Why Writing is a Form of Therapy
by Nhys Glover
Just before my world fell apart, (I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my 20 year old son died suddenly,) the idea for a book came to me. It wasn’t a romance, which is my preferred genre, but it was an idea that wouldn’t go away. So I started on a book called Labyrinth of Light, which I continued to write during the course of the next horrendous year of my life.
A friend, who also became my counsellor at that time, read the first draft and asked me what the invaders were all about. I looked at her blankly and said, ‘They’re just the plot catalyst.’ It wasn’t until I’d published the book that the penny dropped: I’d been symbolically writing about my own journey and the invaders were my cancer. What was powerful about that experience was that my friend Barb understood the Soul well, and so she didn’t tell me what was so blatantly obvious to everyone but me. She let me heal at my own speed.
I bounced back quite dramatically from my ordeal, and my specialist seemed very interested in my book and the part it played in my recovery. That led me to research writing for healing and then to creating a course around it. (I was a Head Teacher of Further Education at the time.)
I discovered that the Soul (as distinct from the Spirit as described by Thomas Moore in ‘Care of the Soul’) is like a shy doe. You can’t heal it by a direct approach like analysis. You can only heal it by indirect means, like imaginative or creative processes.
Since then I’ve written a lot of books within the romance genre, and all of them have been a healing of sorts for me. But they’re also for more than me. Romance is about healing and integrating the male and female (anima/animus) within us all, using the power of Love. Those who are drawn to read, as well as write Romance, are attempting to do just that.
The Titan Drowns tried to do that and more, I think. It felt more like a healing for our combined Soul – what they called the Transpersonal. The sinking of the Titanic had a huge impact on Humanity’s Psyche. I think it probably had as much impact as the Twin Towers has had on our generation. It was when man got a reality check. Our arrogant belief that we were invincible, that our science and technology made us superior to nature, was brought down in one shattering moment, and created a festering psychological wound in us all.
So on some deep level this book provides a healing of sorts, I believe. I became quite obsessed with saving as many of the people on the Titanic as I could. I know it sounds weird, but it really felt like I was saving real people, not just writing fiction. In the same way that I wasn’t just writing a story for Labyrinth of Light I was healing my own trauma.
Writing is the most profound method of healing I’ve found, and I continue to use it for myself and others. What I love is that you don’t even have to know healing is taking place. It just happens as a by-product of the process as I write or as my reader reads.
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Genre – Romance
Rating – Between PG13 and R (sensual but not erotic)