I had the pleasure of the company of Ted Bowman, Author, Educator and a member of the American National Association for Poetry Therapy yesterday afternoon - and what a pleasure it was for me and my colleague at Cruse Bereavement Care, Jon C.
Ted is in the UK for his annual visit to travel all over the country, giving talks and leading inspirational workshops, focused chiefly in the area of loss, hope and transition. Today, he is here in Newbury, talking to other local educators, and this evening working with us at Cruse to discover how we can practice self-care in the caring professions.
Already familiar with Ted's spoken and written work, I can be sure that there will be emphasis on deep listening and witnessing of our own stories, those of our clients and within our own communities - and the use of poetry and writing as a resource for us, both at times of "Loss of Dreams" and to help in "Finding Hope When Dreams Have Shattered" - the titles of Ted's first two books.
His third book, just recently published, and entitled "Crossroads - Stories at the Intersections" is a collection of musings and reflections on different life issues - birth, marriage, divorce, growing old, dementia, bereavement, lamentation, reconciliation and rejoicing, personal observations in poetry and prose of how Ted has experienced these events and feelings, and interlaced with other authors poems which have struck a particular chord with him.
The wonderful poem entitled "The Archbishop Chairs the First Session" (click link then scroll down) by Ingrid de Kok, about Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa pierced me to the core - and there are many other pages that I know will give readers considerable pause for their own thoughts and reflections.
"Crossroads" is a marvellous resource for anyone who is interested in their own or other's life writing in any form - when Ted arrived yesterday, I already had practically every other page flagged up with sticky markers to ask about various thoughts and reflections of my own! Such rich pickings can be gleaned from all three (very inexpensive) books, which I would suggest should be on the bookshelves of anyone interested in the arts of living and communication. (No affiliation, just enthusiasm!)
Jon and I share a mutual enthusiasm for creative ways of working with clients as fellow human beings, including the use of poetry and therapeutic writing. It's such a pleasure to see these ways of seeing and sharing now becoming more incorporated in mainstream therapeutic work here in the UK - and it is thanks to the advocacy of people like Jon and Ted, two true gentle-men, that information about the creative therapies is being disseminated and integrated.
Long may it continue!
(Details of Ted's books and workshops are available from him at