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Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists

Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists

Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists


This Practitioner Certificate offers qualified therapists and senior trainees the opportunity to learn about principles, practice and applications of Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP). All are welcome – you do not have to have done much creative writing before, only be willing to participate.

We will look at applications and ways of working with writing and creativity, and how these might contribute to therapists’ existing practice, or in their own creative and reflective process and self-care.

The 10 days (5 x 2 days on Fridays and Saturdays) provide a lively and engaging introduction to CWTP theory and practice. Highly experienced tutors combine experiential learning with taught elements and carefully-chosen reading. You will be guided through creative writing and reflection exercises in a supportive and accessible way that is designed to enable all who wish to learn more about this field to participate and develop as practitioners. There will be a reading list and tasks set before and between sessions.


Circumstances permitting, this course is taught at Metanoia Institute in Ealing, London W5. Otherwise the course is taught on Zoom.


The course is suitable for qualified therapists and senior trainees who are interested in learning about Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes and its applications. There will be creative writing activities for students in each learning day as part of the experiential learning.


Day 1 & 2 Friday 26th and Saturday 27th February 2021

Days 3 & 4 Friday 26th March and Saturday 27th March 2021

Days 5 & 6 Friday 23rd  and Saturday 24th April 2021

Days 7 & 8 Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd May 2021

Days 9 & 10 Friday 25th and Saturday 26th June 2021


FACILITATORS (for bios see below)

Fiona Hamilton, Nigel Gibbons, Graham Hartill, Foluke Taylor, Claire Williamson



Early Bird rate (paid in full by 1st February 2021) £1050                    

Metanoia Members £850

Standard rate  £1250                    

Metanoia Members £1050



For further information about joining the Practitioner Certificate in CWTP please contact Cristina Soares at cristina.soares@metanoia.ac.uk



Each workshop includes: writing activities, discussion, theory input, and focus on one CWTP area in relation to therapists’ practice with clients, in supervision, or with themselves for self-support. There will be tasks and reading to do in between sessions. 


Day 1 Introduction to Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes

The first day is an introduction to Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP). Students will identify their learning objectives and find out how this field has evolved. There are examples of applications in different settings, together with some initial theory and research into its effects and uses. We will consider how CWTP overlaps and differs from ‘talking therapies’, taking a look at writing approaches used within therapeutic practices, including letter writing, stories, free writing, and poetry. We will consider best practice when establishing a CWTP group, with a gentle lead-in to our initial writing activities and reflection on them. 

Day 2 Using and Choosing Different Forms in Writing 

CWTP is a holistic practice in which writing attends to physical, intellectual, emotional, and transpersonal experience. Continuing processes from Day 1 to build a CWTP learning group, we will try out different forms of writing and consider what we mean by ‘form’. Varied forms of autobiographical writing enable us to attend to different parts of the self and experience. We will consider perspective and genre, and forms of response to writing, and think about what these offer in terms of containment and freedom for the individual voice, or for collaborative work. 

Day 3 Ways of Working with CWTP in the Counselling Room 

Beginning with Carl Rogers’ ideas on creativity the day will explore how to introduce CWTP activities into the individual space of the counselling room. Issues around directivity/non-directivity will be considered, and the use of writing as a ‘third something’ in the room. Practical examples will include narrative approaches such as Dan McAdam’s Stories We Live By and creative approaches such as Lucia Capacchione’s and Natalie Rogers’ work. 

Day 4 Working with Metaphor and Myth 

Metaphor is embedded in our everyday language and can enable communication of complex multi- levelled experience. Personal and shared myths are used to relate and explain experience and identities. We will look at theory from key texts to highlight ways of working with metaphor and myth, and to inspire students’ writing and reflection. Writing activities will include ‘finding your metaphors’ and ‘stories we live by’. 

Day 5 Working with Characters and Voices 

Creative writing can facilitate access to and expression of different facets of self. By approaching the facets ‘slant’ through characters and voices there is the opportunity for both playful and serious consideration of self and identity, and of our ways of relating to others and environments. We will draw on theory and examples demonstrated by practitioners in different settings. These methods can be applied to is- sues and questions around identity such as gender and ethnicity.

Day 6 Language, Intimacy and Distance 

CWTP involves spending time with language and attending carefully to nuances of voice, register, tone, word choice or word avoidance. These all play a part in the therapist’s practice and by paying attention to chosen expressions as well as the language of written texts such as poems we are able to make conscious choices about the forms of expression we use, and to enhance our ability to tune in to others’. We will look at varieties of language, genre writing and structured poetic form. We will explore how to choose a form with a client to assist with an issue. 

Day 7 A Palette of CWTP Resources 

This day is devoted to expanding on our discoveries and homing in on some of the variety of CWTP methods and approaches that can be employed for particular clients and groups. We will explore how CWTP holds possibility for engaging our different bodies and identities, and our various locations of experience. As well as written and spoken word, CWTP also draws on objects, pictures, music, movement, natural and urban environments, and other materials. Students will try out activities that create space in which possibilities for being — and being with being — are encouraged. They will consider what kinds of activities fit particular situations and also devise their own activity bearing in mind ethics and best practice. 

Day 8 Focusing, Mindfulness and the Writing Space 

The day will include sessions on process approaches in CWTP with particular attention to Focus- ing and Mindfulness. We will do some close observation and contemplative writing activities. We will also explore how creative approaches can help us to understand social graces, ‘filters’ and therapist roles in fresh ways. We will look at a transference issue as part of thinking about how CWTP can aid therapists with self -care and preparation and completion of work with clients.

Day 9 Getting Into Practice 

Our final two days of the Practitioner Certificate course focus on students designing and facilitating CWTP sessions and receiving feedback from peers and tutors. Having considered how they wish to apply their knowledge in individual and/or group work with clients, students prepare sessions drawing on their own interests and aims. We look at what helps facilitators prepare and deliver effective sessions. Through experiencing others’ CWTP work and input from tutors, students further develop their understanding of the range of CWTP activities that can be applied for particular needs. Discussion and reflection identifies processes that consolidate learning on the course. 

Day 10 Demonstrating Competence 

Students have a final opportunity on the course to deliver a CWTP activity, reflect on their practice, and assess their current competence in the field drawing on their own, tutors’ and peers’ input. There will be time to consider how CWTP fits within their own therapy practice and to outline their own ways forward. The group creates a closing activity that embodies and represents understandings of CWTP approaches as we complete the Practitioner Certificate taught course.



Fiona Hamilton is a writer and facilitator specialising in therapeutic writing in healthcare and arts for wellbeing. She is a tutor and research adviser on Metanoia’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes and has extensive experience of working with writing for wellbeing and arts for health, as described in her chapter in Medicine, Health, and the Arts (Routledge, 2013). Current work includes CWTP for refugees and asylum seekers and community groups engaging with themes including mental health and environmental issues and a project on loneliness with students leading to their making short films. At the University of Bristol she teaches Poetry of Medicine to medical students and for NCIM’s Diploma in Integrative Medicine the Arts in Health module. Recent published work includes a play exploring aspects of mental and physical health in the context of music and dance, an episode for the BBC radio series Cornerstones, and a forthcoming article on uses of poetry in medical education.

Nigel Gibbons is a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals, couples, and groups. He is a supervisor and a workshop facilitator using creative writing. He has particular interests in Focusing; the Person Centred approach within arts based therapies, therapy research, and narrative approaches. He is a tutor on the Diploma in Counselling at Network Counselling and Training and with Orchard Foundation, and runs sessions for the Medical Humanities course at Bristol. He facilitates workshops for, amongst others, Cruse and Relate. As a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care he works with groups and individuals. For twelve years he worked for Central TV, the ITV company in the Midlands, as a producer, director and researcher, eventually becoming a head of department. He has made over one hundred factual programmes for ITV, Central and Channel 4. He has published a number of articles and contributed to Writing Routes edited by Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field, and Kate Thompson, and MA2.

Graham Hartill is a writer-in-residence at HMP Parc, Bridgend. In 2013 he was the first writer-in-residence at Swansea University College of Medicine and, with Victoria Field, ran a popular course, Writing in Health and Social Care, for nine years at Ty Newydd, the Writers’ Centre for Wales. He worked for many years for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, as an outreach writer with elderly people and has worked widely in the fields of dementia and mental health. A founder member of Lapidus, Graham has contributed to seminal collections and conferences in the field. Papers include: Poetics of Memory: In Defence of Literary Experimentation with Holocaust Survivor Testimony, with Professor Frances Rapport, in Anthropology and Humanism (2010) and Versions of Events: Lies, Judgments and Poems in Poetry Wales (2017). His latest published poetry is a collaborative translation with Wu Fu-Sheng: Seven Masters of the Jian’an Era for The Commercial Press, Beijing, 2018. Chroma was published by Hafan Books in 2012 and there is a new collection in the pipeline with Aquifer Books.

Foluke Taylor is a Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Writer and Teacher. She has practiced as a therapist in various settings, geographical locations, and forms, over a period of twenty-five years. Currently Foluke is based in London, where she works in education, community development and private practice. Therapeutic practices of creative writing are a particular focus of Foluke’s work with individuals, families and groups. An engagement with Black feminist thought and interest in transdisciplinary scholarship com- bine to support her ongoing explorations of the blended ‘methodologies of fixing’ of therapy, art and activism. Foluke facilitates groups and workshops focused on writing for wellbeing and also teaches on the trauma diploma at the NAOS Institute in London. Her memoir/bio- mythography ‘How the Hiding Seek’, was published in October 2018 and she has contributed chapters due to be published in 2020 by PCCS Books and Confer. 

Claire Williamson has worked extensively using creative writing in therapeutic settings, including bereavement, addiction recovery, new parents, older people and cancer care. Claire’s M-level research explored the life-sustaining effects of writing, and as a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University, she’s studying ‘Writing the 21st Century Bereavement Novel’. Claire is Programme Leader for the well-established MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, the only Masters course in the UK on this subject. Claire has authored a number of book chapters and journal articles (e.g. on working with young people, creative process, a dialogue on the current CWTP field (with Dr Jeannie Wright), and is the author of four published poetry collections, the latest is Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018). 


For further information about joining the Practitioner Certificate in CWTP please contact Cristina Soares at cristina.soares@metanoia.ac.uk


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Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists

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