11 – Poetic Therapy

November 11, 2010 at 21:02 4 comments

I want to share a method of guiding someone – almost anyone – to write a poem. I learned this while studying occupational therapy on an intensive course in Dworp, Belgium in 2006. I’ve used this method for several years with a lot of different kind of people: it works for people with mental handicap, it works for the elderly, it works for people with memory deficits, it works for children, it works for you and it works for me.

You better start out some easier subjects such as animals, colors or seasons. You may then proceed in writing poems about places, people, emotions and finally of yourself. The method is very versatile and pretty quick. You may also use it to create a poem with a group. The guiding questions make it simple to get words out of people. Some of the most epic ones have been made by people with autistic features being composed solely of sounds, not words. Extremely impressive and poetic. Hopefully also empowering.

Today I used this method with a client of mine and I asked whether I could publish her first poem in my blog. I got the idea when she told her favourite subject at school was writing. Here it is in English, originally this was made in Finnish. She said this would be a good way to describe the Finnish autumn for a foreigner from the opposite side of the world.  After writing this she analyzed it and read it aloud for her roommate. The roommate thought it was fabulous. The writer was very happy about her poem and in getting something back which she thought was already lost.


Colourful, dark.

Allows reading relaxed

It snows early, unexpectedly



So here’s the method called Eleven:

1. One word – choose a topic – for example pick an animal

2. Two words – describe the animal

3. Three words – what does the animal do – include a verb

4. Four words – what happens then? Something unexpected or surprising, maybe a twist in the story

5. One word – one, final strong word – how does this thing make you feel? Which word sums it all up?

Like this:

A Poem.

Delirius, succint.

Captures a moment

Thinks highly of itself.

The fool.

I sincerely hope you write your own poem and send it in the comments.


Entry filed under: Occupational Therapy. Tags: , .

Valkee – light up your brain Tetris – a poor girl’s EMDR?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Busy relaxin’ « Dalai Panda  |  November 11, 2010 at 21:36

    […] 9) Surprise your friends and family by writing poems about them. […]

  • 2. Meri, Helsinki  |  November 12, 2010 at 07:28

    Tuore valkeus.
    Keitän munia hellalla
    Koira kuorsaa, se ketku

  • 3. Polkkapossu  |  December 6, 2010 at 16:19

    Hei darl,
    Tällaiseen on tietty pakko osallistua 🙂

    Alkava kylmyys.
    Nyt villahousut kaapista.
    Yön rannassa oranssi roihuaa.

  • 4. Meri  |  December 6, 2010 at 20:55

    Hahaa! Viimeinkin joku avasi runosuonensa!

    Kiitän – kuinkas muuten – runolla:

    Hurmaava, harkitsematon
    Kokki, isä, puoliso
    Roolien ruuhkaa keski-iän kynnyksellä


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