Read an Interview with Chantal about Writing Therapy
featured in the newsletter of the Santa Barbara chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
About Therapeutic Writing Groups: The Writing Cure
The aim of the therapeutic writing group is to help memebrs foster insight and self-awareness as well as to generate support from others through the process of writing. The writing process allows unknown or repressed material to emerge into the conscious mind. That is why we begin the writing periods with journaling prompts, which serve as a tool to prod the unconscious. This process is further supported by the technique of stream-of-consciousness writing, which serves to circumvent our natural tendency to censor our thoughts and feelings. Enaging with oneself on the page in this way can help bring about new insights and meaning–old stories are often told in new ways.
About the Group Environment
The therapeutic writing group environment, protected by principles of confidentiality and non-judgement, creates a uniquely safe space for vulnerable, hidden/edited material to find expression. Paying attention to what the writing reveals and then further validating and processing it within the group has a powerfully beneficial therapeutic effect.
An added benefit of group therapy is that people can discover that there is a universal quality to our most vulnerable and private perceptions and impulses. This insight can reduce a sense of isolation, shame, anxiety, and depression; it fosters a deeper sense of connection with others as well as, ultimately, with oneself.
Do I Need Experience as a Writer?
No experience needed. The idea is to use writing as a tool to facilitate self-awareness, it’s not inteded to be performative. The group avoids critique and pays no attention to grammar, spelling or structure. In fact, the intention is to leave all that behind.
How Do I Know that the Group is Right for Me?
The group is suitable for individuals who wish to know themselves more deeply through the process of writing therapeutically. In order to determine whether the group is an appropriate fit and to learn more about individual needs and expectations, I meet with each potential participant before admitting them to the group.