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Expressive Writing: Dealing With Emotions and Stress Through Written Words

In 1992, Ronni Miller had an idea that would change the course of her life, as well as the lives of many others. Inspired by her love of writing, as well as her background in advertising and teaching, she started Write It Out, a motivational expressive writing program for people of all ages designed to achieve inner happiness through writing. Over the past 24 years, Ronni taught thousands of people how to connect with themselves in order to understand their own stories, using a variety of techniques: warm up exercises, writing activities, positive feedback from peers and projects ranging from memoirs to fiction to poetry to plays.

After 10 years of working with individuals of all ages, Ronni moved into the health care space, teaching workshops at hospitals in Sarasota, Florida. Four years ago, she started working with the Center for Building Hope, a non-profit offering free information, programs and services to cancer patients and their family members and caregivers. At the Center for Building Hope, her expressive writing programs have proven an excellent match for people dealing with cancer, as well as loved ones caring for family members or friends undergoing treatments.

In these classes, people often write about their feelings and frustrations, sometimes touching on their diagnosis, but also their memories, hopes, and dreams. Ronni’s mission is to make the program as positive as possible; many patients and caregivers’ attitudes have changed tremendously as they use writing as an outlet for their emotions. One woman, coping with her husband’s cancer diagnosis and resulting anger and depression, used fiction as a way to come to terms with everything happening in their marriage. Another, a breast cancer patient who was initially unenthusiastic about the concept of expressive writing, ultimately found that poetry helped her express herself; now, her poems and illustrations are published, a testament to what she achieved through Ronni’s class.

The success of the Write It Out program is immense, and Ronni truly believes it’s her mission in life: to help people find their place in their journey and to show how positivity makes a huge difference in coming to grips or terms with where you are, physically, emotionally, and mentally. The act of expression through writing has positively impacted patients and caregivers alike, giving them an outlet and means of expressing themselves during trying times.

published March 18, 2015 on Spectra Care an internet site.