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University of Iowa News Release


June 10, 2010

UI to host creative writing seminar for professionals in human services

This summer, the University of Iowa School of Social Work will host a creative writing seminar for professionals in human services who want to explore using the written word for growth and healing. Offered for elective or continuing education credit, the course will take place July 23-26 in North Hall.

Founded in 1991 by Tom Walz, professor emeritus of social work, the workshop is designed for people of all writing abilities who are interested in using creative writing as a professional tool. The four-day workshop includes lectures, writing time and critique sessions in a supportive, noncompetitive environment. Sessions will focus on creative writing techniques and the intersection of creative writing and human service practice.

"The process and product of creative expression can be very meaningful to helping professionals, providing a form of self-care and promoting personal growth," said Mercedes Bern-Klug, associate professor of social work in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "The creative writing skills that we learn can be shared with clients as tools for empowerment, giving a megaphone for self-expression to some of society’s most silenced members."

Presentations will focus on creative writing with people with dementia, the effects of therapeutic writing on the stress levels of caregivers, and how narrative therapy affects the therapist-client relationship. Sessions will also be offered on facilitating writing classes in correctional facilities, connecting people with chronic disease with a writing coach, increasing social participation through sharing life stories, and "SLAM" poetry.

The cost of the workshop is $250 if paid by Sunday, June 20, and $300 thereafter. To register, contact Jefri Palermo at 319-335-3750 or

For more information, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jefri Palermo, School of Social Work, 319-335-3750,; Mercedes Bern-Klug, School of Social Work, 319-335-1265,; Nicole Riehl, University News Services, 319-384-0070,