“Psychotherapy and Memoirs:
The Redemptive Arts”
a WORKSHOP with Patricia Reis
Sunday, December 4, 2016, 1 to 4 pm
Beam Classroom, Visual Arts Center, Bowdoin College
239 Maine Street, Brunswick, Maine
Members $30; Non-Members $40 | REGISTER HERE
There are clear parallels between psychotherapy and memoir. Both engage the psyche in important ways. We tell our life stories, and we listen to what life stories tell us. Psychotherapy relies on our ability to remember the past and through reflection construct a more invigorating life narrative. Memoir has memory in its etymology, and is also in pursuit of reconstructing the past. Both are driven by a desire to experience our lives through emotion, instinct, and in the case of memoir, through literary craft.
Research confirms that writing about emotionally charged memories is good for the health of the writer, not simply as confessional relief, but as cognitive restructuring, seeing one’s life struggle in a new way. The same could be said for therapy. There is a drive to understand our individual stories as part of the human condition, past the narratives of shame and blame. Good writing and good therapy, one written and one oral, work with life narratives in such a way as to offer repair, reparation and redemption. Yet there are important differences.
This workshop focuses on memoir and explores the wisdom and revelation gained in both writing and reading memoir. Memoir traverses various narrative struggles from grief, recovery, trauma, survival, family dramas, relationships, political unrest, and many other vicissitudes of the human condition. Several prominent memoirs will be examined for their ability to enlarge our capacity for empathy and compassion.
Patricia Reis is a writer and psychotherapist. The author of five books, including the recent memoir, Motherlines: Love, Longing and Liberation (2016), she is also the creator/producer of the DVD, Arctic Refuge Sutra. She has a BA from the University of Wisconsin in English Literature, and an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in Sculpture. In 1986, she earned an MA from the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Depth Psychology and has a private psychotherapy practice. She divides her time between Portland, Maine and Nova Scotia