Expressive Writing with Accidental Impacts
“The Expressive Writing class has been so helpful. The opportunity to sit with other CADIs and respond to guided writing activities has been a healing experience for me. I feel so safe.”
What is Expressive Writing?
Expressive writing helps us heal from trauma and moral injury. Hundreds of research studies have shown it to be effective in improving mental and physical health. John Evans, a psychologist who focuses on expressive writing, described it this way:
“Expressive writing comes from our core. It is personal and emotional writing without regard to form or other writing conventions, like spelling, punctuation, and verb agreement… it simply expresses what is on your mind and in your heart.” (Expressive Writing | Psychology Today)
Expressive writing lets us gain some distance from our thoughts and feelings. We can see ourselves more clearly, and that helps us be less reactive and to ruminate less. By writing, we may see what obstacles are getting in the way of our healing.
You can do expressive writing on your own but writing in a group has special benefits. When we are writing about painful and traumatic events, it can be comforting to look up and to see others engaged in the same activity, rather than to write alone and then, once finished, still be alone with the experience.
Accidental Impacts Approach to Expressive Writing
Accidental Impacts expressive writing online meetings use a topic or prompt to help us get started. After introductions, we mute our microphones and write for 20 minutes. After that, we talk together about the experience – how do we feel? Did we write something that surprised us? We don’t have to share what we wrote about, but we can.
Expressive writing is not a substitute for therapy or counseling. It is simply meant as another form of peer support.
We meet once a month, on the following schedule:
- August 8, 2021 at 12 p.m. Pacific
- September 5, 2021 at 12 p.m. Pacific
- October 3, 2021 at 12 p.m. Pacific
- November 7, 2021 at 12 p.m. Pacific
- December 5, 2021 at 12 p.m. Pacific
To obtain the Zoom link, please add your email here.
“The prompts help me get started and I’m often surprised by what I discover about myself.”
Some of the prompts we use are drawn from books, but we also create our own prompts specific to CADIs. Here are a few examples. Feel free to use them and see what new thoughts arise:
As a result of the accident, what support was or is most helpful? What help do you wish you had received? What help are you still waiting for?
Healing from Physical and Moral Injury: How have your injuries changed your moral compass? What demands are you placing on yourself and on the world around you? What moral judgements might be safe to let go of?
Adjusting our internal critic: How does being responsible for something so tragic affect your ability or willingness to accept responsibility for other things (good and bad)? What do you want to be responsible for? How can you choose to be responsible for your healing, growth and well-being? What have you had to let go of to make self-care possible?
On Self-disclosure: What does safe self-disclosure feel like? What do you notice coming up for you physically, mentally, or emotionally, before, after, and/or during an experience of emotional vulnerability?