WRITING FOR BETTER PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH
A Research-Based Approach
Wellness & Writing Connections is a resource for professionals and lay persons alike. It demonstrates that wellness and writing are connected in ways yet to be fully researched and exploited, but the literature of several disciplines declares that for many people wellness and writing are connected in ways useful for obtaining and sustaining emotional, physical, and spiritual health. A growing body of research shows that the heart rate lowers and people are more equipped to fight off infections when they release their worries in writing. In addition to coping better with stressful situations, writing can have a positive impact on self-esteem and result in works that can help others overcome their own obstacles. Much of the research about writing and healing was pioneered and sustained by James Pennebaker, PhD, Chair of Psychology at the University of Texas - Austin, and others who work in the disciplines of writing, psychology, medicine, counseling, and education.
For Professionals and Lay Persons
To reach professionals in these disciplines and to serve lay persons seeking alternative approaches to good health, my passion for and my personal experience with writing and healing convinced me to establish a place that would attract people who see therapeutic value in writing memoirs, essays, fiction, poetry and drama. In this way I wish to provide a lively resource for these like-minded people who write and for those working in the healthcare and counseling professions who wish to include writing as part of their practice.
Engaging in Reflective Practices
Whatever your current wellness and writing practice, the resources we offer strive to illustrate the current state of research, theory, and practice. Much remains to do. I agree with James Pennebaker and Luciano L’Abate that writing-to-heal research needs more rigorous science, what Pennebaker calls the “big science, big medicine” approach applied to large samples of people with differing diagnoses. But I would like to emphasize that a significant contribution to the science of writing-to-heal can come from individuals and professionals in settings large and small if they engage in reflective practices, carefully documenting their processes and results. From these reflective practitioners, a richer description and deeper understanding of writing-to-heal theory will emerge providing models of practice.
Providing a Unique Vision
My vision for future practice in wellness and writing connections is a braided column. One braid suggests that writing is one of the most effective self-help methods for individuals. Another braid suggests a curriculum for training professionals who will include writing as a significant treatment modality. Joining the first two braids is one that suggests program guidelines for individuals who work in institutional settings like hospital wellness programs, cancer treatment clinics, trauma centers, prisons, counseling offices, schools, and universities.