As the pandemic finally loosens its hold, and our country struggles with environmental disasters coupled with political and social unrest, our sense of community and connection continues to shift. Our own feelings of wellbeing may suffer. Of all the expressive arts, creative writing, especially creative non-fiction, can offer a tool to restore emotional balance.
Writing about such traumatic situations can be daunting. As the writer reports the experience, they are not only processing what happened, they are also ascribing meaning to the event in order to re-establish their footing. In many cases, this “dear diary” confessional journaling leads to self-healing.
There are, however, additional creative writing techniques that not only embody the qualities of a healing narrative, but also exhibit excellence in the written word, thereby transforming the individual’s experience of tangible or even ambiguous loss, into personal art. This workshop will demonstrate how writing supports that shift from coping to healing by combining generative creative writing with lecture, small group discussions, and playful visual art projects providing attendees with opportunities to combine expressive arts with guided writing prompts to foster a sense of resilience and wellbeing.
Writer and educator Catherine Berresheim earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Spalding University School of Creative and Professional Writing. She leads the “Words That Heal” workshops and is eminently qualified to do so, having taught creative writing for over a dozen years. Catherine brings her compassion and creativity to these workshops, where she shares her passion for writing as a means of healing.
Together with Dr. Graham Reside (Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University Divinity School) Catherine led a class called “Trauma and the Healing Power of Writing” with the Riverbend death row insiders. Catherine's passion for writing as a way of healing is often a popular topic for professional development conferences in her field. Top among them includes her presentation entitled “Writing for Their Lives: Lesson Learned on Death Row” at the Conference on Writing and Well-Being at the University of Arizona, in January 2020.
To fully participate, please bring the following 'making' materials with you:
A couple of photographs from childhood or another significant time in your life if you have them.
Talisman or another personally important object that you are willing to show the group
We will supply writing journals, pens, and refreshments for the workshop attendees.