Writing for Healing – Social Emotional Tools for Adolescents

February 15th, 2016

by Bonnie Cardell

Often we hold our stress, our emotions and our deeper feelings about our self and life at bay in order to function and meet the expectations of the world around us. In grief work we learn that the ‘backpack’ of grief can become full over time and a single event can unravel us if we haven’t given each singular event its attention due. Stress acts very similarly – building and compounding underneath the surface until one last straw or singular event, “breaks the camel’s back.” We may experience these moments as nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, the beginning of the onset of depression, urges to self-harm or any number of personal experiences which can appear much larger than life – in the moment – due to the compounded nature of the events themselves and the build up of the underlying stress.


Teens experience stress every day: grades, tests, peer pressure, bullying, hormonal changes, and self-judgment around body image. Writing can be used as a social-emotional tool for introspection into these multiple layers of stress. Learning to address the stress through writing can help let steam off the kettle. After decreasing the pressure, sharing can be a next natural step if it feels right. Or simply revisiting our writing from time to time can bring new perspectives to past events and highlight deeper meaning to our personal struggles. Symbolic writing, automatic writing, poetry and journaling – are just a few of these writing tools, which are easy to introduce into our self-care practice and can last a lifetime. A regular writing practice can be a positive outlet for our most inhospitable guest – stress.


Bonnie Cardell, MFTI is offering safe, confidential group settings for adolescents to explore the process of writing for healing and to work through some of these identified stressors together. Teens who attend this six-hour workshop may be surprised to learn others share similar underlying concerns. They may also discover how stress uniquely affects them and what part of this process is universal to us all. Through group exercises, journaling and dream analysis the workshop is designed to explore messages from the inner psyche and expound upon some of the content, which is revealed through the writing. Using writing as a vehicle to share can also take the fear out of the ‘talk therapy process.’ The premise to “writing for healing” is to learn to use writing as a tool for self-reflection, self-analysis and self-care, enabling a window into a deeper stream of emotions and content we have trouble accessing or incorporating into our daily lives.


Although it may be helpful – one doesn’t need to run a mile or go through years of psychotherapy or meditate an hour per day just to relieve stress. We can do this creatively, practically, gradually and on an as per needed basis. We can also turn this into a long-term ritual practice, which reaps some of the same benefits as exercise, meditation and therapy. And most importantly, it can be fun!


For More Information about WRITING GROUPS coming up in 2016 see:

Groups And Workshops for Flyer – or – Contact Bonnie Cardell directly:



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