Poetry therapy is using poems to heal your mental health and overall well-being. You can either use existing literature given to you by your therapist or creating their own poems that better express their emotions. Poetry therapy can help patients a creative outlook in expressing their emotions and helping therapists discover what their patient is going through.
Poetry therapy is used to explore the feelings and memories that are buried deep inside them and to see how that poem relates to their life. It will help increase your self-awareness and will help you make sense of the world. You will look at your situation in a different way and see reality differently. When people collaborate with each other in group and couples therapy, they can collaborate with each other in writing poems and listening to each other’s poems and realize that they are not alone. All poems that are introduced to patients are to be short, address emotions, give hope, and are written in a plain language. Poems such as “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, “The Journey” by Mary Oliver, and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth are common among therapy.
Poetry therapy is good for those with borderline personality disorder, identity issues, grief, and perfectionism as well as those who are suicidal. It can help improve self-esteem, relieve depressive symptoms, and encourage self-expression and feelings. Those with a terminal illness can feel their anxiety and distress is reduced. Patients with posttraumatic stress disorder can have an improved mental and emotional well-being. Trauma or abuse patients would be able to reframe their traumatic experiences and develop a positive outlook on their future. This can even help for those with substance abuse issues as they will be able to see their drug use in a new light and develop or strengthen their coping skills as well as express their thoughts on treatment and behavioral changes.
Receptive/prescriptive component is when a therapist introduces the poem and encourages the patient to talk about their reactions, a particular line that moved them, and how they felt after. Expressive/creative component is using their creative writing for assessment and treatment. Symbolic/ceremonial component is using metaphors, storytelling, and rituals to explain their complex emotions. The main goal of poetry is not about rhyming or a particular format but to discover something about yourself that you were not aware of and to help you move forward.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig provides consulting psychiatrists who diagnose associated mental illnesses like anxiety states, depression, ADD, PTSD, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and compulsive relationships. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020