Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Writing and therapy

The links between writing and psychotherapy discussed by Blake Morrison and Susie Orbach in The Guardian.
Blake Morrison: I want to start by asking you whether you feel there is some overlap between our professions. When I started writing I was told, with some vigour, that writing is very different from therapy - that a real writer did not use poetry, fiction, memoir, whatever, to work out feelings. People tend to be snobbish and dismissive about writing as therapy, and you'll hear creative writing tutors, in particular, discourage students from being 'confessional'. How do you see it?

Susie Orbach: Just as you have prejudice coming from writing which isn't about catharsis and therapy, I am prejudiced against people who insist on seeing therapy as catharsis without an aesthetic. What seems very similar to me about the two processes is that what I'm struggling for is some kind of understanding that will be helpful to the person I'm with. We do that together in the therapy and I do it myself when I'm writing, so in that sense there are similarities, in that writing is sort of therapeutic as well.

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