A participant reported feeling something new in their life, they named it “Happiness.”
“Through using prompts and meditation, I was able to coax unexpected words onto the page.”
Early Work (1986–1998)
Finding a therapeutic tool — Pamela began using creative writing in a therapeutic way in 1986 with lower and middle school students who experienced emotional and/or learning challenges. Simply wanting to avoid the blank page, she used pictures which became “prompts,” and suggested the students pretend they were reporters and write the “story” of the picture. The result was creative, and often about them: they became the cat up the tree, the fish on the line, the fast-moving stream.
Work with Cancer Survivors (2001–present)
The writing, using prompts, is held in themes of healing — which makes it different from most cancer support groups that explore themes and feelings related to illness. As well, Pamela wove the healing theme and a practice of following-the-breath into each session’s meditation to encourage deeper writing and mindfulness.
This writing, following the meditation, turned out to be strengthening. It raised emotional well-being. Relationships improved, along with self-esteem.
In the sharing following the writing: strong voices develop; community grows; compassionate listening emerges. If you learn to listen to others, you might learn to listen to your own inner voice. If you listen with compassion, you might learn to be compassionate with yourself.
Words can change the brain — The advances in neuroscience and brain studies have shown that each time we write, we are making a new neural pathway. You can’t go back and change the past, but you can change how you understand it.