chapter  27
2 Pages

Compassion letter writing

This is a form of expressive writingÐfor which there is now good evidence of usefulness (Pennebaker, 1997). Writing to oneself helps people assimilate dif®cult experiences and can be used in many ways. When writing a letter to themselves from a compassionate point of view, the client can imagine hearing the voice of their compassionate image talking to them and they write that down, or they can put themselves into the compassionate-self mode and write from that position, or they can imagine a friend writing to them, or what they would like to say to a friend. Again, engage in behavioural experiments. Do this in the spirit of ®nding the tone that is helpful to that person. You can leave the room for a few minutes so people have some space to write ``in session'' or do it as out of session work. You can then read out their letters to them in a gentle voice, or invite them to read to you and see the tones they use. You can also use this as a training vehicle because to begin with clients may not write very compassionate letters, and part of your skill is to recognize this and shape their writing and focus.