VAMHN'S ECR BURSARY WINNER jo higson DISCUSSES thEiR ATTENDANCE AT THE Introduction to Therapeutic Writing WORKSHOP
Have a read below to see what our ECR bursary winner Jo Higson did with their award money. To find out how you can apply to our ECR Bursary Scheme click here.
I am currently doing a self-funded, part-time PhD in Creative Writing looking at the representation of domestic abuse in contemporary narrative fiction and who speaks for survivors. As part of my research I am keen to give people the opportunity to express themselves and their experiences using creative writing. While I am a trained and experienced coach, trainer and facilitator, it is a huge responsibility when people are writing about traumatic experiences to keep it a healthy and safe experience and I was keen to gain some knowledge and experience of how to ensure I can do that.
With the VAMN Bursary I was able to attend an Introduction to Therapeutic Writing run by the well-known poetry therapist, Charmaine Pollard. The course covered the principles of poetry therapy and therapeutic writing; enabled us to experience different therapeutic writing techniques, and, most importantly for me, how to create and maintain a safe and supportive framework for therapeutic work.
I came away with a greater understanding of the difference between creative writing and therapeutic writing and realised that what I am proposing to do would be creative writing with a therapeutic intent rather than pure therapeutic writing. Creating a safe space, however, will be just as important.
Charmaine is an inspirational tutor and role model for this type of work, In the future I would be interested in doing more therapeutic writing but for now I need to focus on my PhD and use the knowledge I’ve gained here to enhance the work I do with other survivors as part of my research. I am really grateful for the opportunity the bursary provided.