Creative Writing in the Therapeutic Encounter

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Dates: Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th July 2022

Times: Tuesday 5th 9.30am – 4.00pm and Wednesday 6th 9.30am – 4.00pm

Location: Online

Tutor:   Claire Williamson (MA, SFHEA)

Cost: £135 if booked by 6 May
£155 if booked by 6th June
£175 full price

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This experiential 2-day course focuses on creative writing and its use within therapy, therapeutic settings and self-supervision. 

Therapists often work with client’s writing, or encourage clients to create within, or between, sessions. Some therapists have trained to be ‘poetry therapists’ and divide sessions between writing and discussion of the text, accelerating the process, or evincing new strands to the therapeutic work. 

There is a risk to introducing writing, as it is revealing and sometimes walks the line between vulnerability and healing; there can be concerns about ‘quality’, which therapists can allay with a good understanding of creative writing as both a magnifying and softening tool, to say the ‘unsayable’, or to understand experience in a more tangible form. 

Some counsellors and psychotherapists use creative writing as part of their own reflective practice to understand transferential relationships, create boundaries between sessions, and for personal and professional development.

Through experiential practice, this workshop will explore some helpful techniques and raise confidence in using the written (and spoken) word.

The workshop will focus on a range of applications, including:

  • Supporting client metaphors
  • Concrete and abstract images into words – poetry as resource
  • Narratives and counter-narratives
  • Reflective practice – employing form for clients and self-supervision
  • Autobiographical fiction
  • Applications and limitations

An empathic, relational approach will be experienced firsthand as the process of the training is trauma-informed.

There is preparatory work to be completed before the course begins.   

Before DAY ONE:  40 minutes of video to watch & approx. 45 minutes of reading

Before DAY TWO: 30 minutes of video to watch & approx. 30 minutes of reading

NB If you prefer, you can watch both the videos and complete the reading before the workshop starts.    

SLIDES AND EXERCISES:  The handouts and exercises will be sent to you by email, one week before the workshop. We will ask you to either print these out, or have a way of reading them during the workshop. 


Claire brings an integrative approach to using creative writing in the therapeutic encounter. She’s the former Director of Studies for Metanoia Institute’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP), with over 20 years experience in the field of CWTP, including work in bereavement, mental health, addiction recovery, self-injury, cancer care, plus many educational and artistic settings.

Claire has facilitated training for counsellors at City of Bristol College’s FD in Counselling and UWE’s Diploma in Counselling. She also works with medical students at University of Bristol and Queen Mary University in London, exploring how creativity can support people within healthcare settings.

She’s a Senior Fellow of the higher education academy, with a Masters degree in Literary Studies (exploring the life sustaining effects of writing) and studying at Cardiff University for a PhD in Creative Writing (Writing the 21st century grief novel), with a Counselling Skills qualification (UWE).

Claire is the author of four poetry/narrative books, Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018) Split Ends (Eyewear, 2016), The Soulwater Pool (2008) and Ride On (PoTA, 2005).

WHO THIS WORKSHOP IS DESIGNED FOR:  Counsellors, psychotherapists, coaches and health workers are welcome to attend this workshop. 

EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:  We will use Zoom, so you would need a computer that has good enough internet access to be able to be online, and in a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed.  It would be preferable if there are no people walking around in the background. An Iphone/Android phone can be used in an emergency, but we recommend planning on using a laptop or computer.  Tablets also work, though please be aware that they have less functionality in Zoom.  

IF THE COURSE IS FULL:  If your booking is accepted that means there was space for you.  If it is full, email to join the ‘reserve list’.  Then, if anyone drops out we will notify you, if there is a ‘last minute’ place for you.  We will also let you know when we plan a new date.

CPD:  This course will give you 15 hours of CPD

MAXIMUM NUMBERS: This workshop will have a maximum of 30 participants

HANDOUTS: After the workshop you will be asked to fill in a feedback form.  Completing this feedback form will give you a link to further handouts. Please write this link and password down, as you will need these to access the webpage where this comprehensive set of handouts are stored.  These handouts are available for you to download a copy onto your own desktop. You must complete the download within two weeks of the end of the workshop.  We ask you not to share any of the slides, exercises or handouts with other professionals who have not attended the workshop.  But you are welcome to share the occasional handout or page with clients.

CPD FORM: A Certificate of Attendance form for Continuous Professional Development for 15 hours will be sent by email once you have filled in the feedback form (NB the only obligatory fields are your name and email address. However, we love you to give us feedback, so please fill in the whole form).

CANCELLATIONS: Any request to change (eg defer to alternative dates) or cancel your place at a workshop, that is made at less than 21 days before the course start date will be charged in full.  Any cancellation / amendments / requests to defer before 21 days, will be subject to a 12.5% handling charge.

 FOR MORE INFO:  If you have further questions please email: or call Juliet Grayson on 01291 638805