Advertisement

Journal of Poetry Therapy

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 187–193 | Cite as

Letters Never Sent: Tending to Unfinished Business

  • Carole H. McAllister
  • May C. Wolff
Article

Abstract

Since the 1970's the use of writing as an informal therapy has shown significant positive results. “Letters never sent: Using freewriting to tend to unfinished business” is a “writing as therapy” workshop that offers techniques to guide individuals as they write through change cycles. This workshop has provided participants a way to untangle themselves from the past and has involved them in the path to well-being. Specifically, it employs freewriting—a writing method that harnesses the internal editor, the censor, through a series of timed writing exercises. Through this freewriting workshop, participants can make significant discoveries about themselves.

journaling letters self-discovery therapy writing 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bacigalupe, G. (1996). Writing in therapy: A participatory approach. Journal of Family Therapy, 18, 361–373.Google Scholar
  2. Bastien, S., & Jacobs, A. (1974). Dear Sheila: An experimental study of the effectiveness of written communication as a form of psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42, 151.Google Scholar
  3. Bennison, K. (1998). The use of a letter writing technique in individual psychotherapy. Dissertation Abstracts International, 59, 0410.Google Scholar
  4. France, M.H. (1995). Letter therapy: A model for enhancing counseling interventions. Journal of Counseling and Development, 73, 317–18.Google Scholar
  5. Henkin, C. S., & Walz, T. H. (1989). Writing and the elderly: Developmental perspectives and thera-peutic dimensions. Journal of Independent Social Work, 4, 61–78.Google Scholar
  6. Jordan, K.B. (1998). Programmed writing and therapy with conflictual couples. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 9, 27–39.Google Scholar
  7. Jordan, K. B., & L'Abate, L. (1995). Programmed writing and therapy with symbiotically enmeshed patients. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 49, 225–236.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Kelley, P., & Williams, B. (1988). The use of assigned writings as an adjunct to therapy with individuals, couples, and families. Journal of Independent Social Work, 3, 23–38.Google Scholar
  9. L'Abate, L., & Cox, J. (1992). Programmed writing: A self-administered approach for interventions with individuals, couples, and families. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  10. Mazzoli, J. C. (1984). Writing as a primary mode of therapy with adolescent females who are misusing drugs/alcohol: Five case studies. Dissertation Abstracts International, 44, 2095.Google Scholar
  11. McKinney, F. (1976). Free writing as therapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 13, 183–187.Google Scholar
  12. Murrant, G. M., Rykov, M., Amonite, D., & Loynd, M. (2000). Creativity and self-care for caregivers. Journal of Palliative Care, 16, 44–49.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Nelson, P. (1977). Autobiography in five short chapters. In There's a hole in my sidewalk. New York: Popular Library.Google Scholar
  14. Pennebaker, J. W., & Beall, S. K. (1986). Confronting a traumatic event: Toward an understanding of inhibition and disease. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 274–281.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Phillips, E. L., Gershenson, J. L., & Lyons, G. (1977). On time-limited writing therapy. Psychological Reports, 41, 707–712.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Stino, Z. (1995). Writing as therapy in a county jail. Journal of Poetry Therapy, 9, 13–23.Google Scholar
  17. Tromp, S. N. (1998). Use of self-guided writing therapy as an intervention for trauma: A sample of incarcerated women. Dissertation Abstracts International, 58, 3936.Google Scholar
  18. Vance, T. (1998). Letters home: How writing can change your life. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  19. vanZuuren, F. J., Schoutrop, M. J., Lange, A., Louis, C. M., & Slegers, J. E. (1999). Effective and inef-fective ways of writing about traumatic experiences: Aqualitative study. Psychotherapy Research, 9, 363–380.Google Scholar
  20. Wadeson, H. (1981). Self-exploration and integration through poetry-writing. Arts in Psychotherapy, 8, 225–236.Google Scholar
  21. Wolf, K. A. (1997). Women speak: Healing the wounds of homelessness through writing. Nursing and Health Care: Perspectives on Community, 18, 4–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carole H. McAllister
    • 1
  • May C. Wolff
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EnglishSoutheastern Louisiana UniversityHammond
  2. 2.Los Gatos

Personalised recommendations