Writing lets you escape into your imagination. It makes anything possible, giving you a sense of control even when other aspects of your life seem scripted. And it has astonishing power to help us process our emotions and work through our pain.
We had those benefits and more in mind while planning Healthy Expressions, a series of creative writing workshops for patients, their caregivers, and the health care providers who serve them. Each workshop is tailored to accommodate the specific needs and abilities of various patient populations, using input and feedback from partner organizations who work with those populations and the clients themselves.
Our first Healthy Expressions pilot program is designed for people with ALS, developed in partnership with ALS in the Heartland. It is the opposite of most of our writing workshops, as it is:
- Delivered remotely, instead of in one room;
- Delivered individually, instead of in a group setting;
- Not on a fixed schedule, letting participants set their own pace;
- Patient-directed, providing writing prompts that participants are free to ignore, and;
- Completely private if the participant prefers to not share their writing with anyone, including the Teaching Artist.
This basic model is being modified and extended to patients with a variety of other conditions, including a pilot program working with cancer patients in partnerships with Nebraska Hematology-Oncology P.C. in Lincoln, NE.