PO Box 2749
Tappahannock, VA 22560 US

past workshops

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Provided Materials

  • Pen or Pencil
  • Composition Book/Note Pad
  • Folder

Recommended Text

  • Expressive Writing: Foundations of Practice by Kathleen Adams
  • Expressive Writing: Words that Heal by James W. Pennebaker, PhD and John F. Evans, ED.
  • Healing Art of Poem-Making by John Fox

Community Rules

  • Come to class on time with the assumption of participation, mutual respect and confidentiality.
  • Respect the person who has the floor by not talking
  • Inquire into the assumptions and implications of your personal views. Become aware of your personal biases, fixed positions or blind spots.
  • Listen to others with a forgiving ear and give group members the benefit of the doubt. Assist them in finding the language that accurately represents them and their concerns.
  • Be open to the ways the community responds to what you have said. We are often unaware of how our words affect others. If you feel someone has misunderstood you, clarify your intent kindly, and with an awareness of others. You have the right to be understood; they also have the right to respond to what they hear you say.

Coursework and Assignments

Each session begins with a check-in to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak. The check-in may be in the form of a sentence stem or an opportunity for participants to share writings from the previous week. The check-in is followed by a reading or writing prompt. Writings can be in the form of a poem, story, journal, letter, essay, memoir, argument, dramatic monologue, rap, etc. Each individual in the group will be given an opportunity to share their writing aloud and receive feedback from other participants. After participants share their writing the group reflects on what was said and offer feedback. Participants are given homework to complete after each session. During the final session participants are required to submit a writing portfolio that includes polished versions of the works generated from the writing prompts. Community members are welcomed to (but not required to) improve their writing at this point by consulting the handout on rhetorical tropes and schemes.

Course Description

Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words (CMHTW) is a therapeutic writing program developed by Ronnie Sidney II and Cleveland Winfield III. Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words uses expressive writing,  bibliotherapy, positive psychology, dialogue and self-reflection to help participants enhance functioning. Evidence demonstrates that expressive writing interventions can decrease depression and anxiety, improve overall cognitive functioning, alleviate anger, reduce stress and improve biological health in a variety of populations. The program’s vision is to create an experience that is both transformative and redemptive for participants. It is not a traditional writers’ workshop; writers are challenged to think critically, push past complacency and make positive changes in their lives.  

Expressive Writing Benefits

Research studies indicate that expressive writing includes many emotional, social, psychological and health benefits. Here are a few:

  • Enhances immune function and reduces blood pressure and heart rate levels
  • Reduces anger, stress, depression and anxiety
  • Increases performance at school and work
  • Improves mood, affect and management of emotions
  • Promotes healthy sleep patterns
  • Enhances the quality of our social lives
  • Improves writing skills, verbal communication, confidence and listening skills.
  • Helps organize thoughts and give meaning to difficult or traumatic experiences
  • Frees working memory which allows us to deal with more complicated issues in our lives

Course Competencies

Completion of Creative Medicine: Healing Through Words will help you:

  • Understand the role and functions of expressive writing
  • Express adverse life experiences and process them through writing/dialogue 
  • Look at trauma and emotional upheavals from a variety of perspectives
  • Experience personal growth and make positive life changes
  • Develop coping skills and support networks
  • Explore and anchor strengths
  • Identify and develop poetic/writing forms and techniques
  • Revise and improve writings
  • Improve public speaking and listening skills
  • Create a portfolio of revised writings

Creative Medicine: Healing THrough words

therapeutic writing and dialogue