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Reading and writing for well-being: A qualitative exploration of the therapeutic experience of older adult participants in a bibliotherapy and creative writing group

Malyn, Brianna O.; Thomas, Zoe; Ramsey-Wade, Christine E.

Authors

Brianna O. Malyn

Zoe Thomas Zoe2.Thomas@uwe.ac.uk
Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology



Abstract

This study provides a qualitative exploration of the therapeutic mechanisms occurring within three community-based reading and writing for well-being groups attended by older adults, located in a city in England. Whilst it is increasingly accepted that community-based participatory arts programmes can contribute to health and well-being (Clift, 2012), research in this area has tended to focus on the visual and performing arts, with less attention given to literary interventions. This study aims to develop a deeper understanding of the therapeutic mechanisms occurring within these groups which facilitate well-being, with the objectives of (a) enhancing practitioners' ability to effectively implement such interventions and (b) contributing to the development of a strong theoretical base from which such interventions can be meaningfully evaluated. Twelve individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted for this study and analysed using thematic analysis, following the guidelines of Braun and Clarke (2006). Four overarching themes were developed through the analysis. These are expressed through a relational framework as follows: ‘Relationship to self’, ‘Relationship with others’, ‘Relationship with facilitator’ and ‘An intermediary object’. It is concluded that community-based bibliotherapy and therapeutic creative writing groups support well-being in older adults by providing a unique space in which participants feel acknowledged, accepted, challenged and inspired. Future research should focus on the efficacy of the intervention for reducing social isolation and loneliness. Practice implications for traditional group and individual therapies are also discussed.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
Print ISSN 1473-3145
Electronic ISSN 1746-1405
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Malyn, B. O., Thomas, Z., & Ramsey-Wade, C. E. (in press). Reading and writing for well-being: A qualitative exploration of the therapeutic experience of older adult participants in a bibliotherapy and creative writing group. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12304
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/capr.12304
Keywords Bibliotherapy, poetry therapy, creative writing, participatory arts, helpful factors, older adults

Files

This file is under embargo until Feb 15, 2021 due to copyright reasons.

Contact Christine.Ramsey-Wade@uwe.ac.uk to request a copy for personal use.






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