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Writing for Wellbeing: Intensive Summer School

This course is currently unavailable for booking

There are currently no upcoming dates available for this course. Be the first to know when new dates are announced by joining the mailing list.

This course explores ways that writing can be used as a toolkit for developing wellbeing strategies, in both personal and professional contexts.

Studied over five Day Schools, this course will introduce you to underpinning theories about why and how writing can be useful for wellbeing.

The course invites you to participate in a wide range of exercises aimed to promote self-awareness and foster a sense of wellbeing, both within live sessions and asynchronous online spaces.

This course is suitable for all with an interest in the topic, regardless of previous writing experience, but may also be useful for professional contexts (such as counselling and healthcare).

The emphasis is on engagement and encouragement within a supportive group environment.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered online through five online Day Schools, made up of workshops, class discussions, and small group work. There will be a mix of live meetings and asynchronous activities.

Details on the platform for delivery will be confirmed closer to the start date.


Topics are likely to include:

Topics will be highly varied and are likely to include:

  • Introduction to Writing for Wellbeing
  • Writing reflectively
  • Writing and mindfulness
  • Writing for self-expression
  • Writing as self-care
  • Writing for self-awareness
  • Writing therapeutically
  • Writing as healing
  • Writing and re-writing life narratives
  • Writing to capture and reclaim memories
  • Writing and reflexivity

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

You will produce a portfolio of written, expressive and reflective work which will demonstrate an understanding of some of the key principles of writing for wellbeing and personal development.

The portfolio (c. 2000 words) will be developed from the work produced during in-class exercises although there is some expectation that learners engage with further written reflection in their own time.

Written work for this module is not graded according to creative writing marking conventions, rather by evidence of engagement with tasks.

Reading suggestions

  • Kathleen Adams (ed), with a foreword by James W. Pennebaker, Expressive writing foundations of practice, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Gillie Bolton, Stories at work: reflective writing for practitioners, London: Elsevier Ltd
  • - 'Every Poem Breaks a Silence That Had to Be Overcome': The Therapeutic Power of Poetry Writing, London: Taylor & Francis Group
  • Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field and Kate Thompson (eds), with a foreword by Gwyneth Lewis, Writing routes a resource handbook of therapeutic writing, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Ashley Chambers, Opening up by writing it down, third edition: How expressive writing improves health and eases emotional pain Abingdon: Routledge
  • Pauline Cooper, Using Writing as Therapy: Finding Identity, London: SAGE Publications
  • Scott Barry Kaufman, James C. Kaufman (eds) The psychology of creative writing Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Stephen J. Lepore, Joshua M. Smyth (eds) The writing cure: how expressive writing promotes health and emotional well-being, Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association
  • Nicholas Mazza, Poetry therapy: theory and practice, New York: Routledge
  • James W. Pennebaker. Opening up: the healing power of expressing emotions, New York: Guildford Press
  • Telling Stories: The Health Benefits of Narrative. BALTIMORE: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Expressive Writing in Psychological Science  Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications
  • (ed) Emotion, disclosure, & health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
  • Merlyn Sargunaraj, Himani Kashyap, and Prabha S Chandra (eds), Writing Your Way Through Feelings: Therapeutic Writing for Emotion Regulation, New Delhi: Springer India

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.