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Lapidus News

Words, wellness and writing!

Creative Writing for Wellbeing under lockdown: Zoom’s double-edged sword

Professor Tony Wall reports on a lockdown study of 100 therapeutic writers carried out by Lapidus International.

A new national study by the University of Chester and Lapidus examines how creative writing for therapeutic purposes provision changed under the first lockdown of 2020. The study focused on the top 1% most health deprived areas in England (clustered into 16 areas) and combines web analyses, virtual focus groups and interviews, to find out how provision changed, how these changes impacted people, who had been excluded, and what is needed at the local level.

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Therapeutic Writing Groups Embrace Art Forms, says Research

 

A research project involving 100 writers for wellbeing has detailed the many creative forms that therapeutic writing is taking. Professor Tony Wall of the University of Chester explains.

This summer, our study investigated the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of therapeutic writing groups across the top 1% health-deprived areas in England. The initial findings shed light on the diversity of practice and practitioners and how adaptable the community has been to respond quickly to the pandemic using technology.

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NEW FRAMEWORKS NEEDED FOR THERAPEUTIC WRITING, SAYS REPORT.

 

A two-year study into words for wellbeing has concluded that practitioners need new structures for training and supervision in order to work with vulnerable people. The study, commissioned by Lapidus International, suggests that training opportunities are needed in the areas of safety, safeguarding and supervision.

The report, written by Prof. Tony Wall of Chester University and Richard Axtell from Lapidus, argues that ‘transition spaces’ should be created to educate and raise awareness and reflection among practitioners. Prof. Wall said at the launch today (Saturday, 18th January): “There are gaps in knowledge that can be filled in a positive and gradual way. We can put structures in place such as CPD, supervision and recognition of skills and all this will build credibility among leaders of creative groups.”

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Mirror image – an opportunity for cultural practitioners to reflect on wellbeing, organised by the Cultural, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA)

On Thursday 3rd October I attended a symposium in response to Francesca’s facebook suggestion. As I live in Birmingham, I jumped at booking a ticket, without any expectations other than to enjoy a few hours on reflecting on wellbeing.

Nicola Naismith, author of ‘Artists Practicing Well’ opened the event introducing her research on how practitioners have a responsibility to practice self-care. Even though, there are good practice guidelines helping organisations and freelancers to deliver activities for wellbeing, Nicola has found through her research that there is limited support for practitioner wellbeing.

Nicolas’s report recognizes that the self-care of the practitioner should be a team effort, involving the commissioner, organizational leader, funder, policy maker. This is necessary for practitioners not to feel isolated. See synopsis of report.

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'Arts and Health' for trainee GPs

 

We often talk at Lapidus events about the potential for social prescribing.  People say how wonderful it would be if GPs had more understanding of the potential of CWTP and related practice to promote health and well-being.

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Some Reflections on a Day of Helping Women Writers Write

I feel really lucky to have been at the Mslexicon event in Leeds last weekend (12th/13th July). It was a dynamic and supportive conference for women who write and I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like it in my life before.

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An Interview With Stephen Gillatt, the author of Mad, Sad, Dysfunctional Dad

 

 Jhilmil Breckenridge spoke with Stephen Gillatt about the issues of mental health and men and how society does not allow vulnerability in men. Stephen has recently written a mental health memoir as he wants to get more men talking about mental health.

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From the Field: Reading vs Loneliness

A new report entitled A Society of Readers, commissioned by the charity The Reading Agency and conducted by think tank Demos, finds a significant body of evidence to show that reading can help to combat the growing issue of loneliness, as well as acting as a tool to protect future generations from loneliness. With nine million people in the UK currently feeling lonely "often" or "always", the research shines a light on the benefits of using reading as a form of social connection. To find out more about the report and what it means, we caught up with Edward Cutler, Digital Communications Officer at The Reading Agency.

 

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From the Field: Writing a Community Novel

Every month or so, we are sending our outreach officer, Francesca Baker, out to bring back an interesting story from the field of words for wellbeing. Here is the first of these stories!

 

In October 2017 Jane Moss embarked on a three year research project to create a community novel. Her question is ‘what would happen if a community wrote a novel using a combination of pens, apps and laptops?’ Or, to put it another, more academic way, ‘What is the potential role for digital media in co-authorship of a community novel?’

We thought this sounded interesting – and fun – so caught up with Jane to find out more.

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Creating a Global Community of Therapeutic Writers

The magic of therapeutic writing is often experienced sitting around a table in an intimate group setting.  There is enormous power in writing together and having our words witnessed by others in a safe space, held by a skilful facilitator.

When Victoria Field and I embarked on the challenge of carrying some of that alchemy into a virtual learning environment with the launch of our online Introduction to Therapeutic and Reflective Writing course, we approached the task with excitement, but also some uncertainty.  Would it be possible to provide a safe, supportive environment for participants to learn, share and develop?  

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Taking Your Writing For A Walk - A West Yorkshire Lapidus Workshop

“In the course of a walk, we usually find out something about our
companion, and this is true even when we travel alone.”

-Thomas A. Clark (from In Praise of Walking)

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A Magical Reflection - Grimm & Co

Grimm & Co is Yorkshire’s only Apothecary to the Magical. It’s an exciting project with a shop-front premises in Rotherham, offering creative writing workshops for children and young people. The first time I visited, as a potential volunteer, I was given the same experience as each new participant gets:  the secret doors opened and I was ushered through into the writers’ space. I tell you, it’s magical.

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From Me to You

Update: Visit their website to find out about their #SummerLetterChallenge. It looks really interesting! - Richard

We all love receiving a handwritten letter through the post, the feeling you get. That rush of excitement, the anticipation of ‘what’s inside?!’  - Reading well thought out words from someone close to us, offering an opportunity of reflection and even becoming a tactile keep sake for the future. Letters provide us with such a wholesome experience.

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From Book to Film - Heaven's Rage

Leslie Tate’s novel, Heaven’s Rage, describes the life and loves of an emerging cross dresser in the 1970s and 1980s. His insights have been made into a well-received short film which is currently touring the UK. Here, he describes how the raised profile of trans people has affected him as a man, and a writer.

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Attending the National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference

This year I was a first time attendee at the NAPT Annual Conference and this was my first time in America. The theme of the conference was Poetry Therapy in a changing world: Pathways to Growth, Healing and Social Justice and was held at the Conference Centre in Chaska, Minneapolis.

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The Hoodlums Launch Event Report

Lapidus South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (The Hoodlums) were established in January. We applied for a small grant to enable us to put on a launch event in order to publicise the group and attract more members.

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Writing for Wellbeing Workshops in Hampshire

A new member to Lapidus International is running workshops in reflective writing for wellbeing in Hampshire. Jo Bisseker Barr, who has been a counsellor for the past 20 years, started a new venture, ‘Write your Mind’ earlier this year, and runs day workshops from her tranquil period home set in peaceful gardens in Lyndhurst in the middle of the New Forest.

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Moving Pieces Taster Workshop

As writers we spend a lot of time in our heads. Thoughts form words that form phrases that we process in the mind and present to the page. Sometimes the stories in our heads represent our experience in the world, but at other times they are born of mental processes than our bodily knowledge. Neither is wrong or right, but the difference is worth acknowledging.

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Lapidus invite to Lithuania by the Lithuanian Science Council

Lapidus International Board Member, Professor Tony Wall, was recently invited to give the opening keynote Klaipeda University’s flagship conference, "Psychosocial Rehabilitation: Scientific Research on Bibliotherapy and Theraeutic Writing - II"

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Groups Report - Lapidus International AGM 2017

The following report was submitted by Barbara Bloomfield, Director of Groups for the Lapidus International AGM 2017:

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