Creative writing and shared reading can help create a language and a free space for people living with chronic alcohol abuse, life-threatening cancers, and other serious chronic illnesses. Many chronically and seriously ill people often have a special need to express themselves and thereby understand their situation. They may also have difficulty expressing themselves to and being understood by the world around them. Some say that it feels as if there is an inner voice that wants to be heard. Others experience that workshop in creative writing help to gain other and new perspectives on life than the one-sided focus on the disease.
A writing workshop course is not a therapy course. It is rather a neutral "space" in relation to treatment, where the individual participant together with like-minded people is given new tools to explore the world of words and ideas. It is a kind of rehabilitation of the imagination, which may be able to activate a reservoir of healing powers.
The content on this page is based on an innovative research collaboration between the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southern Denmark to develop the area within ‘narrative medicine’. The purpose of the research project is to describe, develop and test a model for how writing exercises can support the rehabilitation of people with chronic alcohol abuse, life-threatening cancers and other serious chronic diseases and lead to a maintenance or increase in quality of life and meaning for the benefit of the individual and health system overall.
The basic principle of the model for workshops in creative writing is that it must be evidence-based. The activity must be seen as a possible way to understand and take better care of oneself as well as to be better understood by others, including health professionals.