If you have ever felt like you’re stuck in your own head, it may be beneficial for you to express yourself in an artistic way. This includes the process of writing your thoughts out or going even further and writing a memoir or personal narrative.
Angelique Giron has used writing as a form of healing in her own life and guides others along a similar journey including prompts and ideas to get you started and keep you going.
You can learn more about Angelique and using writing as a tool for healing here:
Tell me about your professional background.
I have a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing and was a high school English teacher for 11 years. I began graduate school for an MCSW, but stopped because it felt too entrenched in a bogged down, outdated system – instead, I focused on becoming a certified coach and getting Write for Healing off the ground in 2014.
What made you want to get into this field?
When I was teaching and in my own experience in writing classes and workshops, I was always drawn to the catharsis and healing that took place in memoir and personal narrative writing. With my students, many of them did not have a safe outlet to express difficult emotions and situations – being able to express and get it out of their mental and physical bodies was a huge relief and then the opportunity to share their work within a group with their peers helped them feel held, loved and seen – less alone than before. I wanted to bring this to more people on a regular basis after seeing its effects in the classroom. And I’m a huge believer in the power of storytelling and writing as a way to connect and make sense of what it means to be alive.
What has been your favorite aspect of this work?
I love helping people find tools that work for them. I’ve been to talk therapy and it is amazing but I know it’s not the only way nor do I think it’s for everyone but people still need the tools to heal and grow. I love that I can provide an alternative or complement to what they are already doing. I also really love when a client tells me I have helped them live the life they want and that they have felt immense relief after working with me. That’s what I want for every single one of us – each of us living the best version of our lives possible and being relieved as the norm instead of on edge and high alert.
Has writing as a form of healing personally helped you? If so, how?
Yes. I write just about every day on a few or more pages. Writing is the only place where I am 100% myself all of the time so my clearest and most unfiltered thoughts are released as I write. I tend to have many a-ha moments while writing and many more gentle reminders of what I already was beginning to know. Even though words are the vehicle, I feel less in my head and thinking brain when I am writing in this way — it helps me get back in my body. When I feel lost or totally on edge, I’ll turn to the page to release some of the emotion and to help me return to my center. As someone who has lived with varying degrees of pain and damage from long term rheumatoid arthritis, this has been one of the ways I’ve coped with the “stuck” emotions that come when I have a flare-up. With writing and other techniques, I rarely have flare-ups these days.
Can you explain what writing for healing is and what a typical session is like from start to finish?
Writing for healing is a way of accessing information and intuitive knowledge and impulses without relying on our logical brain. Think of this type of writing as a stream of consciousness and very little thought, other than a prompt and/or a starting point, is given to what comes out on the page. Generally, for most people, I recommend they write for at least 10 minutes (in my group workshops, we generally write for 20 minutes on one topic) without interruptions and in that time, they are not allowed to edit, pause or think about what comes next — to let the thought that appears be the one that makes it to the page even if it seems it doesn’t make sense (it ALWAYS makes sense after a person is done writing).
Inside of a group session, we generally do 2-3 of these types of prompts that are clustered together in a theme. For example, one session can be centred around how to access feeling more joy and then all the prompts would be tailored around joy and not feeling joy so that a person can access many varying thoughts around joy. Then there is a sharing of responses on a volunteer basis and that often leads to new insights for everyone in the group session.
If it’s an individual session, then I would have the client share what is coming up and then talk about it on as deep of a level as possible (generally with individuals, though, they complete the writing on their own and then inside the sessions, we discuss what has come up in the writing – and their writing prompts are tailored specifically for what they want to be coached on).
What sort of health challenges can this form of writing be effective for and why?
I believe that this can be beneficial to everyone for any health challenge — it helps release some of the tension from the body and to help integrate everything a person is feeling without forcing it to happen. And many people who are ill, especially those with chronic illness, have many of their emotions stuck in their bodies — this is just one powerful way to release them for relief and flow to return back to the body.
I’ve found that most people who enjoy writing in this way and for healing do not overthink as much as they would if they were required to only talk about it. There is safety in writing everything out and knowing that it doesn’t have to all be revealed or even at all if they choose not to do so. This gives people the freedom to be very honest with themselves without considering how it is landing for other people.
Is there a technique in your practice that you have found to be the most beneficial to the people you work with?
The techniques used in my practice are very simple and don’t require any extra knowledge to be able to participate in them, but I do know that there must be a level of trust established before a client is willing to share within the group — I tend to attract introverts so they need that safety and trust before revealing their souls and deepest thoughts to more than just the page or even me. These writing prompts and sessions allow people to see themselves in ways they may have been ignoring and it allows them to be seen by others too. Both are very powerful in being whole and complete.
What is a writing session like from the patient’s point of view?
Many clients have said that they feel extreme relief once they’ve written and a new clarity that they felt they needed once they’ve written — definitely compassion and more tenderness towards themselves (or sometimes others) once they’ve completed a writing prompt releasing judgment (or any other difficult topic).
What would you say to someone skeptical about writing to heal and its effectiveness? How do you approach that?
Honestly, I wouldn’t bother much with anyone who is skeptical. I’m not here to convince anyone of what does and doesn’t work, because I know not all healing modalities are for everyone. If they were, then we’d all be doing the same thing, right? Now if someone is scared to try it but has an interest in seeing if it would work for them, then I’d hold their hand so to speak and walk with them every step of the way to get them to try it. But I certainly would not force this on anyone. Most clients who come to me have already written or are interested in writing in this way.
Besides writing do you have any universal health and well-being tips that you’d like to share?
My best advice to anyone in maintaining and optimizing their well-being is to find what works for you. I believe there are many beautiful and wonderful healing modalities and practices out there to choose from. Some may find they need a few or several to be well and others may only need one. But I do believe strongly in meditation in addition to writing. Meditation feels like an energetic reset to me so that everything else in all of your life has a chance to function at optimal levels.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling, what would it be?
That you are not alone and as scary as it may feel in the moment, to seek out the help that feels best for you — maybe it’s reaching out to a friend who always lifts you up, maybe it’s reading an inspirational book or listening to a personal growth podcast, maybe it’s watching a silly movie that always makes you laugh, maybe it’s reaching out to me or another practitioner to take the leap to get the help you need on an ongoing basis. Take a walk in nature, write in your journal — anything to reconnect to the truth and wholeness of yourself — that you are a divine being whose true nature is love and joy.
What resources would you recommend? (books, podcasts, websites that you’ve found helpful)
My favourite go-to’s for insight and help have been and are the following:
-Anything Abraham-Hicks related (a bunch on YouTube)
-Untamed by Glennon Doyle (book)
-The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram
-Humans of NY website
-Authors and resources from Hay House
-Creative process interviews on YouTube or podcasts: Rick Rubin’s Broken Record podcast, anything from Liz Gilbert — most of these things talk about the process and specific works but there is always healing and the universality of being human and a creative being.
-Fan and air conditioning and the ocean crashing loops on YouTube to meditate (I can’t do guided meditations because focusing on someone’s words is not relaxing)
Writing is an effective tool for releasing stuck emotions because it’s a space where you can be unapologetically yourself and it’s a time when you can truly be alone with your thoughts.
Learn more about Angelique and using writing as a healing tool here:
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