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This workshop is for practitioners in the helping professions who are interested in the potential healing power of poetry.

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This workshop is for practitioners in the helping professions who are interested in the potential healing power of poetry, for themselves and/or their clients. You don’t need any prior knowledge of poetry at all to take part, however, if you do use poetry as a source of healing or pleasure, comfort, insight, guidance, consolation, etc., for yourself or your clients, you’re welcome to share your ideas and poems.

Bibliotherapy has a long and established history. The phrase above the entrance to the royal chamber where books were stored by King Ramesses II of Egypt read: “The House of Healing for the Soul”. The ancient Greeks understood the importance of words and feelings to both poetry and healing; Aristotle discussed the value of poetry for catharsis as well as producing insights and providing universal truths. More recently, over the last hundred years, poetry has been increasingly used for mental health purposes and a great many poetry anthologies have been published providing ‘prescriptions’ for particular problems and moods.

This workshop will focus on the healing power of reading and sharing poetry rather than writing poetry. We will explore different ways in which poetry can be used therapeutically, including the idea of ‘embodying a poem’. We will consider if and how poetry might be included in our existing integrative or pluralistic practices.

Emma Garrard is an experienced Integrative Counsellor/Supervisor/Trainer with an interest in philosophy (literally: 'the love of wisdom') in counselling, and how the wisdom found in poetry can play a key role in mental health and well-being.

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