Writing therapy: Paradox, peril and promise
School of Arts and Humanities
Belief in the remedial potential of the writing process has intensified in the past three decades, with scientific studies indicating health and wellbeing benefits; poets, novelists and memoirists proclaiming therapeutic effects; and, innovative and broad-ranging use of creative writing in counselling and health care. This paper proposes that tertiary writing education can benefit from the explicit study of writing therapy as a complex, evolving and contested set of theories and practices. It outlines and contextualises my own approach, discusses some relevant literature, and proposes future interdisciplinary mixed-methods research, for the time is ripe in Australia for writing and health teachers and researchers to work together to investigate writing’s risks, paradoxes and recuperative possibilities.