From Hell To Hope: A Collaborative Writing Group For Women In Recovery

For some time now, researchers have understood that the experience of writing and sharing expressive texts can support positive change in the lives of people suffering from difficulties that range from homelessness and substance abuse to dislocation and resettlement. Although the mechanism through which expressive writing promotes such change is not well understood, it is generally understood that those changes are both cognitive and social in nature. “Writing for Recovery," the particular method of collaborative expressive writing used in this project, can help participants to “[attain] a new sense of personal and relational identities as a result of storying and re-storying their lives” (Taylor et al, 2014, p. 3).

The clients of the Kanawha Day Report Center, a drug free alternative sentencing program, who participate in this project are at critical junctures in their lives. Each of the researchers has experienced critical junctures of her own. In this project, researchers and participants write together about turning points in their lives, in the hopes that writing and sharing expressive texts can promote positive personal and relational changes, and help all to understand what those changes might mean in individual lives.