Image and text by Rick McVicar
This past week, I have been focused on adding some of my own creative writings and artwork to my website, including poetry as well as a couple of fictional short stories.
Previously, blog postings had been mostly informative pieces about how the arts can be beneficial for brain health recovery. I thought maybe some creative pieces of my own might be useful for encouraging readers to practice the arts themselves.
The creative pieces have allowed me to add a touch of humor to my recovery process, writing poems about a dog and a bear. I am fascinated by animals and sometimes view them as being cute or funny.
I hope that perhaps some of my readers might like to write humorous pieces for publication on this website. Serious pieces can be submitted as well. Please feel free to send an email to email@example.com.
While I have taken a creative turn, I wish to return to some evidence-based information.
For instance, an evaluation of research studies on creative writing and mental health recovery was published April 5, 2022 in the Nordic Journal of Arts, Culture and Health. More than 500 studies were analyzed by Sara Skriver Mundy in “Mental Health Recovery and Creative Writing Groups.”
Research analysts found that creative-writing therapy groups “promote connectedness, empowerment and identity,” Mundy writes.
Creative writing had greater impact when practiced in peer group settings rather than by individuals. Researchers also found that having professional writers leading group sessions brought even greater impact. The greatest impact came from giving attention to writing techniques.
At the same time, Mundy notes that even more research is needed. After all, using creative writing for therapy is a fairly new phenomenon, being put into practice in just the last 10 to 15 years.
“Globally, there is an increased interest in arts-based interventions which have been explicitly linked to health and well-being,” Mundy states.
A manual for developing peer-support writing groups for mental health recovery was published in 2019 by the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, Ohio. In “Writing for Recovery – Writing Ideas and Exercises,” Diane Spore writes about lessons learned from a writing initiative for mental health peer-support groups.
The writing initiative began in 2014 with eight creative writing clinics offered in 2016. Catholic Social Services and Pathways Peer Support began sponsoring the groups in late 2016.
An anthology, Tapestry of Life, was published and articles on senior living were produced for a local newspaper.
The manual begins with suggestions for journal writing along with writing prompts, such as, “I am grateful for…” and “My greatest challenge is…” (p. 9). The writing prompts are lengthy and include images that can spark ideas for writings. Poetry is given lengthy discussion.
“Blending art, lyric and words can be enjoyable and result in a permanent ‘momento’ revealing your creativity, insights, hopes and dreams,” Spore writes (p. 8).
Please feel free to comment or share. If you would like to submit material for publication, then write Rick McVicar at firstname.lastname@example.org.