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Expressive Writing Can Help Patients Understand and Process Their Cancer Diagnosis 

How journaling can help patients understand the circumstances they are facing.

Writing images from one’s memory and imagination can be a healing act. According to a recent study on expressive writing and patients with cancer, some individuals may benefit from participating in expressive writing as part of their supportive cancer treatment. The writing act can be a form of healing for patients struggling with their cancer diagnoses.

Writing as an Act of Healing is a group workshop that brings together patients from all walks of life with a facilitator who runs the group. Writers in my program find a sense of community and are able to look to the group for positive, nonjudgmental feedback. Their writing allows them to process problems that they are experiencing and witness others’ issues in turn.

My writing groups have diverged from the Amherst Writers and Authors method Pat Schneider outlined in her book Writing Alone and With Others. Schneider said, “Everyone is a writer. You are a writer. All over the world, in every culture, human beings have carved into stone, written on parchment, birch bark, or scraps of papers, and sealed into letters—their words.” My program follows Schneider’s five affirmations:

  • Everyone has a strong, unique voice.
  • Everyone is born with creative genius.
  • Writing as an art form belongs to all people, regardless of economic class or educational level.
  • The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.
  • A writer is someone.

I begin with a prompt to stimulate the group members’ imagination. These prompts do not define what is to be written, but they help the writer get started. They can suggest health, healing, or cancer, but that’s not usually necessary because the group has gathered to write what needs to be said. The prompts are only a catalyst that helps patients explore their feelings and diagnoses. It’s amazing how often a nondirective topic will generate writing that addresses issues that need to be aired.

Source: Expressive Writing Can Help Patients Understand and Process Their Cancer Diagnosis | ONS Voice

The health and medical information on our website is not intended to take the place of advice or treatment from health care professionals. It is also not intended to substitute for the users’ relationships with their own health care/pharmaceutical providers.

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