John Fox: Poetry as Grief Therapy

Poetry is a fantastic avenue for art therapy. Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley welcome John Fox, a poet and certified poetry therapist. He’s the author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-making and Finding What You Didn’t Lose. He’s also the president of The Institute for Poetic Medicine, a non-profit which was created in 2005 to offer poetry/healing projects around the country to the bereaved. “Some people have already been drawn to poetry and write it, while others feel they’re not capable of it or it’s not really something that appeals to them,” he says.

His goal? Meet with both of those groups and deepen the connection with that creative voice inside. Everyone has the ability to write and benefit from poetry. It’s a gift that you can give yourself after a loss, and a way to continue bonds with loved ones after they pass. It’s accessible to grievers of nearly any age, including children. The need and ability to be creative and play with words is a great tool for healing, and one that’s free.

The Healing Power of Words

“One morning, when the birds were singing, I had another heart in me” is a short, sweet haiku written by an eight-year-old. For Fox, he feels that adults are also all eight years old. We’re also seven, nine, and every other age we’ve experienced so far. There’s no age limit for poetry. He’s been told that some children have trouble with language, but that’s not quite putting it right. Children just have different ways of accessing words.

Staring down a blank page can be scary, but Fox offers many ways to ease into poetry that aren’t intimidating. On the website, there are online guides and also workshops offered throughout the country.

Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley

More Articles Written by Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi

Dr. Gloria Horsley and Dr. Heidi Horsley are a mother/daughter team and internationally recognized grief experts. They are the founders of The Open to Hope Foundation and the hosts of The Open to Hope Show. In addition, Dr. Gloria is a board member for The Compassionate Friends and Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and has a private practice in manhattan. Their message is that others have made it through the grief journey and so can you, if you do not yet have hope lean on theirs.

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