Creative Writing for Pleasure and Wellbeing for those receiving Healthcare and Social care.
There is growing evidence that the Arts can be beneficial to recovery from illness, as well as to our sense of wellbeing.
As a former NHS Rehabiltiation Medicine Consultant specialising in the care of working -age adults with complex neurological disability, I fully welcomed and encouraged the Participatory Arts, for those under my care. This included dedicated volunteers, as well as trained arts therapists such as music therapists.
Activities such as art, crafts, writing, music making, dance and movement,can be a simple cost-effective means of recreation and exercise too, that can be done in groups as well as alone. At the initial level, they can provide distraction from boredom and times in between therapy sessions, investigations and treatments, but also, importantly a means of self -expression and discovering or rediscovering, one's innate creativity (which is a real joy to witness!)
In some people, engaging in these activities can not only enhance an a sense of wellbeing and achievement, but also improve aspects of physical and cognitive function,that may have been affected by their health condition.
My long experience of being professional and personal caregiver, benefits my practice as a Writing for Wellbeing Facilitator greatly, in that, not only am I very familiar and comfortable in clinical settings , but I am also sensitive and adaptable to the needs of those who are vulnerable,and to the staff who care for them. This includes planning sessions that allow more time to acclimatise and engage in an activity, rest breaks, maybe stretches to prevent pain and discomfort, adapting activities and being reflexive to the group. I am also highly aware of the importance of offering the option for family members to join groups, and the need for respectful, confidential communication with staff, to ensure and maintain the wellbeing and safety of patients/service users/residents, at all times.
As part of my training and final year dissertation the MA in Creative Writing & Personal Development, Sussex University (2003-2005), where I trained to facilitate writing groups in healthcare, social care and education settings, I designed and ran a weekly Creative Writing group for three inpatients on the Inpatient Management Programme, at Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, London, at the time (2005) one of only two London based hospitals offering such specialist inpatient rehabilitation for those with Chronic Pain. I found that writing could be an adjunct to conventional therapeutic interventions, such as medications and physical and psychological therapies and facilitated self- expression and sharing of commonality of experiences about fears, being separated from family, coping with chronic pain , disability and a range of other experiences.
I would love to create and facilitate Writing for Wellbeing sessions for your those under your care, be it in hospital, community or care home settings.
I am a member of Lapidus International, the national (non-accrediting) body for practitioners and facilitators in Writing for Wellbeing, and I am professional indemnified member of the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE).
Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss, if this would be something of interest to your organisation/ward/unit/service.
If you are a Social Prescribing Link Worker looking for community resource for those you work with, please also have a look at my Writing for Wellbeing Workshops for the Community page, and do not hesitate to contact me for further information.