Journal of Poetry Therapy
Geri Chavis, long-time leader in the expressive art of poetry therapy, shares her collected wisdom and experience in Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression. This volume is a significant contribution to the growing literature about the expressive literary arts. A key feature of the book is the author's ability to discuss theory and research, historical antecedents for current poetry therapy, aid readers in exploration of the pros and cons of approaches and selections, and to describe examples and models for use by clinicians and other practitioners... Practitioners who use writing, literary sources, and metaphors in their therapeutic work have a new and wonderful volume to support and expand their efforts. Educators of and coaches for those wanting to learn about the expressive literary arts have a rich, stimulating resource for their efforts. Lovers of literature could pass over all the pages about poetry and story therapy and still get a book of value for the exceptional variety of quotes and references.
This is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in using stories in a therapeutic context. The author's focus is on using a written text or reading aloud from a text rather than oral storytelling however there is still much that is useful for the storyteller. In reading I was reawakened to the potential that stories have to facilitate healing and change lives. Chavis uses stories and poems to work with clients and in the book she outlines how she chooses the texts and works with them. There is a short section on folk and fairy tales and I was interested to read that the author likes to work with client's most memorable story. The reason it is memorable is because it resonates strongly with the client's psyche and can help to reveal aspects that have been suppressed or hidden.
Envisaged as a "primer of poetry therapy"(primarily for readers outside of the United States), this wonderful book thoroughly explores the therapeutic possibilities of poetry and story, as well as considering some wider aspects of creative writing practice. It will be of interest to both students and practitioners of creative arts therapies within the medical and health professions, as well to those working in other settings that use the healing possibilities of creative expression.