Poetry Therapy


This course examines the interrelationships between poetry and psychology, with a focus on transformations of meaning in words and lives. Topics will include the varying functions of poetry over the life span, poets’ reflections on how and why they write, poetry as political witness and community catalyst, therapeutic uses of poetry, and the distinctive qualities of “poetic” language.


Transformative processes are integral to psychological perspectives on poetry – how poetry is written, what poetry reflects, and what it has the potential to evoke. Poets’ transformations of experience and perspective, along with transformative use of language, underlie the making of poetry. Transformation is reflected in the functions and appeals poetry can have for readers and writers of different ages, and it is sought in the practice of poetry therapy.


There is a long tradition of psychological study of poetry and the transformations entailed in its making. We can find – and extend for ourselves – psychological applications, including from developmental psychology, counseling and psychoanalysis, cognitive studies, social psychology, humanistic psychology, and research on creativity. Poetry, in turn, can be a powerful and evocative vehicle for understanding and communicating transformative processes as studied by various psychological subdisciplines.


Learning Objectives:


1.    Increase appreciation for poetic use of language, how poems are made, what “poems make”...
2.    Review and explore the implications of diverse psychological perspectives on how people change vis-a-vis the writing and reading of poetry
3.    Develop a forum for the interdisciplinary discussion of poetry and psychology. Some of us bring pre-existing interests and skills from the Humanities; others from the Social Sciences. Together, as a group and individually, we will endeavor to broaden and deepen our understanding of the variety of “transformations” discussed.
4.    Explore how poetic explorations of the human experience can sometimes deepen, sometimes fundamentally challenge standard psychological approaches to understanding.
5.    Consider the significance of poetry for the “community,” historically (including politically) and in our own time, place and college.


The Center for Creative Arts Therapy is approved as a continuing education provider for Social Workers and Counselors by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation, Approved Continuing Education Sponsor, (#159.001383). To learn more about continuing education, please visit our Continuing Education page.


This online course provides 6 CEUs for Social Workers and Counselors, Creative Arts Therapists and Expressive Arts Therapists. This course does not qualify for Expressive Arts Therapy coursework requirements and can not be used towards the REAT credentials.

Poetry Therapy

  • Course Completion. You will have 30 days for 6 credit hour course, 45 days for a 9 hour course, and 90 days for a 15 hour course from the date of registration to complete it.


    Disclaimer. Anyone is welcome to take this course for information and inspiration! We reserve the right to determine eligibility for online registration courses. In order to receive continuing education units, upon request, professionals must show evidence of identity and mental health or creative arts therapy credentials and/or certification/registration from a nationally recognized certification/registration agency. For our online REAT track students, you may be asked show evidence of enrollment in a master's level or higher or equivalent course of study before beginning courses. To learn more about continuing education, please visit our Continuing Education page.


    Scope of Practice. Materials that are included in these online courses may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your profession's standards.


    Refund Policy. Due to the nature of our online learning system, and proprietary information shared with students upon entering our Learning Portal, we do not issue refunds for our online learning programs/courses.

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Center for Creative Arts Therapy | Counseling & Arts-Based Psychotherapy in Downers Grove
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