Creative writing teachers, counsellors, educators and personal journal keepers: here’s a vibrant tool for self-development and self-expression. Guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing!
Journalling is a time-honoured activity for anyone interested in practising and teaching creative writing. It’s also well-established as a powerful, therapeutic activity that professionals can offer clients to encourage reflection, understanding and growth in times of challenge, transition and change.
This distinctive resource, featuring 32 beautiful and quirky word cards, will introduce you to the self-exploratory world of journal writing. Each card is ‘gate folded’—turn the card around and open up the flaps to find questions and writing prompts inside. Ideal for tactile learners!
Prompt themes include Pathways, Myths, Blunders, Patched and Pending, Body Image, Memories—and our personal favourite: Stamps, Stickers and Stars!—among many others.
Stories and Reviews
‘Innovative Resources’ materials are WONDERFUL!! I do prevention work with youth and also expressive art therapy with people in addiction treatment. I’ve used many of your resources including Deep Speak, Reflexions, Inside Out and, most recently, Shadows, with amazing results. Your organisation provides a great breath of fresh air to the human services field. Thank you!’ Judith Prest (Duanesburg, NY, USA)
Journalling is just one of the many forms of creative writing being recognised by professionals as powerful therapeutic tools to offer their clients. Quite simply, there is great power in being able to name, record and express a feeling or experience; even if that experience is a painful or negative one. Finding the right words or image is like shining a clear light on that experience. And then—sometimes—a piece of magic takes place; the experience can be more lightly held.
‘Working in an acute psych unit, I was referred a lady with depression who had been through numerous counsellors and psychologists and trialed many psychological interventions. The only strategy she had taken on in all her experiences was journaling. However she was told only to use it to record her sadness and painful situations.
This became like a record of failure to her, so we introduced a second journal, which she labelled her white book as opposed to her black book. The deal was that if she wrote in her black book she had to match page for page with writing in her white book, which was a book where she recalled her strengths, achievements and positive experiences. Over the course of the week she found that she had begun writing more in the white book than in the black, and she was able to harness her strengths and use them to make a speedy discharge from hospital.’
Leigh Philpott, Tamworth NSW
‘I set Myself Free,’ Innovative Resources Newsletter, No. 25 (2004).
Reflections on a writing course for women facilitated by Anne Flint and Deborah McCulloch
I am a family support worker with Anglicare South Australia working in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. Russell Deal from St Luke’s Innovative Resources was invited to facilitate our team’s annual two-day training workshop in March this year. The focus for this workshop was on journalling and other creative tools for engaging with, and supporting, the families we work with.
I was totally inspired by Russell and the resources he used in the workshop, and was highly motivated to create and facilitate a writing course. My aim was to reach people who might enjoy personal reflection and self-expression via some form of creative writing, poetry, journalling, artwork, collage or scrapbooking. Past experience in our team had shown us that giving people an opportunity to reflect on, and explore, their experiences through writing and other creative means might offer release of emotional pain, a chance of healing and a ‘tipping point’ to experiencing change in their lives. Being a devotee of St Luke’s, I knew the resources that Russell introduced would be stimulating to work with.
In my role as a group facilitator for the team I approached a number of community health centres with a brief proposal. Southern Women’s Community Health Centre at Noarlunga agreed that one of their mental health workers, Deborah McCulloch, would co-facilitate this writing course. All of the women who came to the course had suffered, or were suffering, some form of trauma in their lives-particularly domestic violence and sexual assault. The writing offered these women a chance to express their feelings about this but also to find hopes, aspirations and positive visions for their lives and futures. St Luke’s resources are excellent for building hope.
The course ran for a term, with a two and a half-hour session each week. The St Luke’s resources I used were Strength Cards, Inside Out: A Journalling Kit, Angels with Attitude, Shadows, and Views from the Verandah together with a number of other resources (such as Photolanguage published by the Catholic Education Office) and writing techniques introduced to us by Russell. As well as this we provided lovely journal books for each participant, coloured pencils and biros, textas, watercolours, collage and decorating materials. Each week had a new theme, new resources and fresh ideas for writing.
The combination of all of these factors helped bring out the most amazing creativity and storywriting in these women. The women loved the course and the resources. They found the materials meaningful and easy to respond to. Comments like, ‘This card leapt out at me’ and, ‘I just had to take this one’ all indicated how poignant the St Luke’s cards were.
Deborah and I were totally amazed at the volume and depth of writing that occurred each week. Many women continued to write during the week and were keen to share this writing with the group. As the weeks progressed the women found it easier to write, express themselves and share what they had written. Comments like, ‘The group has been a safe environment where women have felt trusted and supported’ and, ‘People shared their stories but the group hasn’t been intrusive’ indicated that the group was well structured.
We allowed time for writing and then time for sharing, but discouraged idle chatter. Many women said they found this process healing. One woman said, ‘I’ve been in the real depths of darkness, last night I wrote my story-12 pages-and now I feel healed’. Comments like, ‘I learnt to explore myself to a greater depth’, ‘It has helped me on my way to happiness’ and, ‘This writing course has changed my life’ all reveal the healing power of writing.
Two of the most valuable comments about the resources were, ‘We have forgotten that we have strengths; this has helped us see them again’ and, ‘I learned that I am stronger and more positive than I thought’.
The course was so successful that we are running it again this term and next term in two other community centres. Wonderful things can happen with St Luke’s resources!
Anne Flint, Family Support Worker, Anglicare SA
Excerpt from ‘The Masks of Grief,’ The Serious Optimist, no. 31, 2006.
Bette Phillips is Family Support Services Coordinator for families and individuals bereaved by workplace fatalities. She also facilitates grief-related workshops, one of which focuses on the masks of grief.
‘I have found that many of the products from Innovative Resources are invaluable for working one-to-one with a client or for working with groups. Often at the first visit I encourage the client to begin a journal, to record the feelings and emotions they are experiencing. The Inside Out Journalling Kit really comes into its own here. Most clients say, ‘I cannot write’, or ‘It’s too hard to start to write’. So I will select a card from the kit that is particularly non-threatening and allows a choice.
Paradoxically, one factor that seems to help begin a journal about our grief is to not actually start there. So I might choose the ‘Strengths’ card. We speak at this time about the person’s strengths that have got them here today. This is often followed by the ‘Myths’ card and we speak of the myths that they discover in how grief ‘should be’. The cards then follow according to the individual’s journey. ‘Peace’ and ‘Hope’ are also helpful cards for grief journalling. The Inside Out cards are also useful in workshops, particularly when encouraging participants to begin their journal.
‘Getting the Picture’ (Serious Optimist, 2004)
For the past nine or ten years I’ve been a meditation teacher and storyteller. I’ve run workshops in children’s centres, kindergartens and the Lady Gowrie Child Centre in Melbourne. Having trained in primary and kinder teaching, and lectured in child care, I’ve been especially interested in self-esteem, creativity, meditation and relaxation for young children, parents and staff in centres. I also run classes from home, incorporating storytelling and spirituality, along with meditation.
The Inside Out journalling kit has proved to be a most valuable tool for my meditation group. The combination of the visual images and the written word appeals to people’s individual strengths and forms of expression. Usually we’ll have an initial discussion then come back the following week to share further insights.
My groups have focussed on both professional and personal issues. The cards have freed people to be open, and many have expressed their delight at the fun they’ve had and the great insights they’ve gained.
Ali Gwyer (Hampton, Victoria)