Healing verses: poetry and prose from Community Rehabilitation

Our Community Rehabilitation service in Bristol recently ran a creative writing group. Members met on Wednesday afternoons and wrote a mixture of stories, poetry and prose based on their personal experience and other themes that were suggested each week. Their work has been collated into a booklet, and a podcast has also been recorded, where pieces are read out by clients or others on their behalf, which is emotional and very powerful. 

Recovery Navigator Lewis Ogle was instrumental in running this group. He said: 

Having a creative outlet is an important part of many people’s recovery and there’s evidence that writing about difficult or traumatic experiences can help people understand and come to terms with them. 

The aim of the group was to encourage participants to try out lots of different kinds of writing, support them in the writing they were already doing and hopefully be somewhere they could have fun writing with others. We aimed to keep it informal, with an emphasis on collaboration and facilitation rather than instruction or judgement. We also signposted lots of other opportunities for people to continue their writing.” 

Group members share their experiences 

“Taking part in the writing group at Second Step has been a blessing for me. It was scary initially being in a room with a group of complete strangers, but I think we all felt similar thoughts and feelings. I really enjoyed hearing what the other members had written (when they felt able to share) and though I felt quite shy about my own efforts the courage to share came from somewhere inside me. It was good getting to know the other members of the group though not long enough to know them well. The group facilitators were great and very encouraging, but there was never any pressure to write, read or share if you didn’t want to. I have really enjoyed the group and now feel encouraged to start doing some regular writing at home. “  


“When I came to the writing group, I felt a bit anxious about how well I was going to do, but felt better when I actually started writing. I wrote about various topics and this really gave me the chance to think more creatively.“  

“I liked the varied nature of the subjects suggested. My favourite was to write about my experiences. During the sessions I felt absorbed and inspired to write. In the future, I would like to write more about my travels and experiences. The time and location were ideal. The facilitators were helpful, helping my confidence. I would like to write a book on local history.”  


Listen to the podcast

Podcast recorded by Sam Walsh.

Read the full collection of poetry and prose.

Our Community Rehabilitation service supports people living with complex mental health problems to achieve their goals and gain the skills and confidence to live as independently as possible. 

Find out more about Community Rehabilitation.

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