Conducting a particular variety of creative writing, in a group setting where everyone writes and reads his or her piece aloud, can act as a catharsis, particularly when they live in a rehab and have been requested to write something truthful and revealing about themselves.
For the past 14 years I have brought in a paper that has two metaphors and five unrelated words, and asked the attendees to choose one of the five topics and create a short story, poem, or essay. I write along with them, putting myself on an equal footing, and am the last to read.
The results can be highly therapeutic. Most residents have sordid pasts that they've buried deep inside themselves and hearing the exposures of others makes them realize everyone is in the same boat, praying to reach a new destination in life where they gain self confidence and the desire to learn how to love the person they've been hiding within.
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