Poetry therapy is the use of language, symbol, and story in therapeutic, education, growth, and community-building capacities. It relies upon the use of poems, stories, song lyrics, imagery, and metaphor to facilitate personal growth, healing, and greater self-awareness. National Association for Poetry Therapy - USA
Poems can be fantastic vehicles for change. They can offer valuable personal insights and help to increase resilience and self-confidence.
When we read a poem, something happens within us. We react using our hearts and minds – and sometimes even our bodies. We can use these same feelings, thoughts and sensations to fuel our own writing. Our writing helps us to peel back the layers and discover what lies beneath.
No writing / poetry skills or prior experience is needed to attend a poetry therapy group or workshop.
I am a short course tutor at City Lit an adult education college in Central London teaching poetry therapy and therapeutic writing courses. My hope is to introduce this self-sustaining tool to all communities, including professionals and people who love writing, and journalling. To ensure you find out about these courses, sign up to my email list below.
I work with a local authority In London and have done for over twelve years, to provide a poetry therapy service to survivors of complex trauma, domestic and sexual violence, and/ or people who misuse substances and experience mental ill-health.
My work in schools involves, working with young people. I facilitate a writing for wellbeing programme that uses creative and self-reflective writing to help students develop their self-esteem, build confidence and to support their social and emotional needs.
For further information about poetry therapy, listen to my podcast below, get a taster of Poetry Therapy in Action by watching the short video below or visit my FAQ's page. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.
When we read a poem, something happens within us. We react using our hearts and minds – and sometimes even our bodies. We can use these same feelings, thoughts and sensations to fuel our own writing.
Our writing helps us to peel back the layers and discover what lies beneath.
Listen to my podcast which is part of a series entitled Let's Make Coaching Creative and hear how poetry can open doors.
I know from experience that poetry therapy can offer many benefits when used responsibly within schools. Building on my previous work in this area, in 2022 I was invited to join a pilot project by the National Literary Trust (NLT), supported by REY. It aimed to explore how schools can use creative writing as a therapeutic, self-sustaining, and low-cost tool to promote the wellbeing of their young people. I came onboard to consult on the project, help design a 3-day Introduction to therapeutic writing in schools course for poets to become facilitators, and to deliver the course.
The facilitators went on to use their knowledge to run a selection of Writing for Wellbeing Clubs within schools around the country.
I have now trained a second cohort of poets.
‘Charmaine is fantastic and so knowledgeable; it was a real pleasure working with her!’
‘A thank you to Charmaine, REY, and to National Literacy Trust for this incredible training, I am so grateful for it.’
One of the aims was to tell the long story of the black community in Britain from the end of the First World War though to the early 1970s.
As part of the project, I delivered a series of carefully crafted exercises designed to inspire reflection and conversation. We used material from the archives as our springboards, including quotes and photographs, to help us uncover stories from the past and bring them into the present.
This project and the positive relationship between creativity, heritage and wellbeing has been celebrated in a report by The Baring Foundation titled ‘Creatively Minded and Heritage’.
Here I am facilitating a poetry therapy session at the Poetry for Healing Conference 2022. In this video, you will discover how I use the poem ‘A Portable Paradise’, by British Caribbean poet Roger Robinson, as inspiration for writing, reflection and discussion.
Listen to my interview with Maxine Bell from the Association for Coaching and hear how poetry can open doors and allow you to be the best version of yourself.
Thank you so much for your steady hand upon our shoulders throughout the year. I appreciate all your careful preparation and steering us through each session.
It has supported me and helped to stem the panic from disconnection from time to time. I can't believe I've written so much.
Everyone is so present and attentive and it's a privilege being with so many likeminded people.