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Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists

Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists

Online course 

Enrolment opens in September 2022 for our course starting in February 2023.

You can register interest in this course by emailing cristina.soares@metanoia.ac.uk


This Practitioner Certificate offers qualified therapists and senior trainees the opportunity to learn about principles, practice and applications of Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP). All are welcome – you do not have to have done much creative writing before, only be willing to participate.

We will look at applications and ways of working with writing and creativity, and how these might contribute to therapists’ existing practice, or in their own creative and reflective process and self-care.

The 10 days (5 x 2 days on Fridays and Saturdays) provide a lively and engaging introduction to CWTP theory and practice. Highly experienced tutors combine experiential learning with taught elements and carefully-chosen reading. You will be guided through creative writing and reflection exercises in a supportive and accessible way that is designed to enable all who wish to learn more about this field to participate and develop as practitioners. There will be a reading list and tasks set before and between sessions.


This course is taught online on Zoom 


The course is suitable for qualified therapists and senior trainees who are interested in learning about Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes and its applications. There will be creative writing activities for students in each learning day as part of the experiential learning.


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FACILITATORS (for bios see below)

Fiona Hamilton, Nigel Gibbons, Graham Hartill, Foluke Taylor, Claire Williamson

The fees for the course are as follows -  

Early Bird rate available until 15th January 2023

Early Bird Fee: £1,450

Standard Fee (after 15 Jan): £1,650

Metanoia Members

Early Bird: £1,250

Standard Fee (after 15 Jan): £1,450



For further information about joining the Practitioner Certificate in CWTP please complete the form at the bottom of this page to be informed when further details are released alternatively you can email Cristina Soares at cristina.soares@metanoia.ac.uk



Each workshop includes: writing activities, discussion, theory input, and focus on one CWTP area in relation to therapists’ practice with clients, in supervision, or with themselves for self-support. There will be tasks and reading to do in between sessions. 


Day 1 Introduction to Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes

The first day is an introduction to Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP). Students will identify their learning objectives and find out how this field has evolved. There are examples of applications in different settings, together with some initial theory and research into its effects and uses. We will consider how CWTP overlaps and differs from ‘talking therapies’, taking a look at writing approaches used within therapeutic practices, including letter writing, stories, free writing, and poetry. We will consider best practice when establishing a CWTP group, with a gentle lead-in to our initial writing activities and reflection on them. 

Day 2  Imagining Other-Wise: Writing Form & Therapeutic Possibility 

Using CWTP we can create space to think ‘otherwise’, to know differently, and to apply an understanding of ‘therapeutic’ across personal, social and ecological contexts, attending to physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and transpersonal experience. We will try out different forms of writing and see how they can be used to attend to these different registers of therapeutic. We will experiment with what different forms offer in terms of containment and freedom for individual voice and issues of power, privilege and responsibility.

Day 3 Ways of Working with CWTP in the Counselling Room 

Beginning with Carl Rogers’ ideas on creativity the day will explore how to introduce CWTP activities into the individual space of the counselling room. Issues around directivity/non-directivity will be considered, and the use of writing as a ‘third something’ in the room. Practical examples will include narrative approaches such as Dan McAdam’s Stories We Live By and creative approaches such as Lucia Capacchione’s and Natalie Rogers’ work. 

Day 4 

Language, Intimacy and Distance 

CWTP involves spending time with language and attending carefully to nuances of voice, register, tone, word choice or word avoidance. These all play a part in the therapist’s practice and by paying attention to chosen expressions as well as the language of written texts such as poems we are able to make conscious choices about the forms of expression we use, and to enhance our ability to tune in to others’. We will look at varieties of language, genre writing and structured poetic form. We will explore how to choose a form with a client to assist with an issue. 

Day 5 Working with Characters and Voices 

Creative writing can facilitate access to and expression of different facets of self. By approaching the facets ‘slant’ through characters and voices there is the opportunity for both playful and serious consideration of self and identity, and of our ways of relating to others and environments. We will draw on theory and examples demonstrated by practitioners in different settings. These methods can be applied to is- sues and questions around identity such as gender and ethnicity.

Day 6 Working with Metaphor and Myth 

Metaphor is embedded in our everyday language and can enable communication of complex multi- levelled experience. Personal and shared myths are used to relate and explain experience and identities. We will look at theory from key texts to highlight ways of working with metaphor and myth, and to inspire students’ writing and reflection. Writing activities will include ‘finding your metaphors’ and ‘stories we live by’. 

Day 7 A Palette of CWTP Resources 

This day is devoted to expanding on our discoveries and homing in on some of the variety of CWTP methods and approaches that can be employed for particular clients and groups. We will explore how CWTP holds possibility for engaging our different bodies and identities, and our various locations of experience. As well as written and spoken word, CWTP also draws on objects, pictures, music, movement, natural and urban environments, and other materials. Students will try out activities that create space in which possibilities for being — and being with being — are encouraged. They will consider what kinds of activities fit particular situations and also devise their own activity bearing in mind ethics and best practice. 

Day 8 Focusing, Mindfulness and the Writing Space 

The day will include sessions on process approaches in CWTP with particular attention to Focus- ing and Mindfulness. We will do some close observation and contemplative writing activities. We will also explore how creative approaches can help us to understand social graces, ‘filters’ and therapist roles in fresh ways. We will look at a transference issue as part of thinking about how CWTP can aid therapists with self -care and preparation and completion of work with clients.

Day 9 Getting Into Practice 

Our final two days of the Practitioner Certificate course focus on students designing and facilitating CWTP sessions and receiving feedback from peers and tutors. Having considered how they wish to apply their knowledge in individual and/or group work with clients, students prepare sessions drawing on their own interests and aims. We look at what helps facilitators prepare and deliver effective sessions. Through experiencing others’ CWTP work and input from tutors, students further develop their understanding of the range of CWTP activities that can be applied for particular needs. Discussion and reflection identifies processes that consolidate learning on the course. 

Day 10 Demonstrating Competence 

Students have a final opportunity on the course to deliver a CWTP activity, reflect on their practice, and assess their current competence in the field drawing on their own, tutors’ and peers’ input. There will be time to consider how CWTP fits within their own therapy practice and to outline their own ways forward. The group creates a closing activity that embodies and represents understandings of CWTP approaches as we complete the Practitioner Certificate taught course.



Fiona Hamilton is a writer, tutor, mentor and facilitator. She has extensive experience of working in community, healthcare and educational settings with creative writing, arts and reflective practice. Groups include people responding to climate change, refugees and asylum seekers, and people navigating challenging health conditions. She is interim Director of Studies, tutor and research adviser on Metanoia’s MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She teaches poetry to medical students at Bristol University and regularly writes about aspects of therapeutic writing, for example Language, Story and Health (Journal of Holistic Healthcare, 2012), Medicine, Health, and the Arts (Routledge, 2013), and Words and Thresholds (Scriptum Creative Writing Studies, 2014). Other published writing includes poetry of place in Fractures (2016) and a play Dancing on the Rusty Brown Carpet (2020) adapted for online showing during the pandemic that explores narratives of body and mind in relation to music and dance.

Nigel Gibbons is a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice, working with individuals, couples, and groups. He is a supervisor and a workshop facilitator using creative writing. He has particular interests in Focusing; the Person Centred approach within arts based therapies, therapy research, and narrative approaches. He is a tutor on the Diploma in Counselling at Network Counselling and Training and with Orchard Foundation, and runs sessions for the Medical Humanities course at Bristol. He facilitates workshops for, amongst others, Cruse and Relate. As a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care he works with groups and individuals. For twelve years he worked for Central TV, the ITV company in the Midlands, as a producer, director and researcher, eventually becoming a head of department. He has made over one hundred factual programmes for ITV, Central and Channel 4. He has published a number of articles and contributed to Writing Routes edited by Gillie Bolton, Victoria Field, and Kate Thompson, and MA2.

Graham Hartill is a writer-in-residence at HMP Parc, Bridgend. In 2013 he was the first writer-in-residence at Swansea University College of Medicine and, with Victoria Field, ran a popular course, Writing in Health and Social Care, for nine years at Ty Newydd, the Writers’ Centre for Wales. He worked for many years for the Ledbury Poetry Festival, as an outreach writer with elderly people and has worked widely in the fields of dementia and mental health. A founder member of Lapidus, Graham has contributed to seminal collections and conferences in the field. Papers include: Poetics of Memory: In Defence of Literary Experimentation with Holocaust Survivor Testimony, with Professor Frances Rapport, in Anthropology and Humanism (2010) and Versions of Events: Lies, Judgments and Poems in Poetry Wales (2017). His latest published poetry is a collaborative translation with Wu Fu-Sheng: The Selected Poetic Writings of the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, for The Commercial Press, Beijing, 2020. Chroma was published by Hafan Books in 2012 and there is a new collection in the pipeline with Aquifer Books. 

Foluke Taylor is a psychotherapist, writer and teacher. She has been in practice for over 25 years, drawing on Black feminist, relational psychoanalytic, and narrative approaches, and on knowledge gathered in nonconventional study spaces. Along with her partner and their five children, she spent 10 remarkable and formative years living and working in The Gambia. Now based in London, she works in private practice and as a school counsellor, and as creator and facilitator of various group writing spaces. Foluke has an MSc in Creative writing for Therapeutic purposes (CWTP). Her work engages therapeutics, poetics, and activism as dynamically interconnected experiments in being and living otherwise that support wellbeing in racialised and marginalised people. She has contributed to and participated in several of artist Barby Asante’s performance installations ‘Declaration of Independence’, in Britain and Europe. She teaches on trauma at NAOS Institute. Recent publications include a bio-mythography How the Hiding Seek (2018), and As Much Space as We Can Imagine: Black Presence in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2019). She has contributed a chapter to What is Normal? to be published by Confer in November 2020 and is currently completing a book on the development of a Black therapist’s praxis for PCCS Books

Claire Williamson has worked extensively using creative writing in therapeutic settings, including bereavement, addiction recovery, new parents, older people and cancer care. Claire’s M-level research explored the life-sustaining effects of writing, and as a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University, she’s studying ‘Writing the 21st Century Bereavement Novel’. Claire was for nine years Programme Leader for the well-established MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, the only Masters course in the UK on this subject. Claire has authored a number of book chapters and journal articles (e.g. on working with young people, creative process, a dialogue on the current CWTP field (with Dr Jeannie Wright), and is the author of four published poetry collections, the latest is Visiting the Minotaur (Seren, 2018).  





"The course has been a fantastic experience for me and an opportunity to explore and reflect in a way that is difficult to describe in just a few words. Brilliant tutors, excellent course content. I would not have missed it for the world!"

Jan (MSc CWTP Year 2)

"The course has transformed my relationship with writing, helping me to integrate all the different kinds of creative writing I do. I've so enjoyed exploring the different aspects of therapeutic writing with a great balance between experiential practice in my own writing and exploring the theories behind it. This course has enabled me to take my own writing and creativity, and work with others, in new and exciting directions. It's been an emotionally and intellectually nourishing experience."

Rebecca Loncraine (MSc CWTP Year 2) June 2015

"Studying on the MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes has enhanced my life and work in a variety of ways. I come from a writing background, and have facilitated writing groups before, but now I know how much goes into using the right techniques to present writing as therapeutic. It's lead me on a personal journey, through my own areas"

Andi Micheal (MSc CWTP Year 2)

"I want to express my deep appreciation for the way The Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes course has enriched my life and my understanding of the power of writing to heal. As the first year of the course is drawing to its end, I feel privileged to have been a part of such a wonderful community of people who have supported and encouraged my creativity and developing confidence as a writer. I also want to express my special gratitude to you and the rest of the tutors for your guidance and support and for creating a structure that held us all safely while challenging us out of our comfort zone."

Mina Bancheva (September 2012)

"Joining the course, I was scared. How would I cope with other life-commitments? Where would it lead my career? Who would I become? I followed my intuition and signed-up anyway - only to discover that rather than becoming yet another ‘add-on’, the course acted to enhance my hectic life. My work, my relationships and my sense of self have all improved because I now understand them in a different way. I have learnt how to use writing to harness the power within, to change my life for the better. The reading material is very helpfully drip-fed to us week-by-week and tutor support is fantastic. Joining this course is the best move I have ever made."

Jasimi Kiran Bangerh (Kiz) (December 2012)

"There's so much good to say about this course that it could warrant an essay. Sadly, it's not on the syllabus! Prior to starting this course, I wondered how I would manage giving up a day and a half's work and getting up at 5am to travel to Bristol. Now, over a year into it, any sacrifices have been replaced by rewards far beyond my expectations. I have rediscovered a long lost love of writing; found inner resources I never imagined I had, and I have been impressed by the most supportive, encouraging, knowledgeable and 'human' tutors I have ever had the privilege to study with. All that, combined with the joy of seeing the benefits some of my clients derive from using the writing prompts I now share with them in therapy, makes this course a profound and valuable personal and professional experience."

Marie Larkin (January 2013)

Practitioner Certificate Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWTP) for Therapists

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