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  • Writer's pictureLaura Ryder

The Weekly Catharsis

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

For a long time, I have had vague plans of forming a cathartic writing community online. In 2014 I undertook a year long weekly writing challenge with a good friend. The aim was to connect despite busy lives and hone writing skills, but the cathartic element of the project quickly became apparent. Fast forward to my psychotherapy training and journaling became a useful part of my journey. Now it's something I regularly recommend for my own clients. Why? Primarily catharsis - releasing what's stuck in your head and maybe playing on a constant loop. Spelling doesn't matter. Grammar doesn't matter. Sounding smart doesn't matter. It is simply a vehicle to give what's in your head an escape option, and as the phrase goes: it's better out than in. Releasing the emotions might be enough. Or maybe getting what's in your head down on paper will help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, allow you to get to know yourself a bit better and perhaps signpost what you might need to explore further.

The coronavirus pandemic has gifted me some extra time I don't usually have. Coupled with the coronavirus' potential impact on mental health, now seems like a good time to bring my formerly vague plans to fruition. The basic idea is that writing will help the writers, and anonymously published pieces will give solace or encouragement to readers. Anyone needing more in-depth support is of course welcome to get in touch to arrange formal counselling sessions with me, or so I can pass on contact details for colleagues.


1) I will publish a key phrase on Saturdays on my website, my Facebook page and my Instagram page.

2) Participants (everyone is welcome to take part) take that phrase as their starting point and write whatever feels right (anything from an outpouring of emotion to a piece of fiction, a single paragraph up to a full-length essay).

3) Participants email what they have written to

4) I will ANONYMOUSLY publish a selection of pieces (your name or details WILL NOT BE ATTACHED TO YOUR PIECE OF WRITING) on this blog under the heading THE WEEKLY CATHARSIS.

Week 11: I'm feeling...

Week 10: Escape

Week 9: Comfort

Week 8: Write a letter to someone

Week 7: Something I miss/don't miss about life before isolation

Week 6: What I need this week is...

Week 5: Something I have learned about myself in isolation

Week 4: Family

Week 3: Time

Week 2: I am angry

Week 1: Coronavirus

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Apr 18, 2020

Family - I would dearly love to see all my family. I think of the birthdays that might have to be ok with a card rather than a hug. I think of a family wedding that will hopefully be able to go ahead even if there are a few tweaks needed. Family are the best (most of the time!)

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