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  • Jule Dixon

Haiku Therapy: Using Poetry for Self-Expression and Emotional Healing

Haiku therapy is a form of therapy that uses the writing and reading of haiku poems as a tool for self-expression and emotional healing. Haiku is a type of Japanese poetry that typically consists of three lines and follows a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. The simplicity and brevity of haiku make it an effective medium for exploring emotions and experiences in a concise and profound way.

Haiku therapy is based on the idea that the process of writing and reading haiku can be therapeutic and healing. Haiku poems are short and simple, but they can be rich in meaning and emotion. By focusing on the present moment and the sensory details of one's surroundings, haiku can help individuals become more mindful and aware of their emotions. Writing haiku can also be a way for individuals to process and express difficult emotions in a safe and supportive environment.

Haiku therapy has gained attention in recent years for its effectiveness in helping individuals express their emotions and develop greater self-awareness. Some studies have found that expressive writing, which includes haiku writing, can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. For example, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that expressive writing can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Getting Started with Haiku Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you are interested in trying haiku therapy, here is a step-by-step guide to get started:
1. Set aside some time for writing. Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can focus on writing without distractions. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes.
2. Choose a topic. Think about something that is weighing on your mind or a strong emotion that you are experiencing. It could be something positive, like joy or gratitude, or something negative, like sadness or anger.
3. Write a draft. Use the 5-7-5 syllable pattern to write a draft of your haiku. Do not worry about making it perfect - just focus on capturing the essence of your emotions and experiences.
4. Refine your haiku. Read your haiku aloud and make any necessary edits. Think about the sensory details that you have included and whether they accurately capture your experience.
5. Reflect on your haiku. Take some time to reflect on your haiku and what it means to you. How does it capture your emotions and experiences? What insights have you gained from writing it?
6. Share your haiku. Consider sharing your haiku with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. Sharing your haiku can help you gain additional insights and perspectives and can also provide a sense of validation and support.

In addition to writing your own haiku, you can also read and reflect on haiku written by others. There are many books and websites dedicated to haiku poetry, and you may find that reading and reflecting on haiku written by others can help you gain new insights and perspectives.

Haiku therapy can be used as standalone therapy or in combination with other forms of therapy. If you are interested in exploring haiku therapy as a form of therapy, it is recommended that you speak with a mental health professional who has experience using expressive therapies and can guide you in this process.

1. Lepore, S. J., & Smyth, J. M. (2002). The Writing Cure: How Expressive Writing Promotes Health and Emotional Well-Being. American Psychological Association.
2. Sloan, D. M., Marx, B. P., Epstein, E. M., & Dobbs, J. L. (2008). Expressive Writing and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Effects on Trauma Symptoms
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