Creative Writing, Literature, Storytelling and Mental Health Practice

  • Tony Gillam
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Creativity and Culture book series (PASCC)


This chapter draws on the author’s own experience of writing and of facilitating a creative writing group for service users. It provides an overview of therapeutic uses of creative writing, including Pennebaker’s work on expressive writing. It reviews evidence for the use of literature, creative writing and poetry in mental health care, exploring bibliotherapy, therapeutic writing and poetry therapy as well as narrative biography. Creative writing is examined as a tool for promoting both the recovery of service users and the professional development of mental health practitioners, including a discussion of the value of storytelling in mental health nursing. The chapter concludes by considering the role of journaling and blogging and the overlapping areas of therapeutic writing, literary writing, autobiography and writing for publication.


Writing Facilitating creative writing groups Therapeutic uses of creative writing Pennebaker and expressive writing Literature, creative writing and poetry in mental health Bibliotherapy Therapeutic writing Poetry therapy Narrative biography Recovery Professional development Storytelling in mental health nursing Journaling Blogging Autobiography Writing for publication 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Gillam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WolverhamptonWest MidlandsUK

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