We were delighted to welcome Monica Suswin for the afternoon on Saturday 29th April 2017 to hold her powerful and thought-provoking workshop on the sensitive subject of her own depressive illness.
Monica described the process that led to an owning and integration of her Ill Self alongside her Well Self. She shared extracts from her new mini book A Fox Crossed My Path - creative therapeutic writing on a depressive illness along with writing exercises, followed by the opportunity for discussion and questions.
Monica explained how an encounter with a real fox many years ago and reading the poem The Thought Fox by Ted Hughes led to the fox becoming a metaphor for her illness.
Workshop participants were invited to think of a metaphor (a symbol/something very real and concrete) to represent the abstractness of illness, mental or physical, and to free write on this image. By giving things a personality and getting to know them better we can form a relationship with them. In this way something internal like illness may begin to become externalised.
For Monica the technique of making lists has enabled her to make meaning from the chaotic impact of her illnesses. She asked everyone to write down a list of six things about either their own or someone else’s illness or a traumatic event in their lives. This led to some deep sharing.
The afternoon ended with Monica sharing her poem ‘Comforting Myself. She asked participants to write a sentence or two about what comforts them.
Fox illustrations c. Olivia Haughton
The mini book A Fox Crossed My Path is useful for practitioners in the helping professions by illuminating how Writing for Wellbeing may be a resource for those they work with.
For anyone who has suffered a depressive illness and is in the stages of recovery, the different ways of writing shown in A Fox Crossed My Path might be good to try, perhaps with the support of a practitioner in the healing arts. Each chapter ends with writing exercises based on different styles and approaches to creative and therapeutic writing.
You can purchase a copy of A Fox Crossed My Path by Monica Suswin for £10 direct from her at monicasuswin.wordpress.com (including postage and packing).
More about Monica:
Monica blogs at: monicasuswin.wordpress.com
Her website is at: www.cabinonthehill.co.uk
Monica has a background in humanistic psychotherapy, has worked as a BBC researcher and radio producer (Woman’s Hour) and gained an MA in Creative Writing (Sussex University 2002). Currently Monica is writing a series of mini-books on creative therapeutic writing (independently published) and has contributed to the Writing for Therapy and Personal Development Series (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).
Monica offers workshops on the healing power of writing; supervision or mentoring, as well as sessions on all aspects of writing.