Poetry for Wellbeing
Poetry has magical properties - the creation of poetry, its memorisation and performance can boost memory, assist cognition, improve morale and confidence, and can help especially in processing traumatic experiences. The process can be transformative for the elderly and service members suffering from combat-related issues.
The Wellness module is primarily aimed at military veterans suffering from PTSD; and residents of senior living communities. Both groups suffer from loneliness, lack of social connection, inability to communicate pain and difficulty in adjusting to changing environments.
The Living Voices project, led by the Scottish Poetry Library, the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Scottish Music Group, has shown that ‘talking, listening, reading and remembering' are powerful ways to gain (and sometimes to regain) pleasure, interest and companionship for older people”, and suggested that using poetry and storytelling in participatory sessions can have profound impact on mental health, bonding and integration into new communities.
Jeffrey Wright, star of Westworld, Source Code, Boardwalk Empire and Casino Royale, has joined with HBO and groups of American military veterans to produce a documentary, ‘We Are Not Done yet’, which shows the huge benefits of using especially poetry in allowing veterans suffering from PTSD to express their trauma in a creative and safe environment.
The course is tailored to suit the context and needs of the participants – they are taken through the process of reflection, production and performance using creative writing, physical exercises and wellbeing techniques to elicit an emotionally truthful response to their experiences.