Conference Programme Saturday

Saturday 13th July 2019

10.00am to 10.30am – Registration

10.30am to 11.00am – Introduction

11.10am to 12:30pm – Choice of:

Research & Sustainability Strand Saturday 1: Poetry Therapy: A Doorway to Understanding and Alleviating Loneliness 

This workshop focuses on ways that facilitated discussion in response to selected poems and the sharing of expressive writing can address and help relieve loneliness caused by a variety of factors. Participants will experience the sense of community that emerges from sharing “origin” poems and from collaborating on a group poem and a poetry movement activity.

Presenter: As a leader in the poetry/bibliotherapy field, psychologist, certified poetry therapist, mentor-supervisor, and humanities professor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN, Geri Chavis has been fostering growth and healing through literature and writing since 1979. She has presented a wide range of workshops in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland and written numerous books and articles. Her most recent book is Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression.

Diversity & Communities Strand Saturday 1: She Howls: Creating Diverse and Inclusive Online Communities

Exploring ‘She Howls’, a pioneering online writing and open mic project for women that is ‘intentionally inclusive, accessible and intersectional’ and why we need to make inclusivity and diversity central to our work, not ‘additional’. Includes an experiential workshop, ‘Love Will Conquer Hate’ and creation of a group manifesto!

Presenter: Dal Kular is a word-activist, professional mentor and writing facilitator studying MSc Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. An escaped Social Worker, she now curates the ‘She Howls’, online community projects and co-edited the fundraising anthology, ‘I Wrote it Anyway’. She writes about poetry, creativity and diversity at

Expressive Arts & Embodied Practice Strand Saturday 1: A Map of Traps, a Quiver of Strengths: Writing for Wellbeing in Somatic Practice

This presentation will explore ways in which writing may be used in the context of a one-on-one holistic process. As a wellness practitioner, how can I incorporate writing so that it will enrich the client’s experience and serve them on their path? We’ll look at options and pitfalls, and experiment with prompts and physical exercises.

Presenter: Elaine Konopka is a somatic practitioner, blogger, and founder of The Attentive Body in Paris, where she teaches body awareness to help people live healthier, more intense lives. She incorporates writing for wellbeing into her sessions and workshops, and recently started a YouTube channel, The Write Thing to Do, offering short, guided prompts for reflective writing.

Why (Not) Writing? Strand Saturday 1:  Finding Oneself in a Different Form

Drawing on Bucci’s referential cycle, this playful experiential session makes a case for the use of images and objects as support for people entering the therapeutic writing process, particularly for those who may find writing unfamiliar, or are unable to write.

If anyone would like a scribe for the workshop, please let Claire know in advance,

Presenter: Claire Williamson is Programme Leader for Metanoia Institute’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. Claire has worked extensively in CWTP for over twenty-five years, including addiction recovery and bereavement. A published writer, Claire latest collection of poems is Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018). Claire is studying for a doctorate in Creative Writing at Cardiff University.

Change and Possibilities Strand Saturday 1: The Moment of Change is the Only Poem

This poetry workshop is a gentle, structured introduction to the inevitability of change. We will use poems and songs as prompts to create reflective and explorative writing on the subject of change as we experience it.

Presenter: Sarah Askew (aka The Pocket Poet) is an award-winning poet and writing for wellbeing enthusiast based in Wiltshire. She has lived with various mental health issues for as long as she can remember, and has always used writing as a therapeutic tool to promote self-awareness and self-expression. She has facilitated writing for wellbeing sessions for groups and individuals of all ages, and also offers a bespoke poetry writing service for those looking to give a personalised poem as a gift. Connect with her at: on Twitter: or Facebook:

12.30pm to 1.30pm – Lunch and Networking

1.30pm to 3.00pm – Choice of:

Research & Sustainability Strand Saturday 2: Between hip-hop and Hippocrates: How rap helped humanize medicine

From Anton Chekhov to Atul Gwande, physician-writers abound in historical and contemporary literature. Why? This talk explores the relationship between writing and the practice of medicine from the perspective of a psychiatrist-in-training and rapper. Presentation of arts-in-health research, personal stories and psychological literature will be interspersed with clinical vignettes in rap explore how writing and performing can impact medicine as patient and clinician.

Presenter: Mandeep Singh (‘mandeep.’) is a medical student and rapper at King’s College London. He explores the intersection between art and healthcare, with a particular focus for this conference on short-story telling through rap. As a curator and advisor for Science Gallery London, a researcher of urban music facilitation in psychiatric services, and having performed at venues ranging from Roundhouse to the Barbican in various bands, he brings perspective on medicine informed by a richly diverse array of activities.

Diversity & Communities Strand Saturday 2: The Yellow Hat Speaks

I will contextualise links between CWTP and access and inclusion. We shall explore and expand on this through a writing workshop based on Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, drawing on the professional experience in the room, capturing a word-and-ideas horde, and laying emphasis on creative solutions.

Presenter: Kate Pawsey is the founder of Writing Time and has an MSc in CWTP from Metanoia Institute. She works in a range of settings including museums and galleries, with women in sheltered housing and with the team at Skanda Vale Hospice. She is writer in residence at The Bakelite Museum.

Expressive Arts & Embodied Practice Strand Saturday 2: Using Olfactory Memory in CWTP – ‘Smells Ring Bells’

I will be using 20 small, un-labelled glass jars containing a wide range of smells, ranging from germylene to gin to geranium. Participants will be invited to smell the contents of the jars, using olfactory memory, within a set of writing exercises, to stimulate creative writing for therapeutic purpose.

Presenter: Jacqui Smith- Over my 60 years, whilst I have been a mother to my twenty-year-old son, I have worked as a clinical biochemist, a sales manager for biochemical equipment, and a psychotherapist for 22 years, using gestalt, formative psychology and mindfulness. For the last 2 years I have been delivering workshops in CWTP, also publishing my ‘HeartWrite’ blog.

Why (Not) Writing? Strand Saturday 2: From PTSD to publication – life after the thin blue line

After 25 years as a soldier and Met police officer, Matt Johnson’s career ended following a PTSD diagnosis. With conventional counselling providing limited help, Matt was introduced to writing therapy. Matt talks about his career, his exposure to trauma and how this therapy helped him on the road to recovery.

Presenter: Matt Johnson is the author of three best-selling crime novels that resulted in his being described by Peter James as ‘a brilliant new name in the world of thrillers’. In 2018 he was voted by WH Smith readers at No.22 in their list of best-ever crime writers.

Change and Possibilities Strand Saturday 2: Glad to be Genderqueer

Non-binary author Leslie Tate talks about the inner journey through alcoholism and near-breakdown into gender fluidity.  On the way, Leslie will describe the healing power of writing and of openly stepping outside gender stereotypes. The session will include a showing of the award-winning film of Leslie’s two-spirit autobiography ‘Heaven’s Rage’.

Presenter: Leslie Tate, socialised male, spiritually female, is a graduate of the prestigious UEA writing school. Marked by ‘difference’ Leslie’s four books examine nonconforming modern relationships.

3.00pm to 3.30pm – Break

3.30pm to 5.00pm – Choice of:

Research & Sustainability Strand Saturday 3: A Panel on Practice for CWTP

In therapeutic and reflective writing, CWTP and poetry therapy there is no set career path and practitioners have to be committed, entrepreneurial and comfortable with uncertainty. We may have ambitions and set ourselves goals or we may simply go with the next good idea – and in the business world, it’s been shown that both approaches are equally successful or unsuccessful. It’s a truism that we live life forward but can only understand it backwards when we might see the patterns. In his poem, The Way It Is, William Stafford describes a thread that we may see running through our life, work and practice.

In this panel, Anne Taylor, Graham Hartill, Rajeshree Sisodia and Victoria Field will give short presentations about their work in the field and each offer a short writing exercise that relates to practice. They will then answer questions from the audience.


Victoria Field works as a writer and biblio-poetry therapist. She is an International Fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University and teaches, trains and presents on therapeutic writing and works in many community settings. She writes poetry, fiction, drama and memoir and has co-edited three books on therapeutic writing.

In the early 80’s Graham Hartill became a mainstay of the burgeoning poetry scene in Cardiff and in the 90s a Scottish Arts Council Bursary enabled his involvement in the Open World Poetics movement in Glasgow. He is a writer in residence at HMP Parc, Bridgend and teaches on the CWTP MSc. His latest publication is The Seven Masters of the Jian’an Era (with Wu Fu-Sheng) published in Beijing.

Rajeshree Sisodia’s love of words and desire to explore neglected issues led to a career in journalism, photography and communications. It remains an important part of who she is, and led her to delve into the exciting potential that fusing CWTP with meditation has on internal landscapes, emotional health and wellbeing.

Anne Taylor is a professional writer, teacher, coach and writing group facilitator. She has many years of experience working as a journalist and copywriter, and as a lecturer in Higher Education. Since securing an MA in Creative Writing and Personal Development from the University of Sussex, she has been running writing groups in a range of health and community settings. She has a special interest in medical humanities and professional development and has published and presented her work on using creative writing with medical students. She is also chair of Lapidus Cornwall and is a trained NAWE/ Arvon Foundation writing coach.

Diversity & Communities Strand Saturday 3: Write what you can’t say to mentors and supervisors

To experiment with finding the hidden wisdom we contain within ourselves through writing and how it connects with reflective practice/supervision; to create a writing space where it feels possible to ‘say’ what it is not easy to say in supervision; to discuss the process of that writing in an ethical and boundaried environment; to acknowledge research in the field of writing for reflective practice.

Presenter: Jeannie Wright ‘supervises’ writers and therapists individually and in groups. Her publications focus on writing for therapeutic purposes and for reflective practice. The second edition of Wright, J.K. (2018) Reflective writing in counselling and psychotherapy  has been well reviewed.

Expressive Arts & Embodied Practice Strand Saturday 3: Write to Freedom: Addiction, PTSD and the healing paths of myth, wild nature and rebuilding the ‘village’

How myth and landscape mirror our inner worlds through story, embodiment and writing, supporting the healing path of PTSD; helping us seed new ‘recovery tribes’. Through spoken-word, discussion and personal inquiry, we’ll explore the meaning of trauma and how to re-emerge into a life free from addiction in all forms.

Presenter: Caspar Walsh has over 20 years’ experience facilitating groups, leading retreats and as a personal guide and mentor. He specialises in nature connection retreats, working with the natural world as a reflective, healing process. He is an author, journalist, founder and Creative Director of the award-winning charity, Write to Freedom.

Why (Not) Writing? Strand Saturday 3: Unheard Voices: Working with the Homeless

This presentation explores the challenges of creativity for wellbeing projects with homeless people, and reflects on logistical and ethical considerations in this field of practice with vulnerable people. The presentation will include a participatory element reflecting on the impact of witnessing other human lives.

Presenter: Lisa Rossetti is a community writer and poetry therapy practitioner, credentialled with the International Federation for Bibliopoetry Therapy (CAPF), and a former Board member of Lapidus International. Much of her work is in mental health and Recovery settings; she also works in the community with Adult Learners. She has provided Words for Wellbeing workshops and Story Cafés to West Cheshire Recovery College, Cheshire Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, and to Chester Literature Festival in 2012.

Change and Possibilities Strand Saturday 3:Wide Margins: Creative writing as space for black imagination.

Being ‘othered’ is an ongoing reality of black experience. When this ‘othering’ becomes the single – or central – story of therapeutic practices or trainings, territories of self and self-exploration are reduced. This workshop is for people of colour. Drawing from bell hooks’ thoughts on marginality as a site of radical possibility and a space of resistance, we will use CWTP to consider how imagination, and specifically creative writing, can be employed to expand possibilities and widen margins. By using texts from across disciplines of black study as entry points into CWTP activities, this workshop aims to open up space, beyond questions of inclusion and diversity to support a more nuanced and less restricted exploration of black experience.

Presenter: Foluke Taylor is a counsellor/psychotherapist and writer currently working in education. As an integrative practitioner, she works with narrative approaches, and employs creative writing as a tool in therapy and research practices. She teaches at the NAOS Institute in London. Her memoir/bio-mythography ‘How the Hiding Seek’, was published in October 2018.

5.00pm to 5.30pm – Plenary

6.30pm to 8.00pm – Evening Meal and Open Mic