Therapeutic Writing by Animals
in Animal Assisted Play Therapy®, Play Therapy, Psychotherapy, and Education
An online course developed from a webinar featuring Kirrie, therapeutic writing author
with her typist, Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, CAEBC-I
(Flyer is from original webinar but contains the learning objectives and other information about this online course converted from that webinar.)
My name is Kirrie. I have written dozens of therapeutic letters and quite a few booklets during my career in Animal Assisted Play Therapy®. It appears they have been quite helpful! There are times when animals cannot be directly involved in your therapeutic work or other times when clients need a little extra assistance in coping with the challenges they face. This is where therapeutic writing from the point of view of us animals can be very helpful. Read on to learn more about my upcoming webinar to teach you (and your animals) how to do this type of intervention!
Many people, and children and young people in particular, are drawn to animals. Sometimes they can relate to animals more readily than they can to adults, parents, teachers, or therapists/counselors. Often, animals’ lives bear similarities to human lives, such as life within families, surviving trauma, living in foster homes and being adopted, living with illness or infirmity, adapting to new circumstances, learning new skills, and growing old. Bibliotherapy, in which therapists or educators use books written for a specific audience on a relevant topic to augment the therapeutic or educational process, can be very useful. There are many books on a wide range of topics written for all ages. Even so, sometimes the need for age-appropriate materials arises quickly, or there simply is nothing written on a particular topic, or a more personal touch is needed. In those cases, therapeutic writing can fill an important role.
Therapeutic writing takes many forms. It can be a letter “written” by a known therapy animal, a story or booklet “authored” by a client’s animal, or a blog created by an unknown animal living in a similar situation as the client. Therapeutic letters can help students get past a roadblock or encourage mental health clients to cope with a trauma or loss. The options are limitless.
This online course will be conducted in a workshop-style manner and is designed to give psychotherapists, play and expressive therapists, counselors, psychologists, and teachers the guidelines and skills for writing therapeutic materials to help their students and clients meet their goals or overcome challenges. A variety of methods will be covered including storytelling skills, shared storytelling, tailor-made booklets, encouraging messages, educational tools, support through tough situations, and more. Skills include the use of humor and playfulness, writing from the point of view of the animals, bringing the writing to life, simple illustration options, finding inspiration, writing at different developmental levels, and ways of involving clients more actively in the process.
This online course is adapted from a webinar given in May 2021. It takes approximately 6 hours to complete, including the PowerPoint-based recorded presentation, reading materials, and 3 writing assignments that you will submit for CE credit if desired.