Rockstar, Jimmy Barnes uses writing therapy…

Hi everyone,

Recently, I watched Jimmy Barnes, an Australian/Scottish rockstar talk about his new autobiography “Working Class Boy” and how he came to tell his life story. He talked about the horrendous abuse, neglect and trauma he experienced as a child. The interview also revealed about how he contemplated suicide, even when he was extremely successful. Then he, through the help of his wife and family decided to confront his past and give up drinking and drugs.

He bravely embarked on this journey. What was interesting to me was that he said he started to see a therapist, and they suggested he write it all down. He said “I was only able to confront my past by writing it down, otherwise I would not have been able to confront all of the trauma. When I did, I felt like I could finally put it behind me.”

Men, please, please listen to the men who are discovering writing therapy. There are too many men suffering in silence, with trauma and pain. In writing therapy you do not have to speak about your trauma, although with a good counsellor this would be excellent, but you allow yourself freedom to write it down. Write down all of the ugly thoughts and feelings and memories. Then you can burn or throw it away, and you never have to show anyone. This is why men benefit more from writing therapy than even women do. Because men finally have the freedom to express these emotions they are feeling underneath.

You can express your emotions in a safe way, and nothing you have gone through will overwhelm you in writing therapy because you are in control of what you write. The main thing is you allow yourself to be completely honest and raw about what you have gone through and you are experiencing.

Thanks Jimmy Barnes, for being honest and raw and showing other men that to face your demons, and use writing to do this, is not a weak thing to do, on the contrary, it is the strongest thing to do! I am so happy to see that Jimmy Barnes has embraced writing therapy. My dream is that men and boys and women and girls all around the world will begin to use these simple techniques that are well established to free themselves from trauma and pain.

Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day! 😀

If you want to know how to start using writing therapy you can download my short book here:

 

Freedom Writing for free, limited time…

Hello everyone,

My book Freedom Writing is available for free download from September 13-17. If you have been curious about writing therapy and wanted to try some exercises or learn about it, this is the perfect time.

Feel free to download it and try it out. I know you won’t regret utilising writing therapy, it has freed many people around the world. Go well. Suzanne 😀

My other new website is www.suzannestrong.com.au, check it out. 🙂

Freedom Writing Youtube clip

Hello everyone,

For a short clip about my new handbook Freedom Writing about writing therapy, click on the link below.  Thanks for reading 😀

Suzanne talks about Freedom Writing.

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If you wish to purchase my book there is an e-book or a print version on Amazon available.

To buy the e-book click here! ($3)

For the print version click here! ($10)

 

Published in The Guardian, this is the best description of writing therapy I have read!

Hello, 
I found this excellent article about writing therapy and I wanted to show you this superb description of writing therapy from journalist Jim Pollard in The Guardian, 10 years ago.
 
“It’s cheap, available to all and works on everything from anxiety to depression… Jim Pollard spells out the power of therapeutic writing. Sunday 28 July 2002 

“It has helped groups as diverse as Vietnam veterans, psychiatric prisoners and sex offenders to deal with personal trauma. It has helped ease the symptoms in specific illnesses, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It has been shown to boost the immune system and in one study even helped unemployed Texans find new jobs. Most recently, it helped US students to come to terms with 11 September. There are no side-effects and it is available to anyone of any age, pretty much anywhere, over the counter.

If it were a drug, this versatile little treatment would surely have a public profile to match Viagra. Indeed, the lack of a pharmaceutical company to promote it is perhaps part of the reason why its benefits are so little known. It’s cheaper than any drug – the cost of a pen and paper. Because the miracle treatment is simply what I am doing right now: writing.”

Benefits of writing by hand and writing therapy…

Deakin University has discovered through research that writing by hand for 15-20 minutes a day can lead to a healthier and more balanced state of mind.

Only confirming what many other universities around the world have been studying since the 1980s. But now, studies have found that writing by hand provides a feeling of well being if done every day. I would add to this if you write about stress or bad personal experiences, or memories you can’t get rid of or anxiety or depression every day, you will experience freedom from these through this process.

This is all writing therapy. Officeworks now runs a mini workshop called “Time to Write” which shows how much writing therapy has permeated the mainstream now. I am very happy to see it. 🙂 When I discovered writing therapy by accident (2008) and then after found it was an established therapy, there was no one or only a few academics in Australia talking about it.

Things have changed dramatically, and I am glad because more people can see the benefit of writing therapy. Feel free to contact me for further information and have a look around this site for more information. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

“Freedom Writers”- tells story of writing therapy transforming lives…

The Freedom Writers movie tells the true story of Erin Gruwell, who taught at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California. This was shortly after the Rodney King riots in 1994 when she began teaching a disadvantaged class who were at risk. Many students were from different racial backgrounds, members of gangs who had been in and out of prison and had experienced indescribable violence from extremely young ages. These students would not accept a white woman from Long Beach would know or even have a clue about what they faced every day.

Erin was not dissuaded, most of all she cared. She knew she could make them see they mattered, their lives mattered and they could have a different life. She came up with a brilliant idea, and she utilised writing therapy without even knowing it.

One morning in the class she told them all she had bought them their own diaries. In these diaries they could write anything they wanted, a story, a poem, an account of their day, anything, a song. She specified it didn’t matter about the grammar or structure, what mattered was they could be honest and they could write something. Lastly, she said to them, this is for your eyes only. “Write as if no one else will see. But if you want me (Erin) to read it place it in this cupboard at the end of the day and I will be the only one who reads it.” They took their journals slowly and she had no idea if they were open to the idea or not. But the following day, she checked the cupboard and it was filled with 40 books of students who wanted her to read it.

For the first time in their life, they felt they had a voice and that someone cared.

Erin utilised the power of writing therapy:

  • to write completely honestly
  • to without an audience unless you want to share it
  • to not be concerned with grammar, spelling etc
  • to write every day

These students did this, and you know what happened – through her teaching and this writing, they completely changed their lives. They were able to express the things that were happening to them – in words on a page, and this is the power of writing therapy that can be anyone’s. These students were the first in their families to finish high school and the first in their families to go to college and now they have a foundation that visits schools and inspires other students that they can have a different life.

This is the power of writing therapy. 🙂 I have seen it with the people I have worked with, I have seen it in my tutorials at university when I read their life stories and tell them I will be the only who reads it and I care about their life story. It is one exercise of writing therapy I do with my tutorials. You should see the honesty I receive and the healing they also receive. Below is a link to the movie; which shows an overview of the story. This movie is a stunning account of an amazing woman who used simple techniques of writing therapy along with her desire to see people free from prejudice and hate, and from the violence and poverty they could not escape. She is my hero as are all of those students and the students I have known who have suffered horrendously but who still stand tall and survive. I have known many of these students as well and I have been inspired by them. As Erin says in her talks, when the teacher becomes the student and is humbled by her students. Check it out…takes my breath away.

Freedom Writers Movie

Humans create and understand meaning through story

Recently, I attended a critical thinking workshop to do with my job at University of Queensland College teaching Academic English. Some very fascinating elements were revealed in this workshop, some of which I had heard from other places before. Peter Ellerton a Lecturer in Critical Thinking/ Philosophy from the University of Queensland (2015) said that we perceive life and even facts through story, we are storytellers about our lives, it’s how we communicate with each other and it’s how we understand life and how we create and participate in meaning.

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When I attended a creative writing course at another university, I was also told by my tutor that we receive meaning through story, and throughout history we can see this is the case. Even down to our need to consume television, movies, books, poetry, comics, cartoons, radio plays and much more, we can watch people living their lives and gain a sense of meaning that we feel we sometimes do not experience in our own lives. We are in the midst of living our lives and some of us can see our story being written, but mostly it is satisfying for us to watch the stories of people played out watching the characters living out even to the end, gives us a sense of meaning and purpose. Story has always embodied meaning. It is a very satisfying experience and we often project our lives into it or relate ourselves to it. In the ancient world this was done through plays, parables, poems, narratives and we tell religious narrative stories in all cultures.

In conversation we tell each other mini stories all the time, with a start, middle and ending, with a climax, the peak of a joke, or a funny incident, an anecdote at a party. But this seminar confirmed that scientifically they know we as humans create and participate in meaning through STORY.

This is why writing therapy is so effective,  we tell our stories from a deep place, with honesty and with NO AUDIENCE initially, and therefore we can be experience freedom and writing your life story down is an extremely rewarding and revealing experience. I know this first hand, in my workshop I ask people to write their life story in one page or so, and I have done this three times. Each time I write about different parts of my life, and it has revealed so many things to me about my life to see it as a whole, was so enlightening and also about how I perceive things in my life. This is why this exercise is so cathartic and effective for us, cause we need to see our life as a story that has been told up until this point but it does not define us, and that we are STILL WRITING even now in the present. It is a beautiful exercise.

This was an exciting and intriguing seminar I was able to attend. The quote below also reflects how we must have humility if we are to learn from each other.

“Those who think they know it all, have no way of finding out, they don’t.” Leo Buscaglia 

I really like Leo Buscaglia (also known as Dr. Love was a Professor professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California, 1924-1998) here is another quote from him: poignant, beautiful and true.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Well said Leo, so true. I don’t underestimate these seemingly small acts of kindness can sometimes mean someone pulls through something or not, and I have seen the power of these actions. 🙂

Thanks for reading. 😀

Suzanne

New writing passion :)

Hello there,

I have been recently excited that a complete story idea came to me the other day. This is exciting because my life being a single parent and teaching at university – is time and energy consuming and sometimes the creative impulses seem to be elusive. However, the other day a story came to me and even an idea for a novella. This causes me to feel re-energised and to feel my purpose and almost like a connection to who I am again, like an internal sighing. I am not sure if that makes sense 😉
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I am writing a non fiction book about writing therapy, that I will talk about on here when it is finished, but I feel exhilarated that my creativity is flowing now and as I change my teaching schedule I believe this will improve my creative life.

My friend who is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland told me once that he kind of resented teaching sometimes because it took him away from his love, which was to write. I can understand this, as teaching is fairly creative and our creative impulses become directed towards teaching and analysing and marking essays. 🙂

I am happy to say that I am now entering my creative phase again, (not just because I will be studying poetry soon but that will be fabulous) and I am also looking forward to writing not for an assessment but to explore an idea I have recently been captivated by. I plan to explore this idea from many of the characters’ points of view.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Maybe sometime I will post up a video.
Kind regards to you and have a beautiful day.
Suzanne

Participant Response to Writing Therapy

“I had never done any form of therapy before and I was not very good at writing, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was interested in what writing therapy was and if it provided positive outcomes. I had no real idea of what it was going to be like, although it exceeded what I knew of therapy and was a good way to get out what I was feeling. I enjoyed the questions of growing up and making you think what parts of your life could possibly trigger other parts, it was all there in front of you on paper.

It made me aware of my sub conscious thoughts and I realised why I was feeling this way. I felt really released, relaxed and grounded after the therapy. I would highly recommend Write for Life to anyone. It’s a less confronting form of therapy that allows people to see their subconscious thoughts and issues on paper, right before their eyes and to be free from them.”

Charles Rolls, Y2K

Writing Therapy and Forgiveness -Produces Happiness

Check this video out, this perfectly demonstrates how writing down trauma and stresses in our lives, whether this be a difficult relationship or something someone has done to us, or whether it is something we have done, writing this down, provides us with release and freedom. This shows the direct link between writing stresses down, forgiveness and increased happiness following this process. Check it out. 🙂