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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

As the pandemic surges on, and our country struggles with environmental disasters, political and social unrest, our sense of community and connection continues to shift. Our own feelings of well-being 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 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.

 

The “Words That Heal” virtual workshop combines 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 well-being.

 

Writer Catherine Berresheim, who earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction from Spalding University School of Creative and Professional Writing, leads “Words That Heal.”  As an educator for creative writing with 20 years experience she is passionate about helping others use 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.

The psychological work incurred when someone is writing about a traumatic experience is daunting. As the writer reports the event, they are also processing what happened and why. In many cases, this “dear diary” confessional journaling leads to self-healing. There are, however, additional creative writing techniques that embody the qualities of a healing narrative, thereby transforming an individual’s trauma into personal art.

 

Words That Heal will be offered 4 times, as follows:

  • Saturday, October 9 - ZOOM - 11 am - 2pm 

  • Saturday, February 26, 2022  - ZOOM - 11am - 2pm

  • Summer 2022 - details to follow

  • Fall 2022 - details to follow

To fully participate, you will need to have the following 'making' materials on hand before the event begins:

  • - A couple of photographs of your childhood

  • - A talisman or another personally important object important to you that you are willing to          show the group

  • - Crayons or markers

  • - Drawing paper

  • - Plasticine, clay, or play dough (recipe supplied to make your own) (Not needed for 2/26/22)

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