Understanding Poetry and Writing

Poetry gives us ways to talk about things. Poetry can help people get access to the wisdom they already have but cannot experience because they cannot find the words in ordinary language.

We have all experienced the comfort of soothing words. Finding the words to articulate a traumatic experience can bring relief. A letter between friends who are fighting can heal a relational wound. People are frequently moved to write a poem in times of extremity.

Poetry therapy is the intentional use of the written and spoken word for healing and personal growth.  Poetry, literature, journals and song lyrics help individuals see themselves fully, and in time they come to experience the hidden facets of themselves.

The term “poetry therapy” is used inclusively to refer not only to the use of published and original poems but also to the interactive use of literature (bibliotherapy) and therapeutic writing (journal therapy).

When poetry therapy participants tell their own stories through poems, songs and journals, it provides vital material for the healing process.  Finding their own voices is a self-affirming step that is often followed by cleansing release, greater self-awareness, new insights and fresh hope.

Writing also creates a mind-body-spirit connection, she said. “When you use your hands to pen or type something directly from your brain, you are creating a powerful connection between your inner experience and your body’s movement out in the world.”


Source: lifespeakspoetrytherapy.com


The goals of poetry therapy are:


  • To develop accuracy and understanding in perceiving self and others;
  • To develop creativity, self-expression, and greater self-esteem;
  • To strengthen interpersonal skills and communication skills;
  • To ventilate overpowering emotions and release tension;
  • To find new meaning through new ideas, insights, and information; and
  • To promote change and increase coping skills and adaptive functions.