Your Write Path
Poetry Therapy Workshops for groups/individuals,and
Writing Coaching.
A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.-Robert Frost.
Laurie McMillan
Writer, Poetry Therapist, RN
"The space and support Laurie provides has allowed me to become more comfortable with my inner voice. By exploring my writing without judgment and tapping into the present moment, I have become more confident in both my writing and my self. Through writing therapy I have been able to nurture a deeper connection between my voice and the physical world.." --Erin D., Individual participant.
  Upcoming Group Writing Classes
*Risking Together: Writing in Community. Wilkins School Community Center.
Saturdays 10am – 12pm October 10th – November 21st (6 sessions) No class Nov. 14th. $100 Begins Sat Oct 10th w/ Sheila Kelly. Register at: (412) 244-8458
*Writing as a Spiritual Journey Osher University of Pittsburgh Lifelong Learning: Begins Thursday Oct. 22nd.
*Memoir Writing Through Poetry: Begins Wed. Oct. 14th at Wilkinsburg Library FREE. Register at the library
* Ekphrastic experiences (Writing to Art) w/Sheila Kelly.Coming this November 2015 and Feb/March 2016, we are offering 2 different workshops at the Society for Contemporary Craft. These workshops will be in conjunction with their upcoming, socially-engaged exhibition, Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art. It’s the first time this prestigious, long-running gallery located in the Strip is offering writing along with its wide array of metal, clay, wood, fiber, book and mixed media arts classes!
"Poetry gives you permission to feel."--James Autry.
"I just wanted to thank you all for an absolutely stupendous workshop yesterday. I found it to be so helpful and instructive and inspiring. Just what the doctor ordered! In fact, forget the doctor! I will just come to the workshop, thank you very much!" --J.B.
 Upcoming Memior Workshop
Pittsburgh Memior Project - Begins Tues Oct.20th 10am -12 w/ Jane McCafferty at Carnegie East Liberty Library FREE
Be part of the city wide neighborhood memoir project sponsored by the Sprout Fund and a CMU proseed grant!!
"Maybe a reader's love of memoir is less an intrusive lust for confession than a hankering for the intimacy of the first person voice, the deeply satisfying sense of being spoken to privately. More than a story, we want a voice speaking softly, urgently in our ear." --Patricia Hampl.
"It's only through writing about events after they happen--as we craft our memoirs--that we come to understand what they mean."--William Silverman.
"You exude such positive energy – you are such gifted teachers. Your teaching process nurtures the mind and soul. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your taking the time to share your writing process with us. The love of the craft shines through you."--G.S.
"I can't thank you (Laurie & Jane) enough for the gift you have given me--not only the courage to start writing but the courage to become part of a group. This is quite a giant step forward for this isolationist."--N.S. 
Individual Poetry Therapy
Individual sessions are $30/hr PT helps people of all ages explore creativity, courage, hope and healing through the writing process!
I use journaling, poetry therapy, creative excercises & feedback to cultivate a useful session personally designed for your needs.
"Our poetry allows us to remember that our integrity is not in our body, that despite our physical limitations, our suffering and our fears, there is something in us that is not touched, something shining.  Our poetry is its voice.  To hear that voice is to know the power to heal. "--Catherine Haynes LMFT
"We too have to find particular ways of holding a space for the imagination of rendering it safe enough for creativity...where our work can be nurtured and find the motivation and courage to create, and learning to work with and trust the unconscious is a central part of the process." --Celia Hunt and Fiona Sampson.
“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used to utter fully…powerlessness and silence goes together.”~ Margaret Atwood
You don't need to be a 'writer' or a 'poet' to participate!
Sessions are process-oriented and confidential. We aim to let the self-critic take time off and allow personal voice to emerge unfettered. 
**Layering Our Writing Workshop**
w/ poet Valerie Bacharach!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Creative Writing Exchange
321 S. Graham St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Register: 412-337-4976
Do you want to lead a workshop?
What would you love to teach?
The Creative Writing Exchange is about people teaching each other aspects of writing! We are all experts with much to share.
Call Laurie to set up a workshop!
Examples of previous workshops: Humor in Writing
Spoken Word Workshop
Submission Workshop
Mary Oliver in the Green World Workshop
What is Poetry Therapy? It is one of the expressive arts first developed as bibliotherapy by librarians. Now it is used by many practioners world-wide in a variety of settings. Poetry Therapy offers poems and literature as tools for healing. Written expression has been a source of strength through the ages, and poetry in particular uses images and evokes feelings that tells of the human condition. As a person responds to a poem through writing it gives them a way of entering into the therapeutic process. Writing allows you to take the chaos out of the mind and organize it on the page and, 'expand the narrative,' of your life, as this group member reports.“Writing allowed me to expand my own story – I’m not just somebody living with HIV…” --Anonymous member, Mount Sinai Hospital Narrative Competence Psychotherapy Group.
It has been shown through numerous studies that therapeutic writing helps a variety of people with such things as:
Emotional expression and integration, stress reduction, self- esteem, increased sense of control, increased immune strength, decreased isolation and improved connection to others, fewer physician visits, less test anxiety, quicker healing of surgical incisions, enhanced personal relationships, and clarity of thought.
A PT is trained by the National Association of Poetry Therapy. See:
What is a Poetry Therapy Workshop? A Poetry Therapist chooses poems and stories that aim specifically at a theme that empathizes with the group or individual. Sessions give a sense of hope and courage for a client to foster new possibilities. After reading a poem and discussing it, members of a Poetry Therapy group write personal reflections in their journals, and often share them, promoting deep understanding and a sense of shared discovery and community.The group gains solidarity by sharing the creative gifts that arises from safety and nurturance.
"When we translate an experience into language we make the situation graspable."-- Dr. James Pennebaker, pioneer researcher of the benefits of expressive writing and the author of Opening Up.Pennebaker believes there’s something about the act of writing itself that helps us change how we feel about our lives. And he’s discovered that certain forms of writing may be better than others for the healing process. As with talk therapy, it appears that imposing some structure on writing and building a new narrative—as opposed to rehashing the same old stories and feelings over and over again—provides a perspective on and distance from life events.
The Lightest Touch
Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.
In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
-- David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
What is Expressive Writing? A facilitator helps you get in touch with the themes you want to write about and gives you opportunities to practice saying what you need to say without judgement. We are not worried or constricted as to punctuation, grammer or convention. This process may, or may not, lead to further writing work and even publishing if so desired. The heart of it is to express authentically and safely. We honor newborn writing as we would any newborn and, so, give the space and nurturance to the work that it needs. The facilitator aims to help you become fluent in this process of getting down what you feel, want, and know. This strengthens the muscle of our creativity which is the heart of all our other endeavors.
What is Writing Coaching? A writing coach provides motivation, excercises and a specifically designed program with goals in mind to accomplish what the writer wants to manifest. Included are writing tools, skills, examples and wisdom from writers around the world. A coach asks the writer about the project, what the writer hopes to accomplish with it, and what’s holding the writer back. A writing coach creates an environment of positive encouragement to help the writer gain clarity, organization and maintain consistent voice with an intended audience (or for the self) and produce a coherent, captivating narrative, whether fiction or nonfiction. As a published writer, I help with all aspects of the submission process.
Laurie, I wanted to let you know that we have continued on because you lit something inside all of us that was long-neglected.  Yes, there's that metaphor about showing the door vs. walking through it but without your guidance, we'd all still be walking into walls.~CH
 Past Workshops
Your Write Path Blog
By the time you've run your mind through it a hundred times, relentlessly worked out every tic of your terror, it's lost it's power over you...soon it's a story on a page, or more precisely, everybody's story on a page.~ John Gardner, writer.
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Laurie McMillan
Thank you for visiting!
A new Caregiver Writing Support Group is starting soon, contact Laurie if you are interested in joinging a group dedicated to the concerns of caregivers.
Laurie is founder of the Squirrel Hill Writers' Studio in 2006 which continues today under the leadership of Sheila Kelly at Squirrel Hill Library every Sunday at 2pm!
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