Expressive Writing in a Group

Using Narrative Writing, also termed Expressive Writing, with a group is powerful. The benefit of forming a group for this practice allows for participants to experience their writings in multiple ways. First starting with a prompt to open the creative side of your brain to express something that may be residing in the unconscious portion of your mind. Then without giving thought to how to write and just putting pen or pencil to the paper and let the words flow that arise from the prompt for anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes. Then the sharing with the group participants what has been written by reading the words allowed. The group holds the space for each member to read what has been written without commentary and with compassion. These 3 aspects: the prompt, the writing, and the reading aloud, give a new perspective to each member in the group. There is a new feel that arises when taking what has been written to the verbal expression of these words. 

This practice opens a new understanding of the self. What arises may be an old memory, a new thought, an experience that had been residing in the shadows of memory, or a feeling that is associated with the prompt that had not before been associated. This is the alchemy in Group Expressive Writing that can build greater self-awareness, self-reliance, and resilience. This practice can help one integrate feelings, thoughts, release prejudice, build compassion for self and others, and release that that needs to be expressed that had not had an opening for doing so previously. This practice also aids in working though old wounds that may need expressing multiple times before the wound is ready to heal. 

The importance of a group formation is that each person understands they will be witnessing each other’s writings with respect and compassion. Each member of the group is to be fully present to one another. This is “witnessing”. Each participant is a mirror to each other through compassionate listening. As individuals we have few venues for such audiences. We rarely, if at all, give this opportunity to ourselves. We carry on an ongoing monologue of the details of everyday life as well as those experiences that cause emotional responses and we rarely share these in any meaningful way with others without fear of judgement or rejection. So we hid much of our internal life from others as well as from ourselves.

|Expressive writing is not a therapy. It is a practice. And as with all practices the more we engage with it the more we get from it. I would like to invite you to sign up for one of my free Writing Circles Experiences. The group will form for 6 weeks, one day a week for 2 hours. Group size is limited to 8 people. I encourage you to have this experience. Come with an open heart and open mind. I look forward to meeting you.