Background: Despite growing evidence demonstrating the psychotherapeutic potential of reading and writing poetry for various mental health problems, there remains limited evidence in relation to psychosis. This paper explores the therapeutic potential of poetry for psychosis by exploring the narratives of people with experience of psychosis who read and write poetry and people who are using poetry therapeutically within their practice. Methods: Nineteen participants were recruited to the research and data was collected via narrative interviews. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and subjected to Labovian narrative analysis. Results: Four themes were identified: i) the unsayable becoming sayable; ii) poetry supporting discovery, play and meaning making; iii) relational expression through poetry; and iv) poetry and recovery. Discussion: The research offers a poetic window into the way in which we might begin to understand the language of psychosis and the interpersonal communication challenge therein. The authors propose the concept of the “poetic wavelength” which can inform the education of practitioners who are working with people who experience psychosis. Understanding the “Poetic Wavelength” offers an alternative form of meaning making, developing the capacity of practitioners in being able to accurately detect emotional states, and to respond accordingly, ultimately improving the experience of service users.
Pearson, M., Rennick-Egglestone, S., & Winship, G. (2022). The poetic wavelength–a narrative interview study exploring the potential of poetry to support meaning making and recovery following psychosis. Psychosis, https://doi.org/10.1080/17522439.2022.2116475