The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Therapy That Got Me Focused - Poetry Therapy

I wasn’t aware that writing poetry can bring healing until years after I was writing and started being able to communicate with others and look them in the eye. I just started writing what I felt not knowing that imagery, metaphor, and simile play a role in the healing process. I was writing these things unknowingly. I was just writing from my heart and the metaphors came out naturally as did the rhymes. I’ve recently started writing in my journal all my poems from memory for my meditation time. As it says in the book “Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem Making”:

Poem making helps put your attention in the present moment. Line by Line, breath by breath, moment by moment, you allow creative rhythms, sounds, feelings and insights to come. You learn to distinguish between fresh insight and an old conclusion when considering an answer to a problem you face. The openness to the moment which poem-making encourages can help you discover answers you had no idea were there. ~~ pages 261-262

I use to couldn’t talk or communicate with others. It’s been that way my whole life. In the first grade I was sent to a special school at lunch time for shy kids because I wouldn’t talk or play with the other kids. Shyness turned into social phobia and social phobia into paranoia. I’ve went from being withdrawn and introverted to outgoing and extroverted. I’m able to look people in the eye and express myself today. Here’s my latest entry in my journal expressing my love to God:

With You My Love

When I’m with you I feel brand new
As wonder and joy fill my heart

In this romance we sing and dance
Intertwined never shall we part

As beauty flows my heart only knows
True love is what I have found

Your sweetest kiss brings heavens bliss
As music of the stars shines down

With you as my own I’m never alone
Secure within your loving arms

My heart’s set free with high ecstasy
Inside your world of lovely charms

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I was diagnosed with shyness, social phobia and schizoaffective. The poetry that has helped me is the compassionate kind. I’ve recently discovered this is called compassion focused therapy. I had a lot of shame hating myself. In my “Treating Psychoses” book that I got today it has what I’m talking about in a section called Compassion Focused Approaches:

Compassion focused approaches are most effective when working with delusions associated with critical auditory hallucinations, which are in turn linked to shame and an underlying schema of self-blame. Such exercises are also pertinent in persecutory delusions where, in the face of constant perceived threat and hypervigilance, they promote self-soothing. They are viable in the face of the delusional system with the negative underlying core belief such as “I am a bad or unlovable person”. Compassionate self statements can be reinforced by compassionate imagery, compassionate letter writing to the self, or a compassion box containing items that nurture the self, such as key photographs, poems, music, and so on. page 117

It’s about falling in love with Christ within (true self) and showing self-compassion and forgiveness. I’m not bad at the core but good. I’m a good person with flaws who makes mistakes. Shame and fear is the underlying cause or at the foundation of my paranoid delusions.

Lost In Love

I am in love and I don’t know with who
Dead to myself as I am lost in You
Drunk in Beauty my heart is made new
Sweet Divine Mystery I’m in love with You

Reason is gone, love’s arrow goes through
Opposites unite as both sides hold true
United with love we are no longer two
Lost in this ocean I’m in love with You

I saw this in writing my life story (4th step in Emotions Anonymous). I’ve come to discover that I was very shame based and fear based in my personality my whole life. Even the times I was arrogant, underneath I was insecure about my worth. From my experience my shame and low self-esteem was the contributor to my sinful behavior. This in turn would cause me to act in ways that produced more shame and guilt. It’s a downward spiral of guilt and shame. I’ve also been working through my self-esteem workbook and discovered that a lot of people don’t understand what self-esteem is. It’s based on unconditional worth and unconditional love. In Christ I am accepted as a child of God and my core self is good. I’m not bad at the core. This sort of self-condemnation leads to shame based behaviors. I reject all religious teachings that say I’m bad. I’m a good person with flaws and who makes mistakes. My whole life I hated myself deep down and this has lead to not only withdrawal and self-conscious timid fear based behavior but to also the more selff-conscious and self-centered ego of being aggressive and angry and thinking I’m God. Underneath such ego is insecurity and not a proper self-worth and self-esteem.