Writing and Writing for Wellbeing Practice
As well as being a highly experienced doctor,medical educator and active advocate of the Medical & Health Humanities in healthcare education,I am trained to facilitate Writing for Wellbeing groups in the community,education, healthcare and social care settings,and I am an active proponent of the Arts in Health.
Member of the Association of Medical Humanities (AMH), UK
National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), Professional Member (Professional Indemnity)
London Arts in Health Forum
Arts & Health Hub
International (Literary Arts in Personal Development),U.K.
NHS Networks Arts in Health
'Isolation, Connection and Community' Writing for Wellbeing workshop, East Sussex General Practitioner VTS training day (attended by 45 GP trainees and their five GP Programme Leads)
19th November 2020
This workshop was part of GP Training educational afternoon based on reflective practice. It was delivered on the Zoom meetings platform permitting essential interaction with, and between, the trainees and Programme Leads.The theme of professional isolation as GP trainees, often the sole trainee in the specialty in Practices, was cited as important by the Programme Lead, and hence I designed the 90 minute session based around this theme. Using images,extracts of poems,quotes and song lyrics,this workshop aimed to give GP trainees much needed time and space to reflect and write,then to meet in their usual tutorial groups,to explore and shed insight to their experiences of professional and/or personal isolation during training and particularly, the COVID-19 pandemic,but also to recognise examples of connection and community.'Break out' tutorial groups were facilitated by GP Programme leads,due to the large size of the group (45 trainees),using specifc written guidelines provided by me, before the session.(Testimonials)
Guest Poet-Tutor:'The Poetics of Pain' Writing Workshop, as part of the Poetry Special Study Component (Convenor Dr Neil Singh),Brighton & Sussex Medical School
One hour workshop specially designed for Year 2 Medical Students on the Special Study Component (SSC) convened by Dr Neil Singh, convenor of SSC and Senior Lecturer at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, UK.(Testimonials)
Writing workshop facilitator 'Nature as a stimulus for wellbeing', Keats' House museum and Garden, Bluestocking Society poetry event series
5th July 2019
This was a free heritage event to encourage visitors to the Keats' Museum and Gardens.Keats' House has Poets in Residence and is well-known for its literary events, this was the first time poetry and a writing Workshop for Wellbeing approach was being combined.The event was held in the gardens.My broad aim for the participants in this joint poetry reading and discussion (30 minutes, led by Georgie Cowan-Turner) and writing workshop (45 minutes, led by me) was: "to enjoy nature on a summer’s day,with like-minded people,in a supportive environment;give yourself a chance to relax,get away from the hubbub of busy life,work and anything else that is preoccupying you".
16 participants attended (places were capped to 25),a mix of local regular visitors to the House,off duty staff from the nearby Royal Free Hospital and overseas visitors to Hampstead,London.Nature poems including that of John Keats, selected by myself and Georgie Cowan-Turner, were circulated,read aloud and discussed by all (30 minutes).I then led the 45 minute writing workshop, firstly giving a short overview of the Writing for Wellbeing field, then guided writing 'prompts' using all senses to explore first our individual,inner landscape (emotions/bodily sensations),followed by the communal, outer landscape of the gardens.Participants were encouraged to freely explore the gardens,and to respond in any form of writing they chose,to combine their inner and outer landscape represented in a journey around the garden.The group were then invited to share their pieces with the whole group if they wished. (Testimonials)
Creative Writing for Wellbeing workshop for healthcare educators, Academy of Medical Educators (AoME) conference,Cardiff
4th April 2019
Abstract: Reflective writing in the form of essays and portfolio entries, is now mandatory in UK undergraduate and postgraduate curricula. However, although this type of writing encourages learners to examine the impact of key experiences in their training, it may not traditionally allow learners the freedom to explore the reciprocal impact of these experiences on their changing sense of self, as they cross the ‘threshold’ from a relatively familiar life, to the sometimes unpredictable path of a medical career.Creative writing activities in healthcare professionals at all stages of training, have been shown to contribute to reflection and identity formation, but also crucially, practitioner wellbeing,maintaining empathy in patient care and communication skills. After a short overview of how creative writing can be used as a means of reflective practice by health care providers and academics and students,I will use carefully designed and selected creative writing tasks,this workshop will use a well-established writing workshop format as a small group learning environment,to facilitate delegates exploration of their sense of self and sense of wellbeing related to work and/or studies in healthcare .Ground rules will be generated as a group and timed writing exercises and opportunity to share writing for those who feel comfortable to share.
Volunteer writing workshop facilitator, Enfield Women's Drop -In centre, London
April 2017-2019 currently on hold due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
I have facilitated themed creative writing workshops as a volunteer,as part of the programme of activities morning at my local Women's Mental Health drop-in centre, since 2017 on an invited basis .(Testimonials)
MA in Creative Writing & Personal Development, Sussex University
September 2003- July 2005
My dissertation was an action research project, running writing group with three chronic pain inpatients on the INpatient Pain Management Programme,the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital,Stanmore, London. This examined the potential roles of creative writing as a self-management technique and adjunct to the Inpatient Chronic Pain Management Programme.