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Writing to Heal Trauma workshops and coaching

 

 

Writing to Heal Trauma

Workshops, Presentations, and more

While all of my writing classes and workshops are trauma-informed,in these sessions, we look directly at the ways in which writing can be one of the most powerful ways to heal from traumatic experiences.

We explore the ways in which traumatic experiences often elude verbal language; we discuss the power of tuning into the languages of the body and intuition; and I provide examples and exercises to walk participants through using writing to understand, integrate, and ultimately heal from trauma.

My workshops and presentations are always interactive, and I create a safe, supportive environment for participants to practice their own writing and to share their writing and be heard.

Researchers like James Pennebaker have shown through repeatable social science research that writing about traumatic effects reduces illness, inflamation, pain, and visits to the doctor and supports general health indices.

Participants will be given practical tools to take home with them.

I design workshops and presentations for groups of any size, with any level of writing experience, about the power of working with one’s trauma story on a path to healing.

These sessions can be either one hour or one day courses or multi-week courses. I also can train providers and teachers how to teach similar courses themselves.

I have taught and designed workshops at and for groups such as The Cory Johnson Program for Post-Traumatic Healing, The Cambridge Women’s Center, Still Harbor and other places.

See a sample workshop overview below and contact me to discuss ways we can work together. I am committed to bringing this work to under-served populations and, if there is sufficient interest, can bring these workshops to communities with limited funding.

 

A skilled facilitator, Nadia is gifted in bringing a sense of the sacred into the act of writing. Her calm and intentional presence allowed students in our workshop for trauma survivors to go deeper in their stories, and offered participants concrete tools for using writing as a tool for healing. Nadia knows how to create a space where participants feel safe and present, and connected — and where creativity can thrive.

– Casey Fox http://cwctraumagroup.org/

 

Writing as a Transformative Tool for Survivors of Trauma: Workshop

Purpose and Process:

A bridge between an inner and an outer world, writing is a powerful tool of self discovery, expression, and ultimately integration and transformation.

In her book classic book Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman outlines three stages of recovery: establishing safety, reconstructing the trauma story, and restoring the connection between survivors and their community. Writing is a powerful tool to work through these stages, and I build upon these three stages in the design of the workshop.

Making Meaning

All people need to make meaning of their lives and have agency in their lives, and for trauma survivors, whose experiences usually have broken meaning in radical ways, this quest is often both more difficult and more urgent.

Writing allows us to explore meaning-making. Writing is also a safe way to begin to witness oneself. It helps survivors begin to piece together narrative—which so often gets fragmented for trauma survivors—and integrate different parts of the brain through creative expression, which often has access to deeper, older knowledge than the logical left brain.

Mind and Body

Because traumatic experiences are often trapped in the body, outside of verbal language, I give participants concrete tools, including gentle yoga and meditation, to work with the body and begin to make connections between verbal and non-verbal experiences and to create new pathways between mind and body and in the brain itself.

Writing Process

As participants begin to write, they can experience the safety of the page. The page is one of the few places that people can explore language without worrying about being heard or judged. Through writing, participants can begin to re-integrate those non verbal memories through creative expression. Often trauma survivors can access memories and story on the page before they can in verbal conversation.

Working with creative writing, such a poems and more imaginative pieces can also help access different aspects and deeper truths for trauma survivors.

Through the writing process, survivors begin to claim their own story and have agency over that story, instead of living in a state in which their story has agency over them.

Being Heard

Eventually, participants can share their writing aloud and be heard by a supportive, attentive audience of listeners. Being heard is a deeply healing and empowering part of the healing process.

Revision and Mastery

Finally, the revision process helps survivors not only name, but also actively shape and re-form traumatic experiences and stories so that they come to have creative agency over the experience instead of feeling that the experience has agency over them.

They get to exhibit control and even mastery of a traumatic situation in which by definition, they experienced lack of control and powerlessness.

Continuity:

The workshop will also give participants writing practices and prompts to take home with them so that they can continue to write after the workshop.

Outcomes:

Understanding and writing one’s own story can be deeply healing and empowering.

This workshop will guide participants to use writing as a means to come to greater inner peace, and to come to terms with their own stories, so that they feel that they have agency over their story, instead of having their story have agency over them, and so that they can experience what it is like to be heard in a supportive community.

The workshop is designed to help trauma survivors reclaim the power of their voice, which is often lost in trauma, and come to more self expression, self determination and authority.

The workshop is also designed to encourage those who are ready to think of the positive power of their stories and to become voices of change and use their stories as forms of activism.

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