Reading and writing for well-being: A qualitative exploration of the therapeutic experience of older adult participants in a bibliotherapy and creative writing group
Objectives: This study utilises a ‘helpful factors’ approach (Elliot, 2010) to explore the therapeutic processes occurring within community-based adult reading and writing for well-being groups in a large city in England. The groups are facilitated by a practitioner with diplomas in psychodynamic counselling, creative writing, and creative writing for therapeutic purposes. The study aims to develop an understanding of the therapeutic and group factors which participants have experienced as being most important in supporting their well-being.
Method: Twelve individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted for this study. Participants were recruited purposively from three reading and writing for well-being groups. By conducting qualitative interviews, the researcher worked to initiate an open dialogue in which participants could freely share their experiences and themes could be developed. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis, following the guidelines of Braun & Clarke (2006).
Results: Four overarching themes and thirteen sub-themes were developed. The overarching themes were named utilising participant quotes that effectively reflected the central organising concept of the theme. Overarching themes were: “Hey look, here I am, this is what I’ve done”, "A space in which you are not only allowed to talk, but also to listen”, "It's a helpful tool that's not invasive, that's not trying to be a cure", and "But I don't want to put him on a pedestal!”.
Conclusions: The potential contribution of this work lies in the hope of expanding access to community-based sources of non-pathologizing support—both for adults who identify as well and those experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems. Reading and writing for well-being groups are a cost-effective intervention that may have the potential to address the socio-political problem that is the scarcity of low-cost mental health services in the United Kingdom. The findings of this research support the findings of prior qualitative research on therapeutic creative writing and bibliotherapy groups (Fair et al., 2012; Dowrick et al., 2012; Gray et al., 2016) whilst additionally making a unique contribution to the literature.
Malyn, B. Reading and writing for well-being: A qualitative exploration of the therapeutic experience of older adult participants in a bibliotherapy and creative writing group. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/866482
|Keywords||Bibliotherapy, poetry therapy, creative writing, expressive writing, helpful factors, process research|
|Additional Information||Additional Information : Supervisors: Zoe2.Thomas@uwe.ac.uk Christine.Ramsey-Wade@uwe.ac.uk|
B. Malyn Final Approved Thesis - Redacted Version.pdf