Using Creative Writing for Self-Harm Recovery

September 16, 2021 Kim Berkley

The stories we tell ourselves can often become self-fulfilling prophecies. Using creative writing for self-harm recovery is one way to rewrite the narrative of your life in a way that can affect real, positive change.

Before Using Creative Writing as a Self-Harm Recovery Tool

It's important, when exploring self-harm in creative writing, to be aware of your own triggers and boundaries first. If, for example, you've felt strong self-harm cravings after watching or reading something to do with self-injury (and especially if you have had a relapse from that exposure), writing about self-injury may not be a viable recovery tool for you at this time.

As always, the guidance of a therapist or other mental health professional would be invaluable here. As it is, I can only speak to my own experiences using this approach and offer some ideas if you (and your therapist, if applicable) think tackling self-harm topics with creative writing might prove to be a healthy outlet for you.

How I've Used Self-Harm Creative Writing to Heal

For me personally, writing has been one of the most powerful tools in my recovery toolbox. Journaling is one way to sort through the many thoughts and emotions you'll need to deal with during the healing process, but there are other options too. I consider the work I do here for HealthyPlace, for instance, to fall under the category of creative nonfiction. 

I've found fiction to be a welcome refuge as well. I don't often write about self-harm directly in my poetry or prose, nor do any of my published interactive fiction novels include any reference to it. However, I've found fiction a cathartic conduit for tackling some of the darker thoughts and emotions I've experienced as a result of my history with self-harm.

If you'd like to try using creative writing in your self-harm recovery process but aren't sure where to start, here are a few ideas you can try on for size.

Have you used creative writing to recover from self-harm? If you have any additional ideas, comments, or suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments—you never know who you might help or inspire.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2021, September 16). Using Creative Writing for Self-Harm Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Author: Kim Berkley

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