Expressive Writing Course

For adolescents and adults

What to expect:

Participating in “Write On for Better Health” may increase sadness, anxiety, depression or physical pain. In most cases, this is temporary and a positive indication. Ask your doctor or a trusted friend if s/he will offer support if negative feelings become too intense to manage alone. Using Zoom webinar technology, Barbara Burrows will offer a way to examine your thoughts and feelings by guiding your writing with prompts. (Participants’ identity and writing remains private.) Barbara Burrows starts the seminar by welcoming writers and talking briefly about some aspect of emotional well-being …. and then the writing begins. This is a D.I.Y. approach to emotional and physical health that everyone can practice, and many already do! You will need a notebook and pen; a private space to write; and an electronic device to access the internet.** You will be encouraged to put your pen to paper and write – without checking spelling or punctuation. There will be several exercises of 10 minutes duration and one exercise that is longer. For full privacy from other family members, consider storing writing in a document lock box. Writing is done on 4 consecutive days. ** It is recommended to write by hand but also possible to write on a device.

Writing may help with:

physical health*** (somatization)
  • high blood pressure
  • fibromyalgia, headache, backache, neck and shoulder pain, chest pain and abdominal wall pain
  • tingling in the hands and feet and shortness of breath, (as in panic), nausea, skin rash, itching
  • chronic pain, intermittent pain
psychological health***
  • stress, anxiety, excessive worry and depression
  • addiction issues – alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, sex, TV, internet games
  • hoarding issues
  • anger issues
difficulties in life*** 
  • concentration or learning troubles at school/university
  • work or relationship difficulties
  • loss (infertility, miscarriage, loss of relationship, marriage, family,  job, home, loved one through death, etc)
  • working through stages of mourning
  *** Evidence Based Studies Why write? Unexpressed feelings about important, disturbing or even traumatic emotional experiences cause an impact. When misery is carried within, stress increases and with it the chance of serious illness. Physical pain may be an expression of unexpressed emotional pain.  Writing seems to be able to reduce this inner stress, much like the cathartic experience of “having a good cry.”

How does writing help?

Research has not yet answered this question, but it is believed that the process of writing develops analytical thinking, which in turn, allows new problem solving skills. Writing “sorts out” the “mumble jumble” in the  mind (to quote one “Write On” participant) and with clearer thinking, new solutions to problems may emerge.