Ways Poetry Can Support You in Therapy

If you’re struggling with mental health and want to improve your self-care, attending therapy is an effective option. Working on your mental health in therapy, however, can be daunting. To help you on your journey, here are some ways poetry can support you in therapy. 


Read a grounding poem before and after your session


Working with a therapist can feel intimidating, especially if you’re seeking help for the first time. To help calm your nerves, read a poem that grounds you before and after your session. Whether you find a sense of peace from mindful nature-inspired poetry or emotional modern free verse, reading poetry can help you to feel empowered before a session as well as grounded after a difficult discussion. Consider compiling a list of beloved relaxing poems you often return to. Create a note in your phone with a list that is easily accessible, incentivizing you to continue this practice.


Search for poetry collections you can both relate to and escape into


When you’re healing from mental health struggles, you might feel isolated in your experience. As you’re doing therapy, consider searching for poetry collections you can relate to. If you’re struggling with grief or anxiety, for example, reading collections that explore these experiences can help you feel less alone. Also, if you’re struggling to explain your emotions, poems can help you better understand yourself, and allow you to better communicate in therapy. You might even consider sharing specific pieces with your therapist. On the other hand, as you work through challenges, you’ll likely need space to escape as well. Read collections that are narrative-driven, inspiring, or joyful. 


Write poems about your struggles, progress, or insights from therapy


Many poets originally began writing as a creative outlet. Since writing poetry can help you process your emotions and experiences in a cathartic way, apply this practice to your mental health journey. Consider writing poems about your therapy. Similar to reading a poem before and after your sessions, writing poetry during these times can help you feel more at ease. Create prompts for yourself such as writing about a particular moment you processed in your session, progress you’ve witnessed in your life, or insights you’ve gained. 


Ask your therapist for their ideas


In your next session, ask your therapist for ideas on incorporating poetry into your self-care routine surrounding therapy sessions. They might have creative suggestions you haven’t considered—for example, they can provide you with specific prompts based on your conversations. Additionally, your therapist can help you set goals around reading and writing poetry to cope with therapy., like the ones stated above. 

Hopefully, these suggestions encourage you to use poetry as a self-care tool as you work on your mental health in therapy. For even more mental health and poetry content, check out our guides on how to write poetry about mental health and how to start a self-care journal.