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The use of poetry in the construction of meaning in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy and mental health studies

Caroline Roe (Psychotherapist and Director of Harmless, Nottingham, UK)
and
Anne Garland (Nurse Consultant in Psychological Therapies, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Nottingham, UK)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Article publication date: 16 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper is a shared endeavour between client (Caroline) and therapist (Anne) which aims to examine the use of poetry in the construction of meaning in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBP).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a narrative account of the early stages of therapy and the role poetry played in developing an effective therapeutic relationship and in shaping the CBP formulation, which guides treatment. The text is illustrated with examples of poetry and song lyrics that have been used to construct meaning in the therapy and the authors' own reflections on this process. The paper begins with a brief outline of the theoretical principles of CBP and then moves on to discuss the use of metaphor as part of the therapy and its role in the development of a productive therapeutic relationship.

Findings

The paper provides a reflective narrative from the perspective of client and therapist and invites the reader to consider making links between the science of evidence based practice and the artistry necessary and inherent to the practice of CBP.

Originality/value

The interacting cognitive subsystems model (Teasdale and Barnard, 1993) from cognitive science is introduced as a theoretical rationale to provide an account of the efficacy and effectiveness of poetry in this context. This is the first time an evidence based theory from cognitive science has been used as the basis for an account of the utility of poetry in constructing meaning in CBP.

Keywords

Citation

Roe, C. and Garland, A. (2011), "The use of poetry in the construction of meaning in cognitive behavioural psychotherapy and mental health studies", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 93-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/13619321111178032

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited