Class Title: Finding YOUR Story through Therapeutic Writing
Instructor: Jennifer Westrom
Class Term: June 5-July 3, 2017
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You have a story, but you can't find it. You want to write, but you feel stuck. Through daily and weekly exercises led by a writer and licensed therapist, this class will help you FIND the stories you have to tell.
The first three weeks of the course will consist of very brief (5 minutes) daily writing exercises and one phone call with Jennifer. In week four, we will review your writing to excavate the stories you have to tell and add some very basic plot structure to at least one story. In order to benefit from this course, students need to commit to 5-10 minutes of writing most days. Students who attempt to do all the exercises at once will not gain the same benefits from the course material.
At the end of this class, students will have a very basic outline of at least one life story.
Instruction/Communication Method: Materials will be distributed each day via email, Monday-Friday. Writers will have one 20 minute phone call with the instructor each weekend of the course. Because of the deeply personal writing work, previous students have preferred to work one-on-one with the instructor rather than sharing with the group.
In each of the first three weeks writers will respond to 5 different writing prompts over 5 days. Writers are asked to work daily, but very briefly (5-10 minutes of free writing Mon-Fri).
- Unit 1: Exploring Your People and Places. Writers will respond to five therapeutic writing prompts about significant people and events in their lives. Writers will complete the week with a 20 minute phone call with instructor.
- Unit 2: Exploring your Situations. Writers will respond to five therapeutic writing prompts about values and feelings (positive and negative). Writers will complete the week with a 20 minute phone call with instructor.
- Unit 3: Exploring your Story. Writers will respond to five therapeutic writing prompts more specific to writing their story. Writers will complete the week with a 20 minute phone call with instructor.
- Unit 4: Plotting your Stories. Writers will process and review their writings. Writers will use outlining tools to move their memories into basic story form. Writers will complete the week with a 20 minute phone call with instructor.
Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required
Beginning writers are encouraged to join. Communication will be via email and phone.
Time Commitment: Each week, writers are asked to commit to 5-10 minutes of writing most days and participate in one private 20-minute phone call with instructor.
Tuition/Fees for this course
SCN members: $128. Non-SCN members: $160.
Jennifer Westrom earned her MA degree in religious studies from the University of Chicago and her BA degree in literature and philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2010, she sold her stake in her successful seminar company for creative women entrepreneurs and spent a year and a half traveling solo across the United States, Canada, the Arctic, and Africa, including a 1,000 mile solitary trek through the Arctic wilderness. Her writings about her personal, psychological, and spiritual journey were followed by thousands online. She has worked professionally as a writer and editor. She earned her MS in adult mental health counseling from the University of North Texas in 2014. Visit her website.
Praise for Jennifer's Classes
- Buckle up!! This is going to be a heck of a ride. Jennifer Westrom knows how to weave the missing threads of our stories so that we can macerate a wonderful picture. Her consistent communication with students and guidance through the assignments is amazing. She is warm, encouraging, and extremely trustworthy. Working with her has brought me to places in my stories that I didn't know were there. Writing is no longer a fearful trek but a thrilling adventure. Thanks Jennifer! —Janice S., Houston TX
- This course was extremely interactive and rewarding... Jennifer Westrom has amazing insight into women's challenges in the latter decades of one's life. Definitely a marvelous opportunity to write and consider, consider and rewrite! —Joan C., Coeur d'Alene ID
- Jennifer Westrom provided thought-provoking writing prompts that really assisted me in digging deeper, in which case several stories emerged. Jennifer was patient, thoughtful, and supportive. I recommend her class to anyone interested in discovering what stories they have to tell. —Cyndi L., Riverton UT
- This course exceeded my expectations. Jennifer Westrom not only supplied assignments which made the process of writing less daunting and more manageable, but her feedback, conversations, and accessibility were insightful and encouraging. By the end of course, I felt like a writer! And I continue to write and develop the techniques and habits which I started through this course. Thank you, Jennifer! —Mary C., Erie PA
- Talking to Jennifer is like talking to an old, cherished friend who always has your back. This is my first Story Circle Network class but not my last. "Finding YOUR Story Through Therapeutic Writing" is exactly what it implies and the perfect start for me. Jennifer Westrom really helped me tear down walls and build confidence. Thank you, Jennifer, I look forward to learning more from you! —Linda D., Bonham TX
- The course materials were wonderful, useful and easy to use. Well worth taking the class for. I got some great insights on how to use and write for a blog. And I wrote some things I wouldn't have considered doing for a blog. It also got me motivated to get going on my blog and to do some other writing. Jennifer Westrom' comments about my writing were wonderfully encouraging and motivating. She made me feel like a writer. Her workbook is concise and workable tool that I'll refer to often. —Bonnie F., Brookings OR
- Jennifer Westrom was very encouraging; one of the most useful parts of this class for me. This class profoundly influenced my approach to writing. Jennifer's material is not only useful and inspiring, it made me laugh! —Lauren R., Austin TX
- I will be referring to the workbooks over and over—I really liked how she had the materials prepared and easy to access and read. The quality and quantity of information was so good. It was a lot of information, but that's what I wanted. She asks such great questions. I've been thinking about how to do a blog for a long time and Jennifer Westrom' workbooks and encouragement took me where I needed to go. I wish the class could go on and on. —Margaret S., Austin TX
- Jennifer Westrom' comments were extremely helpful and welcome. Jennifer has inspired me to become a regular blogger, knowing I have something worthwhile to share and giving me the tools to do it effectively.
—Robyn H., San Antonio NM
- Jennifer Westrom did a great job with the presentation of this course. Very thorough and easy to follow. —Martha S., Danville CA