• Quote of the Day
    "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
    Kahlil Gibran, posted by David Baxter

David Baxter

Mar 26, 2004
Feel it, write it: The art of therapy
By Phil Kloer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Angry with someone you have trouble confronting? Write a letter expressing your feelings, then tear it up. You'll feel better.

It's basic kitchen-table therapy, passed down from parents to kids, but it's the simple version of what will be the talk of the Wellness and Writing Connections Conference on Saturday at the downtown Marriott Marquis. Sponsored by American Inter-Continental University, it brings together professionals from Atlanta and the United States who use writing, frequently poetry, to help patients with a variety of problems.

And it's not just for emotional release. A 1999 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that writing about stressful situations in a guided environment caused measurable physical improvements in people with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

"There's dance therapy, art therapy and music therapy," says John Fox, one of the keynote speakers at the conference. "There's also a field called poetry therapy. Writing can really make a difference. People say, I hadn't written poetry since the fourth grade, but then in midlife I lost my wife or a child died," says Fox, author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making and a trained poetry therapist.

"My role is to allow people to hear themselves. In poetry therapy it's really about what it means to the person. Poetry can be a metaphor to distill what a person is feeling."

"Many veteran groups use writing to deal with the trauma they have experienced," says Fox.

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