Monday, August 31, 2015

Writing and Healing: An Introduction

1. Anderson and MacCurdy shed light on the ways in which people can develop mental illnesses, such as PTSD, that form from suppressed traumatic life events. It is important to recognize the social implications of the suppression of traumatic experiences; Society is wont to discourage public dialogues about trauma, impose shame on one's experience (especially those of a sexual nature), and certainly stigmatizes mental illness. Anderson and MacCurdy explain how this societal lack of acceptance perpetuates harm and delays the healing process of the individual.

They claim that having an open, safe, and accepting space for the stories of these people to naturally unfold is crucial to their healing process. People who have experienced trauma also need to be able to grieve--to truly feel their sadness--before they can make sense of it. That is why denying or ignoring feelings of grief (especially due to the lack of community acceptance) lead to shame and isolation, thus stalling the healing process.

In terms of writing and healing, a writing teacher needs to create an open-ended space in which a student's story can unfold on its own (not by forcing him or her to write about a traumatic experience) in order for the student to learn from whatever understanding of that experience that is presented.

2. Personally, I found most interesting the connection between the individual and his society as a huge (if not the largest) determiner in the healing process. I enjoyed the first example Anderson and MacCurdy provide with Vietnam War veterans. The authors explain that because the veterans were "in a culture that could not or would not understand or accept them, veterans' symptoms only intensified" and that "one's recovery from PTSD is directly related to the response of the community to the sufferer" (Anderson, MacCurdy 3-4).  This shows the importance of the environment created in a writing class, and whether or not it is conducive to the sufferer feeling understood.

3. I would enjoy for our class to review the first half of page 6. It reinforces the idea of community as a determiner for how well a sufferer is able to recover. It also infers the specific type of environment that must be created within any writing classroom or community. I think it's necessary to talk about how we, as writers in a writing class, can act and change our own perspectives to nurture and encourage the healing of others.

No comments:

Post a Comment