Writing through Trauma to Truth

When something traumatic happens, the call to the page is born not of inspiration so much as a fierce need to reclaim your life-story.


Writing about trauma is often an attempt to make sense and meaning; to unravel what can’t easily be felt or said; to stitch torn cloth together again with well-crafted words that make, from struggle, something good and beautiful and true – for yourself and for future readers.

It’s hard work, and worthwhile, but where and how to begin such a healing, transformative practice? In Writing through Trauma to Truth, you will work privately with an experienced teacher and receive individualized support as you write through your tough topics. With short readings selected to reflect your experience and guided writing exercises customized for you, you’ll learn how to

  • explore the territory of your own painful experiences gently, with compassion;
  • establish distance from personal pain by using artistic tools such as persona and symbolism;
  • identify the heart of your story;
  • re-frame traumatic experience into crafted writing that is meaningful and true.

If you are a writer with “something to write through,” you’ll get 100% of your teacher’s attention as you discover how to make art from struggle — art which, ultimately, both expresses and ennobles the height, breadth, and depth of the human condition.

Shawna created a safe “container” that enabled me to feel safe and take risks to write about aspects of my experience. Shawna’s facilitation style was consistent, warm, affirming, sensitive, responsive, and relational. As the sessions continued, I felt my curiosity growing and my playfulness in writing re-emerged. My love of creative writing was reignited after 45 years of lying dormant. As a trauma psychologist, I can fully endorse the tremendous value of writing as a healing modality and Shawna’s facilitation is well attuned to this. -Dr. Margaret Jordan, Ph.D.


Shawna has dedicated an enormous part of her writing life to the safety and inclusion of both aspiring and established writers in literary spaces. Your words, your stories, your hearts are in good hands with her." -Stacia Fleegal, director

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