James Madison University

Writing to Heal: The Power of Personal Writing

Monday June 18, 2018
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
6 NBCC hours
Health and Behavioral Studies Building Room 1001

Presenter: Lisa Ellison, Ed.S.

In this six-hour training, participants will learn how stories and storytelling impact the brain, the elements of storytelling, best practices for using writing and adjunct bibliotherapy with clients and writing groups, and how to tease apart stories in non-threatening ways that allow writers to delve deeply into their experiences without getting stuck. The format for this session will include lively discussions, experiential activities, meditation, and opportunities to write and share as part of a vibrant group of learners. Participants will leave this workshop with a list of recommended readings and a series of effective writing prompts.

Learning Objectives

As a result of engaging in this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify the impact of writing and storytelling on the brain and immune system;
  2. Describe the impact of elements of storytelling, such as point-of-view, dialogue, scenes, summary, and exposition on the brain and nervous system;
  3. Learn how to create healthy boundaries and self-care plans that support the use of writing as a tool for healing;
  4. Utilize best practices for running writing groups and assessing readiness for specific writing tasks; and
  5. Learn how to provide feedback that helps writers challenge stuck ideas and address painful feelings.

Presenter Information:

Lisa Ellison has an Ed.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from James Madison University. An instructor at WriterHouse, a nonprofit writing center in Charlottesville, Lisa teaches memoir, the art of storytelling, and seminars on writing about loss and healing. In the past, she has presented at the VCA Annual Conference, the CVCA Fall Workshop, and the Summer Institute in Counseling. Her work and life story have appeared on NPR’s With Good Reason, and in Huffington PostThe Rumpus, and The Guardian, among others.