Journaling for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Today we talk with Caylie Jeffery about her mental health and wellbeing writing workshops.

Why  are you passionate about your workshop, and where did your passion stem from?

I started writing as a child (and then as parent) to connect with my core beliefs, my fetal intuition, my true  self. Letters to family members, journal entries, blog posts, to-do  lists… all of them assisted me to get to know what was truly going on  inside my head and my heart.

I write to debrief, to reflect, to understand and to move on. I rarely write when life is happily busy, or at a status quo, preferring to write when I’m at an emotional  extreme, because I feel feelings so intensely, there needs to be an overflow outlet to stop me imploding – my trusty pen. I  prefer to write by hand as the pace of my pen (a fast-flowing one,  mind-you!) matches the speed of  my thoughts. I can also press down harder when I’m angry and make BIG,  FAT, CHUNKY CAPITALS when I’m FURIOUS, without having to format the font  size afterwards! My classes are laptop-free, encouraging people to  reconnect with the written word, rather than the typed one.

My passion and joy for this class comes from being given the ability to share my experiences and techniques  with others, so they can make some sense of their lives, past, present and future.

Why should people attend your workshop?

I  watch people who attend my workshops go  from wariness and curiosity, to concentration and thoughtfulness,  leaving with a renewed sense of peace and purpose, often with projects  in mind. I am encouraging and respectful of each person in the group,  and the feedback I have received is really special.  I work closely with bereaved parents, people with cancer and other  long-term illnesses, which can be a delicate place to tread, but as a  nurse and counselor, I have an acute understanding of the issues people  face, and am always mindful of how we should work  together for the benefit of the student.

What makes your workshop special?

I  am an authentic and down-to-earth person, with real examples of  frailties that I share openly with the people who come to my workshops.  Empathy and compassion are two of my biggest strengths, which when  teamed with humour and facilitation skills, create a fun and lively workshop environment  where people can work within their comfort zones or push themselves to a  deeper space.

What do attendees experience from the workshop?

When I  bring out coloured crayons, people always raise their eyebrows! It's never a didactic session of me 'teaching'. 100% class participation for  90% of the workshop. I start off fun and  light, with colour, shapes and music, easing people into a place where  they can comfortably tap into what their brains are telling them. Then I  introduce different writing styles and activities that start to scratch  the surface. Feedback I have received has  said that people feel as if they have a new set of tools to work with,  both as writers, and as people, for when they are going through life  turmoil, or trying to manage issues from the past.

What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to running your workshops?

I love to  meet new people, and find out why they are there for the workshop.  People all come with different ideas and expectations, they ll leave  feeling terrific about what they just experienced  - most of it comes from the work they put into their writing. I love  watching enlightened faces emerging from the words they write on paper.