above organizations and institutes, there are also many websites that explore writing and healing. Here are a few of my favourites.

One Year – Writing and Healing

This website, created by Diane Morrow, a doctor and teacher, promotes the healing properties of writing in general. It has three main sections – healing poetry, ideas for writing and healing, and a one year guide to writing and healing.

“My hope is that [this site] might offer resources and inspiration—and perhaps, too, an imagined place that might facilitate your own writing and discovery.”

This website offers a very thorough overview of the history and current use of poetry therapy.

“Several studies support poetry therapy as one approach to the treatment of depression, as it has been repeatedly shown to relieve depressive symptoms, improve self-esteem and self-understanding, and encourage the expression of feelings.”

Writing the Self

This website is created by Dr. Reinekke Lengelle, a professor at Athabasca University and a researcher at The Hague University. She writes about the field of therapeutic and career writing, listing related research, courses and publications.

“Writing the self is the art and practice of using creative, expressive and reflective writing to tell your story and to develop your ‘warm inner compass.’”

Poetry Soup

Poetry Soup has a page that contains links to many poems it considers healing poems. It’s a wonderful repository of healing poems. If you’re interested in writing healing poetry, I strongly recommend reading the poems on this list – it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

“These examples illustrate what a famous healing poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style…”

The Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation is a great go-to source for poetry in general. While they don’t have a category called “Healing,” they do have one called “Living” which contains many sub-categories like “Health and Illness,” “The Body,” “The Mind,” “Sorrow and Grieving,” and more. You can also read Jennifer Nix’s personal essay, “Finding Poetry in Illness,” on their website.

“An independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.”

The Word Project

This website is dedicated to the use of words and art as a means of healing. They are also the publisher of snapdragon, a journal of art and healing.

“Authentically assisting individuals, businesses & communities in their healing journey toward wholeness, using words and art…”


*This article was published on April 14, 2018.

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