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A poetry therapy model for the literature classroom



The focus of this article is on a poetry therapy model for literature instructors. This model is based on poetry therapy models used by Nicholas Mazza and Arleen Hynes, but also borrows strategies from Alvin Mahrer's experiential therapy and Richard Kopp's metaphor therapy. The model includes a supportive/empathic phase, a response/examination phase, an action/application phase, and culminates with a creative phase where students create their own artistic project in response to a chosen poem. This approach to teaching poetry encourages students to locate potentials, form new goals, productively cope with negative experiences, and reevaluate their relationships.
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[Williams, Todd O.]
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Journal of Poetry Therapy
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A poetry therapy model for the literature classroom
Todd O. Williams
Online publication date: 13 February 2011
To cite this Article Williams, Todd O.(2011) 'A poetry therapy model for the literature classroom', Journal of Poetry
Therapy, 24: 1, 17 — 33
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/08893675.2011.549682
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A poetry therapy model for the
literature classroom
Todd O. Williams*
The focus of this article is on a poetry therapy model for literature instructors. This model is based on
poetry therapy models used by Nicholas Mazza and Arleen Hynes, but also borrows strategies from
Alvin Mahrer’s experiential therapy and Richard Kopp’s metaphor therapy. The model includes a
supportive/empathic phase, a response/examination phase, an action/application phase, and
culminates with a creative phase where students create their own artistic project in response to a
chosen poem. This approach to teaching poetry encourages students to locate potentials, form new
goals, productively cope with negative experiences, and reevaluate their relationships.
Keywords Education; emotion; empathy; experiential; literature; metaphor; poetr y; therapy
Teachers of literature often seek to encourage cognitive development and emotional
maturation in students. However, excepting the work of a few notable literary
scholars like Jeffrey Berman, Mark Bracher, and Norman Holland, the potential of a
therapeutic approach to literary studies has gone largely untapped. The goal of the
classroom model that follows is to make the study of poetry more valuable for both
students and society. Many English teachers recognize that students and readers of
literature already experience personal and social benefits from texts, but this model is
designed to maximize the developmental potential of poetry in the classroom.
The study of poetry brings with it a number of potential benefits. Poetry offers
students the opportunity to increase their self-awareness by helping them examine
their experiences in terms of emotions and mental images as well as language.
Reading poetry enables students to have new perceptions and emotional experiences
that can help them locate unrealized potentials. The study of poetry can also validate
emotional experiences, particularly painful ones that are often repressed. This can
help students to realistically and constructively cope with trauma or negative
emotions like shame, guilt, or fear. Poems can serve as supportive external objects,
helping students repair negative attitudes toward the world that may prevent
prosocial action. And poems stimulate imagination and creativity in readers that
they can apply to other aspects of their lives. If literature teachers encourage students
*Corresponding author. Todd O. Williams, Department of English, Kutztown University, P.O. Box
730, Kutztown, PA 19530, USA. Email:
Journal of Poetry Therapy
(March 2011), Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 1733
ISSN 0889-3675 print #2011 National Association for Poetry Therapy
DOI: 10.1080/08893675.2011.549682
Downloaded By: [Williams, Todd O.] At: 18:32 13 February 2011
to relate to poems emotionally, imaginatively, empathetically, and creatively, we can
help them to become more open and self-aware and more empathetic and
cooperative in their relations with others.
The field of poetry therapy provides us with some useful guidance as to how we
might achieve these classroom goals. Nicholas Mazza (2003) and Arleen Hynes and
M. Hynes-Berry (1986) illustrate models for poetry therapy that are useful for
considering how to structure a class around a therapeutic approach to poetry. Many
aspects of these two models went into the creation of the classroom model outlined
below. What follows is meant to be a flexible model that others may adapt, alter, and
borrow from to fit the needs of their classes.
In this therapeutic approach to poetry, teachers must always proceed with some
level of caution. Mazza (2003) warns of several issues that occur in poetry therapy
that can lead to negative outcomes. One potential problem with poetry, and other
works of art, is that a poem may be used as an intellectualization of a real personal
issue, especially when a reader simply applies an emotionally detached analysis to it.
This intellectualization can prevent students from attaining deeper emotional
awareness or it can prevent them from experiencing recognition of their emotions
through a text. Teachers can try to engage students in poetry in more emotional and
imaginative ways in order to make poetry more vital and less purely intellectual. In
fact, a therapeutic approach to poetry is far less guilty of intellectualization than
traditional classroom approaches that do not take emotional experience into
We must also be careful not to put our agenda as teachers above students’ needs.
We cannot force students to experience personal revelations or to appreciate us for
offering them the opportunity for such experiences. Our role in this approach is to
provide students with opportunity, guidance, and support. The major concern with a
therapeutic approach to poetry, which is an ethical concern in the classroom, is of
evoking feelings in students that they cannot cope with. Of course, traditional
pedagogies can also evoke such feelings, especially when dealing with emotionally
intense texts, without offering students a productive way to cope with them. We must
always be careful, however, to let students progress at their own pace. Teachers
cannot analyze students in the way that therapists do; it is unpractical in a classroom
setting as well as unethical. What we are offering students is an opportunity to learn
more about themselves and their relationships. The degree to which they do this
must be left largely up to them. In my experience, however, students are nearly
always enthusiastic about this approach to poetry, and its benefits frequently evoke a
response of gratitude.
Another potential concern with this approach is that it avoids teaching students
about other important elements of literature by focusing solely on therapeutic
benefits. However, this approach does allow a space to discuss the typical concerns of
a literature class and does not preclude traditional outcome goals. Students may
learn about and experience therapeutic benefits of poetry while also learning about
prosody, genres, and literary movements, as well as political, cultural, and historical
contexts. In fact, the kinds of individual emotional responses that this approach
focuses on are often tied to formal elements and cultural contexts. A deeper
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understanding of the form and context of a poem can enrich the emotional
experience of it. And, likewise, an appreciation of a poems therapeutic benefits
can lead a reader to a greater appreciation of its form and the context in which it was
produced. A therapeutic approach and a more traditional approach to poetry are not
mutually exclusive. While some teachers may embrace literatures therapeutic
elements as the primary focus of a course, these elements can also add to a course
and to studentsunderstanding of poetry in a supplemental role.
Poetry therapy models
Mazzas (2003) R.E.S. (Receptive/Prescriptive, Expressive/Creative, and Symbolic/
Ceremonial) integrative poetry therapy model was adapted to Lewis Wolbergs
eclectic brief treatment model. This brief poetry therapy approach uses poetry to
provide ego support, help one to improve ones relationships, and help one to deal
with specific problems (p. 26). Mazza begins with the ‘‘supportive phase’’ where he
introduces poems that offer support and instill hope (Receptive/Prescriptive),
without yet delving into personal issues that arise in deep self-exploration. Once
support is established, Mazza moves to the ‘‘apperceptive phase,’’ which involves
the ‘‘development of insight regarding specific problems’’ (p. 29). The third phase is
the ‘‘action phase.’’ Here his clients are encouraged to take action and become the
agents of their own change. This may involve keeping a personal journal (Expressive/
Creative) or choosing to adopt a poem or song as ones own (Symbolic/Ceremonial).
The final phase is the ‘‘integrative phase’’ where the client consolidates what they
have gained in therapy while making goals for the future. Mazza also deals with
separation issues during this phase by introducing songs or poems about saying
goodbye and accepting independence.
Hynes and Hynes-Berrys (1986) four-step bibliotherapeutic process follows a
different format but is compatible with Mazzas work. Hyness first step is
‘‘recognition’’ where clients locate something in a text that engages them personally:
‘‘something that piques interest, opens up the imagination, stops wandering
thoughts, or in some way, arrests attention’’ (pp. 4445). Recognition is primarily
an emotional response that may remain vague at this stage. In step two,
‘‘examination,’’ ‘‘we must move beyond the flash of recognition to examine the
concept or feeling for ourselves’’ (p. 49). Here, clients take the initial intense
response to a literary work and ask themselves questions in order to uncover the
psychological sources of their response. They now begin to increase self-awareness
through a text. The next step is ‘‘juxtaposition,’’ where clients come to a more
complex understanding of themselves by comparing and contrasting ‘‘two impres-
sions of an object or experience’’ (p. 50). Here, clients come to understand
ambivalences, while also looking at alternatives through their impressions of a text.
Hynes ends with ‘‘application to self.’’ In this final step, clients evaluate their
experience in the previous steps to gain deeper self-awareness and to integrate this
awareness by applying it to their lives. This may involve creating new goals or
committing to new kinds of behavior.
Poetry therapy model 19
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An indebtedness to both Mazzas and Hyness work is evident in the classroom
model outlined below. It begins with a phase that seeks to establish poetry as a
supportive object for the reader and also as an object that evokes empathy. In this
‘‘supportive/empathic’’ phase, students objectively consider how poems can offer
emotional support, and students develop their empathetic capacities by imaginatively
relating to and adapting the voices of others. This phase is followed by a ‘‘response/
examination’’ phase, which parallels Mazzas use of the apperceptive phase and
essentially combines Hyness first two steps, recognition and examination. Perhaps
these should remain separate stages, but they overlap so often in classroom practice
that it is difficult to separate them completely. Here, students use poetry to become
more self-aware by responding subjectively to poems and by examining their
subjective responses. The third phase is the ‘‘action/application’’ phase, which is a
merging of Mazzas use of the final two phases of action and integration, and Hyness
final step of self-application. Consistent with Mazzas approach, students choose the
text that they want to more closely examine their relationship with. This phase relies
on two other therapeutic models to achieve its goals: Alvin Mahrers (2002)
experiential therapy and Richard Kopps (1995) metaphor therapy. These models
work extremely well for integrating ones personal experiences of a text, raising ones
awareness, and getting one to apply therapeutic gains to ones life. The final phase is
a‘‘creative’’ phase where students apply their deeply explored experience with a text
by creating their own work of art in response to their chosen poem. These phases are
described in more detail below. I recently took this approach with a class using The
Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry edited by Jonathan Wordsworth and Jessica
Wordsworth (2005), which will provide the examples below.
Supportive/empathic phase
Following Mazzas approach, students begin with a supportive phase, which, in this
model, includes a particular stress on empathy. They start by reading not only
hopeful and uplifting poems, but also poems that offer recognition to negative
emotional states; that is, poems that offer hope in the face of suffering as well as
realistic recognition of human suffering. By beginning with a more objective
approach to poetry and its therapeutic value early in the semester students are
able to emotionally connect with poems without having to explore or reveal their
personal thoughts, feelings, fantasies, or associations in detail. Students will begin to
find recognition in poems and develop what Mazza (2003) calls ‘‘empathic
understanding’’ (pp. 2829) by focusing on the others they find in poetry. They
will begin to see themselves and others, and themselves through others, in a safe
environment, which will get them more comfortable with thinking of poetry in this
way early in the semester. Here, poetry is established as a potentially supportive
object for the reader and defense mechanisms that might lead students to resist
achieving deeper self-awareness are relaxed.
Many of the approaches typically taken in literature classes are of value to a
therapeutic approach to poetry at this stage, though teachers can do more to build on
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the rewards that literature offers students. The conventional practice of identifying
and discussing themes or predominant moods of poems, for example, is useful
because it allows students to objectively consider elements of human nature that are
being treated by a poem. One of the first steps in increasing studentsawareness of
themselves and their relationships is to identify psychological phenomena or truths
revealed in poems, which students can later consider in more personal ways. Most
literature teachers already engage students in issues of poetrys thematic elements. In
a literary theory class, teachers may even use poems to exemplify or clarify
psychological or social concepts of various schools of theory. These common
approaches get students thinking in different ways and considering their worlds and
their selves more perceptively and comprehensively.
We can take this objective approach to poetry a bit further in order to get
students thinking more adequately about emotional and psychological issues by
encouraging them to think about poetry in terms of its potential therapeutic value.
Mazza (2003) suggests a number of useful questions that apply specifically to the
therapeutic value of poems in his ‘‘poetry therapy training exercises for practitioners’’
(p. 149). First, students consider what type of person might find a particular poem
helpful. Some poems may speak more specifically to, or may have more relevance for,
a certain gender, ethnicity, or age group. Students can also consider if there are
particular issues or problems that a specific poem could help someone address. For
example, poems can often help one cope with depression or anxiety by increasing
awareness or offering recognition to emotions that are experienced as shameful.
Students can determine if a poem might offer hope to readers that would enable
coping. They can also ask if a poem could have harmful effects on a certain readers
identity. Some poems express despair but offer little hope to a suffering reader. Some
offer false hope that a reader may reject. Others may express racist or misogynistic
views that will insult and alienate certain readers. Thinking about poems in these
ways increases empathy in students by helping them to imagine how others might
read from their unique points of view. This approach, of course, also teaches students
to consider the therapeutic potential of poetry.
Once students have begun thinking about poetry in this way, there are a number
of creative response activities that can engage their imaginations, while helping them
to develop empathy and potentially improve object relations. Imagination proves
essential for empathy as it takes imagination to put oneself in the position of the other.
Rich Furman (2005) uses poetry therapy methods with his students in social work and
other helping professions, seeing empathy as a ‘‘prerequisite for social justice’’
(p. 104). Furman begins by having students remember a time in their lives when they
‘‘felt deeply accepted and understood by someone’’ (p. 105). In a poetry class,
students might write about a time they experienced a work of literature or another art
form that made them feel understood or accepted. This ‘‘remembering empathy’’
exercise works well for establishing poetry or art as a supportive object. When
students feel empathized with, they are more likely to empathize themselves.
Other exercises can specifically help students to develop empathy for others.
Furman does a letter writing assignment where his students write empathetic letters
to clients they are having a difficult time with. Poetry students can write empathetic
Poetry therapy model 21
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and supportive letters to speakers or characters from poems. While this exercise can
encourage empathy, some students may offer judgments or chastisement. We can try
to avoid negative letters and encourage more empathy by having students write to the
speaker or character as if they were a good friend or a close family member. This is
clearly a challenge, but it forces students to empathize with someone who they do not
necessarily easily understand. I have used Coleridges‘‘Pains of Sleep’’ and several of
Charlotte Smiths elegiac sonnets in this exercise. Students are often able to relate to
the speakerssuffering and even when they cannot, they are usually able to offer
genuine words of support. Of course, each individual student will relate to certain
poems more easily and will have a more difficult time relating to others. Doing this
exercise with a variety of poems encourages students to respond with empathy even
when it is more difficult for them to relate to a speaker or character. In their
therapeutic practice, Phyllis Klein and Perie Longo (2006) encourage these kinds of
‘‘poetic conversations’’ where readers respond to poems because it deepens ‘‘ the
possibility for empathy and sympathetic identification’’ (p. 123).
After responding to others from poems, students can then write from, or take
on, the perspective of another from a poem. One writing exercise that works well is to
have students write their own poems or narratives in the voice of either a speaker of
or a character in a poem. This exercise often involves filling in gaps in a text. This is
essentially what Tennyson does in his Mariana poems or what Browning does in
‘‘Caliban upon Setebos,’’ where the poets write from the perspectives of Shakespear-
ian characters, and we could certainly list other literary examples.
Another empathy exercise that builds upon this one involves having one student
play the role of a speaker or character from, or an author of, a poem and having
another student interview them. If a student were playing an author, for example,
another student could ask them what was happening in their lives when they wrote
the poem, how they felt when writing the poem, how they felt after the poem was
written, where they came up with a certain image or metaphor, or what they meant
by a certain ambiguous phrase. For a narrative poem, the interviewer may question a
character as to why certain actions were taken, or they may ask how the character felt
during a certain scene. Whatever the scenario, the student being interviewed must
try to answer the questions by empathizing with another through imagination.
Students can transcribe and even perform these interviews for their classmates in
order to share a broad array of responses.
The last part of this phase applies what we have done previously on relationships
where many issues of human nature and empathy come into play. Poems are
frequently addressed to someone specifically, so we can use poems that reflect
various types of relationships to get students to not only consider the inner-self
expressed in the poem but the relational-self. Not only do our inner-experiences arise
during reading when we identify with a poetic voice, but all of our relationships and
memories associated with these experiences come out. Again, during this phase
students do not consciously explore these things in terms of their own experiences,
but they lay the groundwork. Poems about relationships can get students to think
objectively about the nature of relationships, and to imaginatively empathize with
someone as they exist within a relationship. I have used a variety of poems reflecting
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different types of relationships during this phase: Hemanss‘‘The Dreaming Child,’’
expressing parental love; Shelleys somewhat narcissistic love poem ‘‘To Harriet’’;
and Caroline Nortons treatment of dying love, ‘‘Be Frank with Me.’’ One poem that
students tend to respond very strongly to is Nortons‘‘Recollections.’’ Addressed to
her brothers, this poem deals with issues of death and survival within a family. With
these poems, students write from the perspectives of the implied audience in
response to the speaker of the poem. Here, students must again empathetically put
themselves in the perspective of another, while also gaining insights into the
dynamics of relationships, which they may later apply to their own relationships.
Response/examination phase
In the response/examination phase, students move from objective considerations of
poetry in terms of therapeutic value and generalized human nature to subjective
responses that focus on the self, with the goal of increasing self-awareness. This
phase begins by introducing students to the concept of reading through the three
orders of experience*linguistic, imaginary, and emotional. When readers experience
language, it gives rise to thoughts that are also in the form of language; this is
the typical focus of a literature classroom. However, readers also form mental images
when they read, particularly when reading vivid descriptions or metaphors. And, of
course, readers respond to texts at a visceral, emotional level. This approach to
poetry encourages students to realize and examine not only their cognitive but their
imaginary and emotional responses to poems.
It often proves productive to have students focus on a specific word, line, or
image in a poem that has special significance to them (Mazza, 2003, p. 19). Students
are encouraged to locate and share parts of poems that they respond to intensely,
either emotionally or imaginatively. This provides an opening for students to focus on
and clarify their responses to texts. Students can then describe their emotional
responses aloud or in writing, and describe or even draw on paper the mental images
that poems evoke. Bringing emotions and images into consciousness and into
language begins to get students engaged in responding creatively to texts while also
getting them to begin looking inward to gain self-awareness.
Students share their emotional and imaginative responses either in small groups
or as a whole class. Norman Holland and Murray Schwartz (1975) describe how
when we, as a class, all share our unique ways of reading and experiencing texts, we
create a potential space between self and other where we come to see texts through
the eyes of others and have our own experiences of texts shaped by them (p. 793).
Students come to recognize their unique responses but as we share, everyones
responses will become altered somewhat and enriched by the responses of others. In
this case, reading becomes a collective experience where we open texts up to multiple
possibilities and empathize with multiple ways of reading and experiencing.
As students gain increased awareness of their emotional and imaginary
responses to poems, they are also encouraged to explore personal associations
through poetry. Students move beyond simply recognizing their emotions and images
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to considering the personal experiences and memories associated with them. Here,
students begin to get into even more personal explorations and self-analysis that will
help raise their self-awareness. Words, images, and emotions are linked to events,
people, places, and objects. Making these links between poems and the self can be
quite a leap for many students. One way to start out slowly and get students to use
association without necessarily getting too personal is to use intertextual associations
instead of personal ones. We can ask students if the poem reminds them of a song, a
movie, another literary work, or another piece of art. This offers students some
distance as they begin to follow their associations. Instead of linking directly to
personal experience, which might make them uncomfortable at first, they link the
poem to a third object that is linked to the self as a work of art that has meaning to
them but that clearly has its own separate existence. Following these types of
associations can provide a foundation from which students can later learn to relate
poems specifically to past memories or to their current life situations.
Since allowing for personal meaning is so important in these exercises and in this
approach to poetry in general, teachers should consider using poems that are more
open-ended. Students should be able to examine a multitude of responses to a text
without settling in on or being pushed toward one specific master reading. Some
poems are more prescriptive or, as Umberto Eco (1989) puts it, ‘‘closed’’ (pp. 45)
than others, and students are more likely to be put off by these poems. But when we
introduce open-ended poems, students are able to project their own personal
meaning into them. These kinds of poems lend themselves to the kinds of creative
exercises that are included in this phase. Imaginary experience, the experience of
mental images in the mind, provides a foundation for creativity. Getting students in
touch with this kind of experience can raise self-awareness particularly in terms of
allowing them to realize their creative potentials. Students create their own narratives
when they fill in gaps and ambiguities in texts with their imaginations. Later they can
analyze their creative readings to come to a better understanding of their fantasies,
desires, and emotions. Creative reading allows students to take action and this is
empowering in a way that can carry over into other aspects of their lives. Exerci-
ses that encourage creative responses from students foster the emergence of a self
who is open to creative possibilities that may be used to alter the self or the external
world in positive ways. Students will hopefully take these newly discovered elements
of self with them beyond their formal literary studies.
As students begin using poetry for self-exploration in order to gain deeper
awareness, the poems themselves will often validate student responses, but our role
as teachers is mainly to not invalidate them. We should encourage personal
judgments based on taste, values, or relevance to self because these judgments can
be used to teach students about themselves. It is essential, however, to always go
beyond simply having students react to texts. We always want them to analyze their
reactions based on their experiences or personality traits, to consider what
their reactions are in all three orders of experience, but also to examine the roots
of their reactions. Students may simply respond and share responses at first, but later
they should follow up their responses and creative readings with self-analysis. Since
many students are less comfortable sharing personal revelations with classmates, this
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is usually done in writing*either free-writings in class or journal responses at home.
Here, students are asked to consider, based on their understanding of themselves and
their experiences, why they react in certain ways to texts or why certain texts give rise
to certain fantasies. Again, we must be careful never to push students to reveal
anything that makes them uncomfortable in their self-analysis. This approach simply
offers them the opportunity to explore themselves through poetry. What they do with
this opportunity is largely up to them.
In this phase, along with selecting more open works, teachers should select
poems that are either emotionally intense, reflect a variety of emotional states, use a
lot of imagistic description and figurative language, or all of the above. Keatss and
Shelleys odes work well for the purposes of this phase, but students also tend to be
strongly affected by Romantic nature poetry. They respond very positively to
excerpts from Smiths‘‘Beachy Head’’ and a number of Wordsworths nature poems
including ‘‘Tintern Abbey,’’ ‘‘Daffodils,’’ and excerpts from The Prelude. These
poems elicit profound, self-reflective responses in students and tend to bring up
concrete associations. Typically students will recall specific moments and places
where they had experiences with nature similar to those described by Smith and
Wordsworth. Darline Hunter and Shannon Sanderson (2007), in their blending of
poetry and nature in therapy, recognize the psychic healing demonstrated by the
‘‘expression of connection, insight, awe, mindfulness, and gratitude’’ in the face of
nature (p. 216). In the classroom, the poem can allow students to explore their
relationship to nature, and nature becomes an object that allows students to more
deeply experience the poem on a personal level. Such explorations often lead
students to consider the environment and the social issues surrounding it as well.
Hunter and Sanderson write that ‘‘there is no more serious business than
remembering, acknowledging, and protecting the awareness that there is an inherent
sacred bond and responsibility between human beings and nature’’ (p. 215). Those
interested in the intersection of literary studies and ecopedagogy may find many of
the exercises in this model useful for their classroom goals.
Action/application phase
Mazza sees value in having clients choose their own poem for further exploration and
this can work for students as well. The act of choosing is a form of expression that is
open even to students who are not artistically inclined. Once students have become
comfortable with responding to poems on a personal level and examining their
responses, they can select their own poem that carries meaning for them. This
process of selection is something nearly everyone can relate to since nearly everyone
has had some kind of profound experience with a poem or work of art at some point
in their lives. Typically one would limit students to poems covered during the course,
so it is important to provide a large and varied set of options. By choosing their own
texts and then writing about their unique experiences of them, students enact a kind
of creative agency that moves them closer to becoming creators themselves, which is
what they ultimately become in the final, creative phase of this model.
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This action/application phase employs exercises based on Alvin Mahrers
experiential therapy and Richard Kopps metaphor therapy. Through these exercises,
students locate an intense personal response to their chosen poem. They respond
through the three orders of experience, explore personal associations, and engage
creatively with their chosen text. They move on to analyze these emotional,
imaginative, and creative responses. Here, they gain personal insights and deeper
self-awareness on an internal and social level. Finally, students complete both
exercises by applying their new insights to their lives. Both of these exercises are
designed to achieve change in the individual.
Experiential therapy exercise
Alvin Mahrers experiential therapy provides a model through which we may use
poetry as a vehicle to explore personal emotional experience in the context of a
poetry class. This model, however, goes beyond emotional experience to include
memory and associations, as well as creative expression, serving the goal of bringing
about personal renewal or a new sense of self. Mahrers sessions have several
attributes that make them applicable to the classroom and ideal for our goals in the
teaching of poetry. Mahrer believes in the personal construction of the external
world*that the way we, as humans, experience the world largely depends on our
imagination or our fantasies. Experiential sessions involve creative activity so that a
new self emerges with a more positive and profound image of self and of external
Mahrers sessions are not grounded in any particular theoretical framework,
though they are consistent with the goals of poetry therapy. These sessions are each
independent and, ideally, each lead to a gained sense of renewal. This makes them
useful in achieving therapeutic benefits with students during the relatively short time
span of a semester. These sessions can be done in any setting or context. Mahrer
even suggests that they may be done independently without the therapist (or
teacher), which is helpful because teachers rarely have the capacity to give students
the kind of in-depth personal attention that most forms of therapy require. The
following exercise is heavily based on Mahrers four step experiential model, which
he presents most succinctly in Becoming the Person You Can Become (2002). In this
classroom model that follows, the order of Mahrers steps is altered; the classroom
model is also expanded to six steps and transformed into a writing exercise. This
exercise tends to work best as a homework assignment, though the instructor may
want to give some guidance beforehand. Doing it during class time can help make it
more structured, but most students find it more comfortable to do outside of
the classroom setting. The teacher may want to go through and explain each step
before assigning it. However, sometimes less explanation, though it may frustrate
some students, leads to surprising, positive results.
Mahrers premise is that people generally function in their lives with ‘‘operating
potentials for experiencing,’’ but rarely seek their ‘‘deeper potentials for experien-
cing.’’ Experiential therapy seeks to discover ones deeper potential for emotional
26 T. O. Williams
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experience in particular, but also encourages one to locate creative potentials. In
Mahrers first step, the subject should locate a scene of intense emotion. Mahrer
makes this scene the focus of the session rather than the therapist or client. Mahrer
suggests using either a scene from real life or an intense dream, but because the
session can start from or jump off from any scene of intense emotion, a poem that
one experiences intensely can serve in this capacity.
To begin, each student chooses a poem that serves as the focal point throughout
the entire exercise. Once the poem has been chosen, students try to isolate the exact
moment of intense emotion*the exact stanza or couplet within the poem where they
experience the most intense feelings. Students, as they focus in, should try to get
outside of themselves in order to discover something deeper, beyond their operating
potentials for experiencing. They should imagine themselves within the scene of the
poem as if they were the central character in the poem or an actor in a performance of
it. As they continue to penetrate the exact moment of peak feeling in the poem, they
should narrow the moment down even further to a specific word or phrase where the
visceral experience of the poem grows most intense. It does not matter at this point
what the quality of the feeling is, only where the reader quantitatively feels most
intensely. Students will write their selected word or phrase at the top of their paper.
As students continue on to step two, it is important to remain with the
experience uninterrupted. Students should continue to penetrate and intensify the
deeper experience of the poem. In their minds, they should begin to fill in details
associated with the experience like mental images and memories. Students should
keep in mind that this is meant to be an enjoyable exercise. Locating this deep, rarely
sought after potential for experiencing should be both positive and exhilarating even
if the focal experience is painful or negative.
Step two of Mahrers process involves ‘‘welcoming and accepting the deeper
potential for experience’’ located, but not defined, in step one. In Mahrers sessions,
participants act out and talk through the activities in this and the following two steps
but, for the purposes of the classroom, it is done as a writing exercise. Students begin
by naming and describing in writing the deeper experience located in step one*
whatever they feel, think, envision, or experience through the most intense moment
of the poem. The goal is to integrate the experience by bringing it into language. As
they write, students should admit both their positive and their negative reactions to
the experience, so that they may come to recognize the complexity of their emotions
and reactions. Often, for example, a strong sense of fear and panic linked with a
negative experience can also give rise to a feeling of courage or inner strength*a
deeper potential*that comes from facing the experience unflinchingly. Here,
students begin to explore personal memories and relationships associated with their
intense experience of the poem that can bring up potentially painful feelings.
Students continue by describing or discussing people they know who might
exemplify, or whom they associate with, this experience. They recall times in their
lives when they felt this experience or something close. Finally, they consider this as a
deeper, new potential in themselves by asking how this quality of experience is not
them or does not match how they see themselves or how others see them.
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The final four steps deal in imagination and fantasy but remain deeply rooted in
personal experience. The prompts in these steps are similar to those in creative
writing exercises. Students learn through these prompts to locate and be their
creative, renewed selves open to broader possibilities and deeper potentials that they
can realistically apply to their lives. This model rearranges and expands on Mahrers
model in order to better fit the purposes of the classroom.
In the third step, students are asked to inhabit the poem. They write a scene
where they are the speaker of or a character in the poem experiencing the scene of the
poem as the speaker does but also as themselves. Again, it may be useful for students
to think of themselves as actors trying to take on another character by relying on their
own experiences. This is similar to the empathy exercises from the supportive/
empathic phase of the larger classroom model where students must write from the
perspective of another. Here, students will strengthen their connection to the object
within the poem*speaker, poet, or character*that gave rise to the intense
experience. Again, the perspective they write from is both them and not them.
Whether students write themselves as the speaker of the poem or a character in the
poem, their focus should remain on their deep experience as they recreate the scene
of the poem through this new perspective. They are the character experiencing
the intense emotion, but within the context laid out in the poem.
This and the fantasy scenes that follow may be done from any grammatical
person (first, second, third) or in any format (prose fiction, dramatic scene,
expressive poem). Again, we should remind students that this should be a fun and
free exercise.
In step four, students will now ‘‘be the deeper potential for experiencing in a
past scene.’’ Students should find a specific real-life scene from their past where they
either came close to this experience evoked by the poem or where this experience was
strikingly absent*appropriate or even preferable but not present. This step some-
times evokes painful memories and may not be appropriate for all classroom settings.
However, even though these past scenes sometimes prove painful, students are given
the opportunity to act in them playfully in such a way that aims to repair negative
feelings. Students will be in their past scene, again, as if replaced by a character or
actor who exemplifies the deeper potential for experiencing discovered through the
poem*a character both me and not me. Students should write, creating their own
fantasy where they play out this real-life past scene with the me/not me character in
their place. Students may try to make this a corrective fantasy or just an absurd and
funny one that greatly exaggerates the deeper potential experienced in the past
scene*or whatever; it is up to them.
Step five asks the student to apply their gains and practice ‘‘being the qualitatively
new person in the new world.’’ Staying in the me/not me character, students create
another fantasy scene where they play this character in a likely future scene*
something that they anticipate taking place in their real life. This might
be something they are looking forward to or something they are anxious about.
Though this scene is realistic and likely to occur in some form in the future, this
exercise is a complete fantasy; anything can happen. Ideally, the discovery of a deeper
potential will allow one in the future scene to face down fears or repair an important
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relationship, or it may simply providea more intense experience of the scene, broadening
and deepening the potential for experience. At the end of the exercise, now that students
have enacted this new potential in fantasy, they will hopefully consider how they might
carry, use, or be this new person of deeper potential for experience in real life.
Once again engaging their imagination and their connection to this deeper
experience, students follow up with a sixth step where they create a character sketch
of their me/not me fantasy character from the first five steps of the exercise. They
describe, in writing, how their character walks or talks, what they look like, how they
carry themselves, how they interact with others, their general attitude or demeanor,
what quirks they might have, where and in what situations they feel most
comfortable, and where and how they are most likely to excel. This follow-up helps
to give students a clearer image of their new potential and what they can achieve with
it. It also continues to strengthen their connection with their deeper potential. As
they accomplish these things, they will likely gain a clearer picture of how to apply
this deeper potential within them to their lives in a positive and constructive way.
After having completed this exercise, the vast majority of students acknowledge
it as a positive experience. Through engagement in a poetic text, this exercise leads
many to gain awareness on various levels. Some students discover, through poetry,
newfound inner strength or a new level of self-confidence that they can apply to
relationships and other interactions in the social world. Some discover a deeper sense
of compassion or empathy. From these newfound discoveries of their emotions or
desires, some students realize new goals for themselves or envision previously
unimagined potential futures. This exercise allows some to reevaluate where they are
in their lives in comparison to where they want to be. For some, this exercise provides
a helpful means through which to cope with negative experiences, especially death
and other personal losses. It allows students to reevaluate relationships. It allows for a
cathartic release of negative emotions or stress-inducing concerns. It also allows
students to have fun and live out whatever wild fantasies they can come up with while
giving them insights into their own imaginations.
Metaphor therapy exercise
Another useful exercise derives from Richard Kopps model of metaphor therapy.
This model focuses mainly on personal images, but involves the integration of all
three orders of experience. The basic premise of metaphor therapy is that human
beings structure their reality metaphorically. Kopp (1995) writes, ‘‘Metaphors are
mirrors reflecting our inner images of self, life, and others’’ (p. xiii). These metaphors
are key to achieving awareness and change. In order to achieve renewal of self, Kopp
explains, one must restructure ones mental imagery*ones metaphors. Metaphor
therapy seeks to bring about change by raising awareness of both internal and
external reality, and by integrating the orders of experience through metaphoric
language and imagery.
Metaphor therapy, like a number of other therapeutic approaches, stresses
individual creativity. Kopp (1995) sees metaphor as ‘‘the root of creativity and
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openness of language’’ (p. 93). Metaphors, as the primary vehicle of poetic language,
bridge the gap between visual imagination and verbal expression. They help
individuals express things beyond normal language through the creation of verbal
images. Kopp explains that ‘‘the metaphor-maker [or, we might say, the poet] draws
out of his or her creative imagination an image that resembles a pattern of meaning
present in a specific situation to which the metaphoric image refers’’ (p. 96).
Through exploring metaphor in poetry, not only do readers gain deeper awareness,
but they can achieve a sense of openness by escaping the normal confines of
traditional linguistic expression. Kopp writes, ‘‘Imaginal cognition is essential to the
creation of new ways of looking at things’’ (p. 96). When bringing the image into the
verbal, people can express something new and liberating through metaphor.
Kopp divides the process of metaphor therapy into seven steps that should be
followed loosely. Again, the exercise below transforms a therapeutic approach that
engages in poetic language into a writing exercise appropriate for the literature
classroom. One major difference between this classroom approach and Kopps
approach as a therapist is that while he stresses using client-generated metaphors as a
focus, this approach asks students to locate a metaphor in a poem that they relate to
in terms of their view of, or relation to, self, life, or other. While this may not serve
quite the same therapeutic purpose, using a poets metaphor as opposed to deriving a
personal one offers a degree of separation that may be more appropriate or
comfortable in an academic setting.
The first step simply involves the location of the metaphor. Students choose a
metaphor from their chosen poem to explore more deeply. The poetic metaphor may
be a few words or an extended conceit that lasts the length of a poem; either could
potentially work, though a smaller focus may be preferable since students will expand
the metaphor themselves during the exercise. It may also be more useful, though not
necessarily, for students to choose a metaphor that they relate to negatively or that
they associate with negative emotions, as they will be transforming or reimagining it.
Once the metaphor is located and copied down on paper, students will describe
in writing their mental image of the metaphor. During this second step, they
transform the poets verbal metaphor into their own unique and personal mental
image. Then they describe their mental image of the metaphor, the picture it brings
up in their minds, in their own words. At this stage, students should just focus on
describing the image itself without making a relation to their lives or any real
situations. It helps to have students do these first two steps independently with
various poems several times in classes leading up to the metaphor therapy exercise in
order to get them familiar with how verbal metaphors bring up images in the mind.
Such practice also gets them accustomed to noticing and working with metaphors
before going through all seven steps of the exercise.
In step three, students will creatively expand on the mental image described in
step two. Kopp (1995) suggests a number of ways that one may do this. One can
expand on the scenery and the action of the image by describing what else is
happening in the mental scene. One can bring in other imaginary sense impressions
beyond the visual*hearing, smell, touch, taste. Lastly, one can expand on the time
frame of the image by exploring what happened before and what happens after the
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mental scene (pp. 78). This step engages the imagination more deeply while also
giving students good practice in descriptive writing.
In the next step, students shift from the imaginative to the emotional order by
describing ‘‘feelings and experiences associated with the metaphoric image’’ (Kopp,
1995, p. 8). By the end of this step, students have engaged all three orders*
language, image, emotion*around a specific poetic metaphor.
Step five is key in terms of transforming the image in order to ultimately achieve
a sense of personal renewal. Now, students go beyond simply recording their images
and emotions to taking control of them. Working with the expanded image of the
metaphor created in step three, students consider how they would alter this image or
narrative to make it more favorable to them. For example, if their mental image was
of someone drowning, they might alter the image to that of someone being rescued
or swimming to safety. Students are encouraged to produce a corrective fantasy,
taking potentially negative images and putting them in an idealized form, or making
positive images even more positive. This step allows students to create something
new and better out of their images and gets them to break away from their set ways of
In the final two steps, students come ‘‘out of the domain of metaphoric
imagination, back across the metaphoric bridge,returning to the domain of logical
discourse and the external world of everyday life and literal meanings’’ (Kopp, 1995,
p. 11). These two steps get more specifically personal by asking students to examine
what their chosen metaphor represents to them in their lives, and how they might
apply their alteration/idealization of the metaphor to their lives. In step six, students
make explicit this connection between the metaphor they explored in steps one
through four and their real life. Here, they write about why they relate to their chosen
metaphor and what the metaphor represents to them in terms of their self, life, or
relationships. In the seventh and final step of the exercise, students relate the
changed image or narrative they reimagined in step five to the real-life situation
described in step six. They apply their altered image to how they might alter
something in their lives.
This exercise encourages students to personally relate to poetic metaphors. This
exercise can also help in raising awareness on various levels (self, other, reality),
particularly in terms of examining ones personal mental images. Lastly, this exercise
encourages openness and change through the alteration or expansion of mental
images. Kopp (1995) explains, ‘‘Instead of being imprisoned in the current
metaphoric reality reflected in a particular metaphor or early memory metaphor,
the client is freed by changing the metaphor, which can result in a change in the
clients perception of reality’’ (p. 107). Like the experiential exercise, students
generally find this to be a positive experience. By engaging the poetic imagination,
students create a more ideal image of self, life, or other and then relate it to their
own lives.
At the conclusion of this action/application phase, students write a personal
essay where they discuss and examine their relationship to the chosen poetic text.
They are welcome to draw from the experiential and metaphor exercises or any other
class activities. In the essay, they should have some kind of central focus, similar to a
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thesis. They might make their focus about how the poem helped them cope with
something, how it helped them gain awareness, how it guided them toward new
goals, or how it inspired them in some way. They will discuss their reactions to the
poems in the three orders, discuss personal associations and memories that the poem
brought up and analyze themselves through their experience of the poem. The
personal essay allows students to take their gains from this poetry therapy model and
put them into a structured linguistic format.
Creative phase
In the final phase, the creative agency established during the earlier phases is pushed
further when students respond to their chosen poems with their own creativity. For
their final project, students take their chosen poem that they have a strong response
to, whether it is an emotional, associative, inspirational, or vividly imaginative
response, and they create something artistic to express their response. Students can
write a poem of their own or the possibilities for the creative project can include any
artistic medium (though collecting and returning larger projects can become a task).
In the semesters that I have opened up the possibilities for the response, students
have responded by taking an astonishing variety of approaches. In a recent class,
projects included the following: photo collages done on computers or with scissors
and glue, paintings and watercolors, pencil and charcoal sketches, a homemade
product package, a clay sculpture, a bead sculpture, foam sculptures, a computer
slide-show, films of various sorts including an animation, a comic strip, a pamphlet,
letters to poets, and several excellent poems. At the end of the creative project,
students again engage in self-reflection. They are required to include a brief written
explanation of the project that talks about why they chose the poem, what their
project means to them, and how it engages with the poem.
Mazzas brief poetry therapy, Hyness bibliotherapeutic process, Mahrers
experiential therapy, and Kopps metaphor therapy all promote greater self-
awareness while allowing for and encouraging the imagination of a new self. The
classroom model presented above applies these therapeutic benefits to students of
poetry. Poetry provides a vehicle through which students can delve into emotional
and imaginary experience in order to enrich their lives. Of course, it is difficult for
teachers to judge when and to what degree an encounter with poetry gives rise to a
genuinely intense experience and when that experience leads to personal change. It
certainly does not happen with every reader and every poem. We can see this change,
however, when students write about their encounter with a poem and discuss how
change occurred in them, or when their poem leads them to create something
thoughtful and imaginative in response. A therapeutic approach to poetry in the
classroom allows students to deeply experience and to examine the profound effects
that poetic texts can have on them. I have witnessed the success of this approach in
the many students who have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to explore their
identities through poetry in this way.
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Furman, R. (2005). Using poetry and written exercises to teach empathy. The Jour nal of Poetry Therapy
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Holland, N., & Schwartz, M. (1975). The Delphi seminar. College English 36(7), 789800.
Hunter, D., & Sanderson, S. (2007). Let mother earth wrap her arms around you: The use of poetry and
nature for emotional healing. The Journal of Poetry Therapy 20(4), 211218.
Hynes, A. M., & Hynes-Berry, M. (1986). Bibliotherapy*The interactive process: A handbook. Boulder,
CO: Westview Press.
Klein, P., & Longo, P. (2006). Therapeutic implications of poetic conversation. The Journal of Poetry
Therapy 19(3), 115125.
Kopp, R. R. (1995). Metaphor therapy: Using client-generated metaphors in psychotherapy. New York:
Mahrer, A. R. (2002). Becoming the person you can become. Boulder, CO: Bull Publishing.
Mazza, N. (2003). Poetry therapy: Theory and practice. New York: Brunner-Routledge.
Wordsworth, J., & Wordsworth, J. (Eds.) (2005). The Penguin book of romantic poetry. New York:
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... 诗歌疗愈是指使用特定的语言、 象征和故事来达到干预效果、 教育意义或者团队建设性的目的 (Mazza, 2012)。美国心理学家阿瑟·勒内说:"诗歌在治疗过程中是一种工具而不是一种说教"(杜浩,2017)。 但以往的研究中,对于诗歌的疗愈机制鲜少被提及。诗歌的疗愈机制可能来源于诗歌可以有效改变创伤 者的认知方式,从而对创伤者的心理状态进行有效的干预。 尽管在应用层面诗歌疗愈一直都占有一席之地 (Alfrey et al., 2021),但直到 20 世纪 80 年代,诗歌疗 愈才有了长足的发展 (Mazza & Hayton, 2013),使它成为基于表达艺术治疗领域中一个较为年轻的分支 (Heimes, 2011)。 诗歌疗法的应用十分广泛,其应用场景包括心理健康诊所 (Schwietert, 2004)、精神病院干预 (Danila et al., 2018;Johnson, 2017)、社区 (Sjollema & Hanley, 2014)、监狱 (Rothman & Walker, 1997)和学校 (Sassen, 2012)。诗歌疗法可以改善的病症也多种多样,包括治疗各种心理健康困难、建立心理韧性 (Tegnér, Fox, Philipp, & Thorne, 2009)、发展共情 (Ingram, 2003)、改善认知 (Danila et al., 2018;Levine-Madori, 2007)、预 防心理与行为问题 (Esterling, L'Abate, Murray, & Pennebaker, 1999)、风险评估 (Sharlin & Shenhar, 1986;Stirman & Pennebaker, 2001)、社区创伤中的意义形成 (Whitworth, 2017)以及支持青少年发展 (Kloser, 2013;Williams, 2011)。同样值得注意的是,诗歌经常被用来补充其他形式的心理治疗,特别是基于正念的方法 (Shapiro, 2001);形成基于正念的认知疗法 (Segal, Teas-dale, Williams, & Gemar, 2002)和基于正念的减压 (Santorelli, Kabat-Zinn, Blacker, Meleo-Meyer, & Koerbel, 2017 ...
... Finally, a review of research on poetry therapy in a K-12 setting from the past decade indicated that although the intervention was implemented in U.S. schools, it was primarily positioned as an educational tool to support learning or the exploration of personal experiences in a classroom setting (Arenson & Kretschmer, 2010;Nicole Bacon, 2018). While this latter use engages students in self-reflection, poetry therapy was characterized less as a formal counseling intervention and more to advance learning (Williams, 2011). This stands in relative contrast to the targeted, structured mental health interventions of the other CAT modalities identified above. ...
Recently there has been an expansion of the literature on creative arts therapy (CAT) interventions in the United States (U.S.) school system. However, findings across studies in the field have yet to be systematically investigated on a national level. The present review is an integrative systematic review of empirically evaluated CAT intervention studies in U.S. schools from the past decade. This synthesis seeks to advance CATs in schools' evidence base and increase research and practice throughout the U.S. Three online databases were searched alongside a manual review of relevant journals. Inclusion criteria required studies to feature a CAT modality, implementation in a U.S. K-12 school during the school day, and an empirical methodology. The systematic search yielded a total qualifying sample of six studies. General findings indicated that across studies, targeted improvement in psychosocial and behavioral domains was achieved, suggesting that CATs hold major promise due to their ecological responsiveness and versatility. Although the current scope of empirically evaluated CAT interventions in U.S. schools is minimal, findings suggest encouraging avenues for formulating a useful research trajectory and advancing practice. Further research recommendations for the promotion of CATs in schools are provided and situated within the school mental health literature.
... In addition, Williams (2011) argued that ''poetry offers students the opportunity to increase their self awareness by helping them examine their experiences in terms of emotions and mental images as well as language'' (p. 17). ...
Full-text available
Empathy is a familiar term in social work and it is considered to be a crucial ingredient in therapeutic helping. The primary aim of a recent classroom-based inquiry was to explore the concept of empathy with second year social work students studying at a regional Australian university. The use of haiku as a creative writing approach to explore empathy is identified. The findings reveal a number of client contexts that might hinder students' empathy, with the most frequently identified context being family violence and child abuse. It is concluded here that cultivating empathy in social work education is a necessity and the use of creative writing can assist in this endeavour.
Full-text available
Studies have found that engaging with poetry through poetry rea­ding helps individuals develop positive outlook in life and cope with difficult experience. Poetry has a unique ability to express complex emotions, making it useful for building resilience. This study aims to explore how poetry especially Islamic poetry could serve as a cultural resilience strategy during the pandemic. Cultural resilience refers to the unique way cultural backgrounds such as values, norms, supports, langu­age, and customs can help facilitate an individual or a community to overcome adversity (Clauss-Ehler, 2004). This present study employed reader-response method, involving 21 student-readers who attended Poet­ry class at Sultan Agung Islamic University, Indonesia. The class was conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Three plague-themed Islamic poems were introduced in the poetry reading, such as: The Cholera (1974) by Al-Malaika, The Black Death Plague (1348) by Ibn al-Wardi, and The Night Visitor (c.960) by Al-Mutannabi. This study found that reading poetry positively affected students who have genuine interest in aesthetic reading. The enjoyment in poetry reading could serve as a protective factor for the readers through three major mechanisms: a reminder to the Islamic concept of qadr or preordainment, the consciousness cultivation of pandemics as a shared experience, and the development of empathy out of those experiences. Keywords: Cultural Resilience, Covid-19 Pandemic, Islamic Poetry, Plague, Readers’ response. ABSTRAK Studi menunjukkan bahwa penghayatan puisi dapat membantu individu mengembangkan pandangan positif dalam hidup dan mengatasi pengalaman sulit. Puisi memiliki kemampuan unik untuk mengungkapkan emosi yang kompleks, sehingga berguna untuk membangun resiliensi. Studi ini bertujuan untuk mengeksplorasi bagaimana puisi khususnya puisi Islami dapat menjadi strategi ketahanan budaya di masa pandemi. Ketahanan budaya mengacu pada cara unik berlatar belakang budaya seperti nilai, norma, dukungan, bahasa, dan adat istiadat dapat mem­bantu memfasilitasi individu atau komunitas untuk mengatasi kesulitan (Clauss-Ehler, 2004). Penelitian ini menggunakan metode reader-res­ponse, melibatkan 21 mahasiswa-pembaca yang mengikuti kelas Puisi di Universitas Islam Sultan Agung, Indonesia. Kelas diadakan selama pandemi Covid-19. Tiga puisi Islam bertema wabah diperkenalkan dalam pembacaan puisi tersebut, seperti: The Cholera (1974) oleh Al-Malaika, The Black Death Plague (1348) oleh Ibn al-Wardi, dan The Night Visitor (c.960) oleh Al -Mutannabi. Studi ini menemukan bahwa membaca puisi berdampak positif bagi siswa yang memiliki minat dalam membaca este­tika. Kenikmatan membaca puisi dapat menjadi faktor pelindung bagi pembacanya melalui tiga mekanisme: pengingat akan konsep Islam tentang qadr atau takdir, penanaman kesadaran akan pandemi sebagai pengalaman bersama, dan pengembangan empati dari pengalaman tersebut. Abstrak: Ketahanan Budaya, Pandemi Covid-19, Puisi Islami, Respon Pembaca, Wabah.
Poetry therapy is a promising but heterogeneous and under-evidenced form of creative arts therapy. Theories of change have been proffered but are model-specific and poorly evidenced in the empirical literature. The aim of this paper, then, was to provide a united understanding of how poetry therapy operates to guide future research and practice. To do this, empirical literature exploring mechanisms of poetry therapy across theoretical traditions was systematically retrieved, reviewed, and synthesised. A systematic search of six databases yielded 554 papers, of which 14 met the inclusion criteria, spanning individual and group approaches. Mechanisms and effects were extracted and synthesised into a governing framework and logic model, and stakeholder consultation was used to validate results. In total, 25 primary mechanisms and 54 associated effects were identified. These were synthesised into a logic model characterised by five primary tasks: Engaging, Feeling, Exploring, Connecting, and Transferring (“EFECT”). These tasks were associated with multifarious benefits, apparently impacting cognitive, emotional and behavioural domains. Future research could now seek to test this model empirically. It might then be used to guide a united, rigorous research programme, helping to bring poetry therapy into evidence-based policy and practice.
In this chapter, an argument is made that caring as theorized in care ethics and poetry shares an expansive view of what constitutes knowledge. Furthermore, there is both knowledge and epistemic processes inherent to the experience of poetry that can contribute to richer, more effective care. The chapter begins by establishing the significant role of knowledge in both care and poetry. Quite simply, one cannot care without knowledge and poetry imparts knowledge albeit it seems to be an undervalued form of knowledge. The chapter delves into the tension between particular and general knowledge as well as the nature of tacit knowledge, followed by an exploration of tacit epistemic processes. The conclusion addresses how poetry can instantiate habits of expansive knowledge acquisition.
Competency of poetry writing assessment is one of the significant keys that must be owned by teacher, especially the teacher with poet competency. This research analyzed the poetry teacher’s role in authentic assessment of poetry writing based on Indonesian Senior High School students’ perspective. The data were obtained from Senior High School students of language major in poetry writing class. The characteristics of the poetry teacher were gained based on the teacher’s competency in publishing a national scale-poetry book. This work reveals that according to the student’s perspective, poetry teachers did not involve the students in poetry writing assessment inhibited the authentic assessment of poetry writing. Therefore, the instrument of objective assessment of poetry writing could minimize the student assessment mistake so that the poetry teachers become facilitators as well as mentors in authentic assessment collaboratively undertaken with students.
This paper examines the place of poetry writing in the post-16 English curriculum in Malta. In presenting the results of a small-scale study adopting a mixed methods approach, it explores the views of teachers, students and an influential examiner. The paper proposes that while there seems to be an appreciation of what creative writing can contribute to students' engagement with poetry, there is at the same time a fear that students may not be capable of writing poetry because of a perceived lack of skills and talent. It also concludes that teachers may resist the teaching of poetry writing, because of a lack of professional craft knowledge and pedagogical skill in this domain.
The etiology of Alzheimer's disease is thought to be linked to interactions between amyloid-β (Aβ) and neural cell membranes, causing membrane disruption and increased ion conductance. The effects of Aβ on lipid behavior have been characterized experimentally, but structural and causal details are lacking. We used atomistic molecular dynamics simulations totaling over 6μs in simulation time to investigate the behavior of Aβ(42) in zwitterionic and anionic lipid bilayers. We simulated transmembrane β-sheets (monomer and tetramer) resulting from a global optimization study and a helical structure obtained from an NMR study. In all simulations Aβ(42) remained embedded in the bilayer. It was found that the surface charge and the lipid tail type are determinants for transmembrane stability of Aβ(42) with zwitterionic surfaces and unsaturated lipids promoting stability. From the considered structures, the β-sheet tetramer is most stable as a result of interpeptide interactions. We performed an in-depth analysis of the translocation of water in the Aβ(42)-bilayer systems. We observed that this process is generally fast (within a few nanoseconds) yet generally slower than in the peptide-free bilayers. It is mainly governed by the lipid type, simulation temperature and Aβ(42) conformation. The rate limiting step is the permeation through the hydrophobic core, where interactions between Aβ(42) and permeating H(2)Omolecules slow the translocation process. The β-sheet tetramer allows more water molecules to pass through the bilayer compared to monomeric Aβ, allowing us to conclude that the experimentally observed permeabilization of membranes must be due to membrane-bound Aβ oligomers, and not monomers.
Discusses the similarities between what librarians call activity bibliotherapy and psychotherapists call poetry therapy, and the need for cooperation between these professions. The interactive aspects of bibliotherapy and the need for professional training in this process are emphasized. (CLB)
Blending the healing qualities of both nature and poetry opens up a wealth of therapeutic pathways for the therapist and client. The use of both poetry and nature provides opportunities for connection, insight, structure and healing.
The authors experienced a serendipitous exchange of poems leading to shared examination about poetry as dialogue. This led to designing and coleading a workshop at the National Association for Poetry Therapy, 2005, on poetic conversation. We suggest details about the structure and content of the workshop, and examples of poems to illustrate many different conversations. This article suggests several ways to look at poetry as dialogue: conversation the poet engages in with him or herself, conversations begun by the poet for the reader, poems written directly to or about someone else, between two or more parts of the self, or as a response to another poem. We use the writing of Gregory Orr, Jane Hirshfield, Jack Leedy, and Nick Mazza to illustrate how poetry in conversation leads to compassion, sympathetic identification, and connection. Ultimately, we believe it is these states that underpin the therapeutic value of poetry.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how exercises associated with poetry and bibliotherapy can be useful in assisting faculties of the helping professions teach empathy to their students. A brief exploration of the concept of empathy is discussed. Next, exercises useful in teaching empathy are presented. Finally, a case study of the work of social work students is presented to illuminate uses of exercises for teaching this important concept and skill.
This book describes a method of exploring emotional architecture that combines equal measures of understanding, meditation, and self-guided therapy. With its roots in the humanistic and experiential branches of psychotherapy, this book is an introduction to having experiential sessions, the culmination of the author's lifetime of research, psychotherapy, and teaching. In his decades-long practice, the author, has addressed literally thousands of individuals and professional therapists all over the world. This guide-book is an affirmation of human spirit and individual potential. The four steps to having an experiential session are carefully described and readily accessible, and will help enable readers to feel better about themselves for the rest of their lives. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The open work (A. Cancogni, Trans.)
  • U Eco
Eco, U. (1989). The open work (A. Cancogni, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The Delphi seminar Let mother earth wrap her arms around you: The use of poetry and nature for emotional healing
  • N Holland
  • M Schwartz
Holland, N., & Schwartz, M. (1975). The Delphi seminar. College English 36(7), 789Á800. Hunter, D., & Sanderson, S. (2007). Let mother earth wrap her arms around you: The use of poetry and nature for emotional healing. The Journal of Poetry Therapy 20(4), 211Á218.