creative writing: waking up from our routines

“creative writing increases physician observation skills and connection to patients”

this is the heading of a study at the yale school of medicine, which showed that creative writing had a positive impact on how doctors saw themselves, their patients and their peers. resident physicians often deal with quite a bit of negativity, which can ultimately lead to a lack of interest in their patients.

engaging in creative writing helped doctors get in touch with their experience, their emotions, increase curiosity about their patients, and ultimately look at what gives meaning to their lives and their work.

just a two-day workshop made such a difference to these young doctors. just taking out two days from the normal routine, and engaging in a little creative self-reflection.

often it is simply routine that kills our joy in life. day in, day out, always the same. this creates a kind of mental fog which, in my opinion, is not dissimilar to the fog that is experienced in addictive substance abuse (similar to the many altered states of mind that milton erickson talks about). many routines are literally a habit in the sense that addictions are a habit.

on the other side of these often zombie-like routines lies the state of being awake. being awake to our own experience, to people, events, plants, animals, the whole world around us.

i’m happy to hear that these young doctors had a chance to wake up. happy for them and for their patients. and maybe happy for their families, too, who are probably already quite strained by the crazy hours worked by their partners or parents who had elected to become doctors.

the motto of my practice is “making lives better, making better lives”.

making lives better: waking up to our own experience.

making better lives: carrying this awakening into the rest of the world.

just like these doctors, whose self-reflection resulted in more interest in their patients.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

5 thoughts on “creative writing: waking up from our routines

  1. Dessa Reed

    This information about doctors from Yale is music to my ears since I have proved in my own experience that creative writing can be healing. During recovery from a near-fatal auto accident, I began to record some of deepest insights that turned into poetry. I had never written a poem in my life but it contributed greatly to my own recovery.

    I learned the craft, published two poetry / self-help books on the inspiring effects of writing, and now teach poetry workshops, am Poetry Editor for a woman’s magazine, give dozens of talks on the subject and sponsor poetry contest in local high school.

    Thanks for passing on this research.

  2. isabella mori

    thank you for the comment, dessa. what an amazing story you have! i, too, have found writing incredibly healing. when i was going through a particularly difficult stretch in my life, writing poetry was one of the main things that pulled me through.

  3. Pingback: journaling: a dialogue » change therapy - isabella mori

  4. Julie Davis

    I am a scientist and was almost a doctor. I know that my personal blog is therapeutic for me and probably helps me be a better person to my friends and coworkers since it gets out the things that keep going round and round in my head.

  5. isabella mori

    thanks for commenting on this entry, julie! i had completely forgotten about it, so thanks for bringing it back to my attention!

    i am very pleased to hear that this works for you, too. would love to see your blog but maybe, as a lawyer, you want to keep it anonymous …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *