Healing Through Therapeutic Writing and Literature

Merle Bombardieri has a wealth of readings and writing exercises which she matches to your needs, interests and literary tastes.

Literature - Reading beautiful, heartfelt writing of great writers, contemporary and classic, puts your pain in a larger, human perspective. Many great works depict physical and emotional suffering and efforts of healers and patients to grapple with them. You may feel less alone when you read works that describe experiences that you thought were yours alone.

The field of Narrative Medicine (medical humanities) is sensitizing doctors-in-training to the needs of their patients and their own effects on patients. During this training, they read and discuss literary works and write their own essays on their experience. By sharing selected readings with family and friends, this writing can educate and sensitize families, colleagues, and medical teams to your psychological and medical issues.

therapeutic writing

Writing - Merle teaches in the field of Narrative Medicine where medical practice is structured around the narrative. Narratives take the form of personal essays and memoirs by people with medical problems, by medical professionals and by medical professionals who have their own medical problems. She can direct you to essays that might be good models for your own writing, and help you to write your own. Some clients report that conversations about this work are as healing as the writing itself.

Writing your own poems, essays, stories can impose order on emotional chaos through the structure of a literary form. For instance, some writers find the villanelle and pantoum especially comforting. Merle offer examples of these forms, such as Elizabeth Bishopís "One Art" and help you craft them for your own benefit.

Some writers say they feel as if they are
"transcending hurt through beauty."
They may find satisfaction in the crafting or
the beauty of the finished creation.

Writing also brings catharsis — relief through emotional expression - by getting thoughts and feelings onto the page. Getting the words on paper (or screen) also gets them out of your head, making it possible to concentrate on other things.

Some people who write for the purpose of healing make unexpected discoveries. As they read their work, they discover insights they didnít know they had.

Some of her clients use writing in a different way. They write spontaneously and bring in selected creative writing or journal entries that they think will be good springboards for therapeutic discussion.

Merle teaches "Narrative Medicine: Stories that Healing and Healers" and "Opened by a Poem: Therapeutic Uses of Poetry," both at Cambridge Center for Adult Education. She shares her bibliographies and course materials from these classes with her counseling and coaching clients.