Wellness and Writing Connections Conference:
The annual Wellness and Writing Connections Conference will be held October 22-23, 2010 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Atlanta, GA.
This two-day conference brings together a number of powerhouse leaders in the field of writing for health and healing. Breakout sessions include writing and healing in wartime, writing and compassion fatigue, and writing in integrative medicine, in addition to topics in journaling, memoir, psychological journaling, student writings, and more.
Now, more than ever, creative expression, writing, and the arts are being used in medical settings to process experiences of illness and trauma. Research led by Dr. James Pennebaker has shown that the use of writing has physiological benefits to health and can aid in healing from both physical and emotional trauma.
The Friday evening keynote address will feature Roy Fox, Professor of English Education and Director of the Missouri Writing Project at the University of Missouri. The keynote address on Saturday evening will feature Brenda Stockdale, Director of Mind-Body Medicine for the Radiology Clinics of Georgia. Additional speakers include Lucille Allegretti-Freeman, Tim Blue, Susan Borkin, Angela and Dennis Buttiner, Claudia-Hill Duffee, Carolyn Graham, Claudia Hough, Elaine Handley, Leatha Kendrick, Laura Miller, Diana Rash, Jean Rowe, and Barbara Stahura.
2010 Wellness and Writing Connections Program
Friday Keynote: Roy Fox
Roy F. Fox is Professor of English Education and Director of the Missouri Writing Project at the University of Missouri. Roy will speak about restoring the self through language and will share his research into how words, when integrated with imagery, can extend and deepen the positive effects of expression. He will also report on his current research into how mental imagery affects the language and thinking of literacy experts who themselves employ writing as healing.
Saturday Keynote: Brenda Stockdale
Brenda Stockdale is Director of Mind-Body Medicine for the Radiology Clinics of Georgia, and, for over a decade, she has helped clients apply the latest research in mind-body medicine serving as an adjunct to medical treatment. Brenda will speak about how writing heals: the biological underpinnings of writing for health which link writing and psychoneuroimmunology
The Three A’s of Mindful Journaling: Attention, Awareness and Acceptance
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Mindfulness means paying attention, in a particular way: On purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Mindful journaling helps bring clarity to any situation. By being present to the moment, expanding awareness, and staying with an experience you learn to delve deeply while cultivating your wise inner guide. This workshop will focus on ways to bring more mindfulness to your journal writing.
Bridging the Gap
To promote discussion among teachers of how to bridge the gap between personal and academic writing, Tim Blue will present multiple assignments that he has used with students (ie. “The Personal Thesis Statement” wherein the students seek to define themselves in a concise, thesis-like paragraph) as well as other assignment options. Afterwards, a group discussion about how to healthily promote personal writing in an academic context will conclude the workshop session.
Psychological Journaling: Write, Creativity & the Pursuit of Happiness
This highly experiential workshop offers practical (and fun!) application to increase joy, happiness, and life satisfaction. Developed by Susan Borkin–psychotherapist, author, and council member of the International Association for Journal Writing–Psychological Journaling© is an evidence-based approach to writing that integrates journal writing with cutting edge research in positive psychology.
Writing as an Essential Practice in Integrative Medicine
Angela and Dennis Buttimer
Integrative Medicine (IM) is an approach to wellness and recovery for both healthy people and those recovering from or living with illness. IM addresses the whole Self: a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In this workshop we will review some of the latest research in integrative medicine, discuss the importance of writing as an integral tool in this approach, and practice experientially the ways we can each use writing personally and professionally. We will discuss how we can all benefit from this approach to achieve optimal health.
Jailed: Writing to Cope for the Inside, Writing for Health on the Outside
Designed for an hour presentation workshop, the first half hour will consist of a presentation with handouts to provide for a broad overview of startling national incarceration statistics, living conditions, and lack of coping opportunities on the inside which also contribute to a “doomed to recidivism” rate upon release.
The major focus of the presentation is on the writing model the presenters developed for their GED essay writing classes to promote healthier daily life management, wellness, and coping skills in the highly charged environment in which they now live, and to transfer their healthier, more confident gains from this writing program when released to the “outside.” Techniques, student writing samples and success measurements will be shared. A booklet written by the team members will be used that includes chapter commentaries from a consulting psychiatrist.
Majesty in the Journey: Fortifying the Immune System
The workshop intention is to demonstrate the combination of mind-stream journaling and music to fortify the immune system. An experiential style is used throughout the workshop. Only evidence-based techniques are demonstrated. An inspiring story of recovery is threaded throughout the presentation. Necessary materials are supplied and a bibliography is distributed.
War Stories: Writing and Healing
Claudia Hough and Elaine Handley
In this workshop, Hough and Handley will share some of the exercises and assignments they have used in their course they created: War Stories: Reading and Writing About the Impact of War. Drawing in the research of James Pennebaker, the course seeks to create a communal academic environment where people can write the truth, as they know it, about life-defining experiences while also creating a safe place to read, discuss and reflect, and write about the war. Part of the workshop will be dedicated to an open exchange of ideas, experiences, and questions.
Healing: A Change in Perspective (“What is healing but a change in perspective?” Mark Doty)
Through brief exercises, Kendrick and participants will explore writing’s role in create a therapeutic space in which personal perceptions can shift. Telling and refining “story” enacts a healing change of perspective and in this workshop the role of revision and craft will also be addressed as participants begin creating healing narratives.
In Their Own Voices: Students Present Writing and Healing Class Projects
Five students from Georgia Southern University bear witness to the benefits and limitations of writing, telling, and revising traumatic narratives in a Writing and Healing course in spring 2010. Using poetry, music, photographs, and interactive writing assignments, they share what they learned from interdisciplinary research, writing and reading aloud their own stories, and listening to classmates. They describe what it is like to be black, gay, overweight, sexually assaulted, addicted, abandoned, and/or ill, and where/how they are now.
Memoir: From Notebook to Manuscript
This workshop will discuss how to transform journal entries into a completed memoir and how to use the notebook as a powerful tool in writing a memoir. The workshop will address the key elements of a compelling memoir and how to bring your story to life. Participants will be given writing exercises, receive memory-retrieval tips, and learn how to journal effectively for future use.
Healing the Healer: Addressing Compassion, Fatigue, and Burnout Through the Journal
All of us in helping professions are vulnerable to being overwhelmed with the challenges and pain our clients and patients share with us. In our commitment to helping others, we often overlook the toll it takes on our own lives. A sneak peak at a 12-hour workshop for CEU and contact hour credit, this breakout session will touch on the research about compassion fatigue and burnout and offer participants 2-3 journal techniques to address them.
Journaling After Brain Injury
After a brain injury, it’s important to be able to tell the stories of one’s new life. This experiential presentation will introduce the concepts of “After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story” journaling workshops that help people with brain injury to clarify experiences, deal with life changes and strong emotions, and focus on the positive. People with brain injury, family members/caregivers, journal instructors, and therapists can all benefit from this workshop. Bring a journal or notebook.
How Do I Read a Sick Human Being? : Teaching Reading and Writing to Enrich Students’ Abilities to Interpret Illness and Cultivate Healing
Jennifer R. Thomas
This interactive workshop examines how integrating literary studies into health professional education supports healing. Participants will read and write as we explore how narrative medicine assists with interpreting illness stories. Ultimately, participants will learn how literary studies empower students with a perspective that (1) enriches their understanding of illness experiences and healing, (2) fosters more accurate health assessments, and (3) assists with developing a professional identity. Participants from various career stages are welcome.