Can Writing Poems Help You Deal With the Loss of a Loved One?


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Writing poetry is a positive way to cope with the loss of a loved one. Many psychologists extol the use of writing journals and creating poetry in dealing with depressive disorders and dark periods of life.

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Psychological studies show that writing aids the brain in dealing with and regulating emotions, ultimately leaving the writer in an overall happier and healthier state of mind. Writing poetry as a means of coping with life's difficulties dates back to at least the first century AD, when a Roman physician named Soranus suggested that poetry and drama would be effective methods of treatment for some of his patients. The use of poetry and other types of literature as therapy became more typical in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's, during which time the terms "bibliotherapy" and "poemtherapy" emerged.

Dr. Jack. J. Leedy, a psychiatrist, published a book called "Poetry Therapy" in 1969, after spending 10 years working with a poetry therapy group in Brooklyn alongside fellow psychiatrist Dr. Sam Spector and the group's founder Eli Greifer, who was a poet, pharmacist and lawyer. Since then, the use of poetry therapy has grown widely. The year 1981 saw the birth of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, which provides licenses to poets and bibliotherapists who have completed extensive training and are well-versed in psychology, literature and group dynamics.

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