Writing to Heal, Writing to GrowSM classes are intended for any adult, regardless of age or writing experience, who wants to explore writing as a medium for recording life's journey. Many students enjoy taking these courses again and again to write on the different homework topics, which change frequently, and to reread the lecture material from a different perspective as life changes occur.
Whether you want to better understand the events in your life, create a written account to leave to your children, revisit the past, or heal emotional wounds, the writing that we do at this site will guide you in a direct yet gentle way. Writing our stories frees up buried emotions and thoughts, giving rise to revelations about how we have lived our lives.
How has a situation or a relationship changed you? How have you developed as a result of the experience you are writing about? What have you learned from the events in your life? Look truthfully at your life: don't just tell a story, but make sense of it, too.
The writing courses at Writing to Heal, Writing to GrowSM are based on research which shows that writing deep thoughts and feelings about stressful events helps some people to heal, both emotionally and physically.
Psychologist James W. Pennebaker, in his book Writing to Heal, cites studies that show that people who wrote about traumatic events, and wrote regularly, made 43% fewer doctor visits and exhibited better health than those who did not. He began studies in the 1980s. Pennebaker's research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. When writing, heart rates slowed, blood pressure dropped and immune systems strengthened.
Right after writing about traumatic events some people feel sad. But long-term, regular writers develop optimism and a general sense of well-being.
In April 1999, researchers showed that symptoms improved in people with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis after they wrote deep thoughts and feelings about stressful events.
Pennebaker's first study of physical reactions to writing spurred many others to test his theory on different populations. Research continues in the area of writing to heal.