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Writing As A Way Of Healing: How Telling Stories Transforms Our Lives
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Writing As A Way Of Healing: How Telling Stories Transforms Our Lives

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  379 ratings  ·  42 reviews
A writing guide that shows how anyone can use writing to heal emotional and physical wounds.
Unknown Binding
Published September 1st 1999 by Not Avail (first published March 3rd 1999)
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I just finished this book, which I started on April 22 of this year. That’s a long time to spend reading a 216 page book, isn’t it? I thought I would review it, but in the moment, I have decided not to. I’m going to write something else instead, and what I am about to write is a direct effect of reading this book. In fact, I could hardly make myself finish it, because this idea gripped me with such compelling force that I had to keep drawing myself back to the page. And now I struggle to begin.

Mary Alice

March, 5, 2011 I just finished reading this again. I have read it so many times as can be seen in my previous review below.

Fantastic book. I reference this book a lot in my Masters/PhD work. It is so highlighted and dog-earred it's falling apart.
DNF. I made it about 35% (into Part Two) before I put it down and decided I didn't want to bother reading more. I found Part One weirdly off-putting as the author repeated over and over, in slightly different and not-so-different ways, what the Exact Specific Only Type Of Writing That Is Therapeutic was.
Excellent addition to any writer's book shelf. Written in a very supportive way for all to tell their personal stories with respect and transformational healing.
I found the book provided good how-to exercises and guidelines that one could apply whether you plan on doing long-term and formal writing or short, journal type entries. The first part of the book felt a little long and repetitive as it discussed the benefits of writing. The second and third parts seemed to flow at a quicker pace and provided more practical information for starting to write. I appreciated the guidelines and felt that they could be applied to any creative process or "work", not ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It details how important journaling is. It is a great discussion about how writing can help you heal from the wounds that life invariably inflicts on everyone. Just writing and wallowing in your writing won't help you and could even be hurtful. It is when we use our writing to empower ourselves and to find lessons and hidden gifts that burdens bring we can find healing.
Zac Sigler
I was introduced to this book/author by the writing of a former professor. I don't want to give to much away, but I think that DeSalvo makes excellent recommendations that really will help people heal more than just writing about traumatic events with no other guidelines.
Maria Menozzi
I have umpteen number of books on writing that I almost never crack. Which is also to say, I'm not writing. Yet, I find these books interesting to read not the least because I began with Natalie Goldberg's "how-to's" and found her process mixed with memoir-ish details more fascinating than the technical bits. So whenever I get a chance to read about writers who write, writing as journaling, writing as breathing, et al., I get tempted to see what this writer has to say about the process. I picked ...more
May 25, 2014 Judith rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers and Journalers, Therapists, Poets. Teachers
One of the top books on journaling I have read over many years. DeSalvo recommends a technique that is similar to that of Carl Jung in his book Active Imagination. it involves in-depth narrative about our joys and traumas, not just venting.

Jung advocates working with one's archetypes. I have found that very effective for resolving challenges and letting go of them to transition to the next level of being.

This book is a keeper with many inspirational stories and quotes as well as exercises. I wil
Polly Watson
Louise DeSavlo's book WRITING AS A WAY OF HEALING: HOW TELLING OUR STORIES TRANSFORMS OUR LIVES came out in 1999. Even 16 years later, every word in her book rings true and is valuable for anyone going through the healing process. As a writer, I recommend EVERYONE follow DeSalvo's premise of writing as a way of healing. I realize, though, that not everyone finds healing in writing. If that is true, then I am going to take a little side path from DeSalvo's text to say that I think that when it co ...more
Kate Arms
There is a lot of gods material in here about how and why writing can be therapeutic. The book intermingles the author's personal experience of writing her stories, theories about how and why writing can help heal wounds, and stories of other writers' healing work. The book is thought-provoking and inspirational. However, for anyone who wants to write their own stories that need healing or for folks who want to lead writers in workshops, there is not enough explicit instruction.

Many books were
Lynda Felder
Not that we really need convincing, but Louise De Salva begins Writing as a Way of Healing with proof, example after example, of writers who have used writing as a salve for their grief, illness, trauma and pain.

Henry Miller, despondent and suicidal because June has left him for a woman, writes through the night a piece he calls June, which outlines the famous books he would write over the next 30 years. (Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Sexus, Nexus and Plexus.)

Marcel Proust writes ove
As a former English teacher and a current social work student, I read this book because I feel that writing could be a very valuable way to help some of my clients. Louise DeSalvo takes a very comprehensive look at how a specific type of writing (writing that engages our feelings and is more than merely venting) has the power to help one heal from difficult experiences and/or traumas. She also gives a step-by-step guide for how to enter the writing process to do this type of writing. Although I ...more
Jenny Wells
First hardcopy non-fiction book I've read in a while. But a library copy. Plan to buy my own so I can underline. My favorite tip? Write as a witness, not a survivor. Excellent explanation of why writing about our trauma and sharing it with others can be so healing, with chapters on self-care and choosing your audience well. Lots of great examples and references of how others authors used writing about their traumas to heal.
This is a terrific book about writing and how important it is to those hwo have suffered some trauma. I marked this book up a lot using a green highlightere and can't wait to read the highlighted areas again. Maybe I'll read the whole book again! I expect to be using its advice in my writing in the near future. The last paragraph is important:

"Writing testimony, to be sure, means that we tell our stories. But it also means that we no longer allow ourselves to be silenced or allow others to spea
I thought this would be more of a how-to. Instead, it was more like reading a long, boring college term paper. Too many theories and stories of other people instead of helpful advice.
I love it when I start to read a book I found on my bookshelf and read this.
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Excellent book, highly useful. I wish the author took her time with editing instead of repeating herself and stopping at a concept and then chasing rabbits and then coming back to it again. She has valuable tips but the book could have been better edited, better structured and organized. Chapter 2 I had to read twice in order to summarize exactly what she wants to say but eventually I came down with some excellent stuff that I was able to put down in my journal for later reference and use. Anoth ...more
For those interested in journaling this is an amazing book.
Jocelyn Kelly
DeSalvo's slant on writing as a way of healing stems on the essential aspect of "linking" our emotions with our thinking. It's not just about expressing or venting or more specifically, free writing. It's about engaging with our minds to process our experiences in a way that heals us. If you're looking for a book to give you freewriting ideas, this isn't it.

But, if you're looking for a book that helps people connect their creativity with empathy, this one is perfect.

Jonnalie Estrada
No words can describe how reading this book just makes life more bearable
Very helpful book written by a college professor who teaches a memoir writing class and has done a lot of research in this area. MANY books are referenced so my list of possible books to read has grown. She has written a memoir that I am looking forward to reading.

This quote says it all: "Writing has helped me heal. Writing has changed my life. Writing has saved my life".

I feel the same way.
Overall I fell as though I can be a better writer, but near the end of the book it started to get very repetitive.
Excellent book for the lay person who wants to learn how to use writing as a way of healing. Louise DeSalvo is an excellent author who really knows what she's talking about when it comes to the right way to learn how to write to heal.
This book belongs on the shelf of any memoir writer. There is so much good information in this book. The prompts and sources are excellent and the presentation is perfect. If you're a writer struggling with where to start or where to go with your memoir, definitely check this book out. I know that I personally will be referring to this text for years to come.
Rebecca Huston
A very good book and one that really helped me to use writing as a means of therapy. It won't work for everyone, but it does help. The book never gets overburdened on the technical aspects, and the author keeps a very nonjudgmental attitude throughout. Very much recommended.

For the complete review, please go here:
Meh. Just kind of boring, and not a lot of helpful info.
In finding that the writing project I've recently undertaken is quite difficult, I picked up a number of writing books to gain a little perspective, this being one of them. DeSalvo provides a list of techniques writers can use to get through the tough stuff and put words on the page.
Kris Underwood
Came to this very, very late. This book had such a profound effect on me, that I was able to work out a rough draft writing project of a health issue I have rarely, if ever, acknowledged. It poured out and now I am revising it. Also, this book is heavily underlined.
Helen Mallon
Feb 14, 2013 Helen Mallon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers
Recommended to Helen by: A writing client
Really good stuff. It doesn't just apply to people who are writing about dire situations/ personal trauma. Excellent tips and insights into how we can stay healthy and productive as writers. I recommend this to students frequently.
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