Writing Reflection, Self-Awareness, and Healing
(Co-Sponsored by Project Compassion and the Inavale Foundation)
Friday, September 7, 2012
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
(8:30 registration and continental breakfast)
United Church of Chapel Hill
1321 Martin Luther King Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Join us for an exploration of how writing can help manage the pain of grief by awakening new personal awareness and offering transformative shifts in perspective for yourself and others.
Using prompt-driven exercises from Carol Henderson’s newest book Farther Along: The Writing Journey of 13 Bereaved Mothers, participants will learn and practice specific writing techniques that will enrich their own and their clients’ understanding of grief and healing.
Focus of Symposium
This symposium will focus on innovative ways to use writing as a powerful tool for personal growth. With hands-on exercises and prompts from her new book, Farther Along: the Writing Journey of 13 Bereaved Mothers, Carol Henderson will guide participants through a number of writing experiences designed to enrich both the lay person and the professional. In each case, she will highlight the theoretical basis for the exercise while providing practical tips and guidelines for the group writing experience. Participants will have multiple opportunities to write and the option to read their words aloud. They will learn that writing is a powerful tool for accessing deep meaning and imaginative possibilities. “Writing begets writing; meaning grows on the page.” The afternoon session will include a panel discussion with members of the group of bereaved mothers Carol profiles in Farther Along. These remarkable women have written together for 10 years. They will share their stories and discuss how writing has shaped their healing journeys.
Participants will leave with a new experience base, practical skills, and a deeper understanding of the value of reflective writing for personal, as well as therapeutic, development. Each will receive a copy of Farther Along, which offers step-by-step guidance for leading both daylong writing workshops and weekend retreats.
Overview of Schedule
8:30 - 9:00 Registration and coffee
9:00 – 9:15 Introduction and Welcome
9:15 – 9:30 Why write? The psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits
9:30 – 10:15 Session I: The Appeal of the Concrete
• Creating a Safe Haven on the Page (large group)
• “Where I’m From” written introductions. Readings. Written Reflections. (small groups)
10:30 – 10:45 Break
10:45 – 12:00 Session II: Short and Deep (small groups)
• Sentence Stems: Jumpstarts for exploring feelings and beliefs.
• Lists: Powerful and quick ways to unearth what matters.
• “Before” and “After” Words. Building community. Giving Voice.
• The Acrostic: Using significant words to access the unconscious and discover meaning.
12:00 – 12:45 Lunch (Provided)
12:45 – 2:00 Session III: The Power of Point of View (small groups)
• Writing in the Third person: A Fresh Perspective
• Inhabiting another’s point of view: What I never knew.
• Engaging in a Dialogue with an Aspect of Self: Giving Voice to Unheard Parts of Ourselves.
2:00 – 2:45 Panel Discussion: Several of the mothers featured in Farther Along will discuss writing toward healing in terms of their personal stories.
2:45 – 3:15 Session IV: Letters to Others and Ourselves: Closing
The symposium is open to health care professionals, students, seniors, community members, and anyone who has experienced grief.
Participants will receive lunch, materials, and a copy of Farther Along: The Writing Journey of 13 Bereaved Mothers.
Since 2000, CAROL HENDERSON has offered Writing Toward Healing workshops for professionals and laypersons in medical centers, church communities, and universities across the United States. She has also led Reflective Writing workshops in France and the Middle East, as well as in the U.S. She is the author of Losing Malcolm: A Mother’s Journey Through Grief, (Univ. Press of Mississippi), selected by USA Today as one of five must-read summer memoirs in 2001; and Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers, (July 2012). She has also edited several memoirs and essay collections, most recently Wide Open Spaces: Call Stories (Circle Books). She leads ongoing writing groups and works one-on-one as a writing coach.
The bereaved mothers’ blog: https://writingtowardwholeness.wordpress.com/about/
Grieving Parent/Spouse/Child, Senior (65+) or Student: $35.00 by August 31; $45.00 after August 31 (Use discount code "pss" when registering online.)
Professionals and Community Members: $55.00 by August 31; $65.00 after August 31
Individual Sponsors: $100, includes one sponsor ticket or scholarship for event, name listed in the program and post event recognition on Project Compassion's website and e-letter. Please call our office directly to register as a sponsor.
(Reduced fees and scholarships are available)
Through knowledge and compassion, we will find new ways to be receivers of support and care so we may continue in the giving of care.
Please register at the bottom of page, call (919) 402-1844, or email
You can print our registration form and brochure from here.
Testimonials about Carol:
“I have been in many focus/therapy/reading groups in my lifetime. Carol shows the best group leadership skills I’ve encountered.” - Carolyn Cooper, Prof. of Nursing (emeritus), University of North Carolina
"This has been an amazing opportunity to reconnect with myself. I had no idea how disconnected I had become. The exercises have changed my life and instilled the curiosity and willpower for me to continue writing after today. You have changed my life and I THANK YOU!" – Kay Watson, Community Education Liaison, Hospice and Palliative Care Center Winston-Salem
"I have benefited both personally and professionally from Carol's skillful and imaginative teaching. I use her prompts myself and with my therapy clients and have them to be a wonderful new tool in my professional repertoire." – Nancy Durham, MSW, LCSW