Poetry healing

Find solace, insight and inspiration through the powerful healing of words, song and poems, your own writing and connection with others who understand.



No matter how you feel, a poem can meet you there and has the power to transform.
Poems can offer healing, reassurances, hopefulness, insight, and like songs, are a wonderful container for strong emotions which can help bring new perspectives and clarity into our lives. The magic of poetry healing is in that wonderful connection you feel when you see and hear words composed by another, which softens your heart and relaxes your mind.

There’s an important shared connection: someone else has been there and come through the other side.


In a poetry healing setting, this is developed even further, the connections are forged between you and others in the group. The whole group holds the emotions you’re feeling in a safe space. Your individual response to the healing words is also taken deeper through writing your own response to the poem – a letter, dialogue, notes, a poem, a story, diary. Then through sharing written responses to the healing poem, each person is accepted, validated, appreciated, valued and respected, so each one of us comes to know and understand our healing journeys in life on a deeper level. The words are there to return to again and again, and the writing stimuli is always there to give new insights at whatever point in our lives we’re at.

Passing on that poem to someone in need, is a joy in itself, just like sharing your favourite book or film with someone you know would really appreciate it.

The reading of poetry has been scientifically proven to have health benefits, calming the mind and easing the breathing. The act of writing takes you deeper into the meditation of it and the sharing then brings you into a wider family of understanding. Poems, like songs and music, has an enormous capacity to bring healing into our everyday lives.



One woman told me her story of the tremendous healing she’d received through poetry, when she had first come across Mary Oliver’s ‘Wild Geese’, especially the opening line: ‘You do not have to be good.’ This released her from the guilt she felt about just existing in her own right, and opened up possibilities for her, in the reassurance that it was absolutely fine for her to get to know and to experience what it is that she loves in life.

Another woman found deep solace in Rumi’s ‘The Guesthouse’ which offered her deep acceptance of all her feelings, and a way to find peace of mind, whilst facing a terminal diagnosis of cancer: ‘Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent / as a guide from beyond.’

A man who shared his healing journey told me what a positive difference David Whyte’s ‘House of Belonging’ had on him, in helping him to perceive his house in a new light, opening up to him the idea of reclaiming it as his home, in the wake of being newly widowed. He could then emotionally move back into his home, instead of rejecting it, and wanting to escape. ‘This is the temple / of my adult aloneness / and I belong / to that aloneness / as I belong to my life.’



Jeff Foster’s ‘Kissed by life’ offered much consolation and hope to a woman whose son had just died: ‘let the scenery of life / break our hearts into millions of tiny pieces’, which are then later fused ‘back together again’ in ‘the very same scenery’ as if ‘we’d been kissed by life’.

There are poems for every occasion, whether it’s grief, love, laughter, celebration of life, friendship, and they are made all the richer for sharing them in a safe, relaxed and creative atmosphere.

If you want to experience for yourself the uplifting and healing qualities of poetry, then Bethany will be running two hour long sessions that are open to groups or individuals as well as a number of whole day workshops.

For more information or to book a poetry healing retreat day, please contact experienced healer and published poet, Bethany Rivers (M.A.)

Bespoke courses for groups and individuals.

Transform your life with healing words.

Radio Show about poetry healing, who it’s for and how it works, broadcast 16th March 2015.