In any writing workshops, healing can happen. Writing images from your memory and imagination is a healing act. That which was broken or only dimly understood comes clear as you write. Many famous writers have said that they discover what they mean as they form it into words. The essential act of making art recreates the artist as it reforms the world.
Nevertheless, the writing workshop is not group therapy. In a good writing workshop, this healing occurs individually, often secretly, and in utmost privacy. There is no pressure on the participant to read what has been written. The leader of the workshop may never know the effects of the writing workshop on the lives of its members.
In traditional group therapy, a person shares by telling his or her story to others who sit facing the speaker in a circle. The speaker watches everyone’s facial expressions and body language. In the shop we write our thoughts before sharing, our faces turned down to our pages, having no input whatever from anyone else’s facial or body expression. As a result, the words that we share are pure self-revelation. Reading aloud is an intensely inner and personal sharing. It is far more vulnerable than storytelling, where the speaker watches the listeners as he or she creates a story.
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