Beyond Trigger Warnings: Working towards a strengths-based, trauma-informed model of resilience in the university creative writing workshop

Australasian Association of Writing Programs
Publication Type:
Journal Article
TEXT, 2017, 21, (Special 42)
Issue Date:
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The creative writing workshop is an environment that relies on intimacy, empathy, trust, and connection. While the writer’s workshop in the university is not a therapeutic space, it is not a place of emotional neutrality. The way students experience the workshop as a place of safety or risk can affect their capacity to learn. How do we promote resilience among our students, particularly those experiencing mental illhealth or trauma? While trigger warnings may have a place in creating a safe space, they risk drawing attention to negative emotions and negative experiences, narrowing the focus of the threatened individual, and this may have the unwanted effect of reducing the capacity to learn. This paper explores two frameworks for a strengthsbased model of trauma-informed practice in the creative writing workshop that builds on positive emotions, positive meaning, autonomy, competence and social relatedness.
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