Thursday, May 19, 2011

Writing as part of therapy

Here's an interesting project in which writing serves a particular purpose. Click the text below to read more.

The 360WestProject is a writing workshop for suicidal adolescents at the psych hospital where Robert Lavender is employed.

How many adolescents do you get in your class each year?

We get ten new adolescents a week at the psych hospital. Sometimes seven in one night. Around five-hundred a year. Some come from their ERs with pumped stomachs. Charcoal on their breath. Their bodies mutilated. Cuts up and down both arms and other places we’d just soon ignore. Some have fresh stitches beneath bandages. Their minds tortured with self-hate. Some are gothic, others only misfits that are bullied at school. They’ve been taken from their homes by DHR, betrayed by drug-addicted parents, physically abused, raped, suffered many broken relationships. Some have been sprinkled with the wrong pharmaceutical dust. “I’m here to get my meds straight,” they always tell me. Trapped inside the wrong capsule. This is our generation of behavioral medicine. Their stay is short. Usually three or four days. But, still, they feel like lunatics, losers, the lost, the damned. They come walking through the hospital door or riding on a gurney, squeaking down the corridor. Searched and showered. Rubbing their eyes, unable to wipe away the strangeness of their sight.