Expressive writing is a supportive narrative therapeutic methodology which serves as a type of coping strategy often used for survivors of trauma. In Expressive Writing workshops, participants write out their thoughts and feelings about many of their past experiences, from the quotidian to the joyous to the stressful or traumatic experience in various, imaginative ways. Research with victims of traumatic experience in non-conflict settings and with combat veterans has demonstrated that the process of writing down these reflections helps survivors ‘detach’ from negative experiences by turning them into tangible, shareable stories, thus increasing their sense of well-being.
Since 2015, Dr Siobhan Campbell of the Open University and I have been working with NGOs and other charitable organisations to develop and deploy expressive writing and telling workshops with UK combat veterans, hospice patients, carers and their families, and with international partners across Iraq and Lebanon. We have been supported in the work by funding from the UNDP Siri Project in Baghdad, the AHRC Global Challenge Research Fund, and the UK and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Fund. For further information on some of these projects look here: https://www.kingston.ac.uk/research/research-showcase/research-case-studies/expressive-writing-workshops-in-iraq/
This month, in another GCRF funded project, Dr Campbell and I are working once again with the Akkar Network for Development, Lebanon, https://arab.org/directory/akkar-network-for-development/ looking at ways to digitise and expand the reach of the Expressive Writing and Telling Methodology, making it at the same time suitable for younger children and families. I will keep you updated on how that work all proceeds!