poetry therapy


NEW! Book Reviews of Resources for Poetry As Healer
Click Here to download PDF

PBS Broadcast of
Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine

Featuring John Fox, John Graham-Pole, MD and the Shands Arts-in-Medicine program, produced by Healing Words Productions.

Click Here to find DVD

View a trailer of the movie

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Community of Poets

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Poetic Medicine in Action
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Interview by Britt Bravo

and the Arts and Healing Network
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Since 1981, I have been passionately committed to helping people discover their healing poet, the one that lives and breathes within each of us. I teach, consult, write and mentor individuals, professional groups and organizations across the globe.

It doesn't matter if you have never written poetry or have written for a long time. If you are new to poetry or just want to deepen your writing practice, this work can support and inspire you.

In early 2005, I formed The Institute for Poetic Medicine, the next manifestation of my life's mission and purpose. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to healing body, mind and spirit through the creative and therapeutic process of hearing and writing poetry. Our vision is to awaken this creative and healing voice in the human spirit. We are collectively dedicated to nurture and strengthen the human capacity to connect to Self, Other, Community, the Natural World and the Divine. On behalf of myself and my Board of Directors, I invite you to experience The Institute for Poetic Medicine:

Listen to presences inside poems.
Let them take you where they will.
Follow those private hints,
And never leave the premises.

Jellaludin Rumi

translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne

Poems stir us, encourage us to wake, breathe deeply and experience life! Poems are alive. They hold energy. You can discover this life and energy in your words, in the cadence of your voice, and the feeling inside your body upon reading a poem. There are indeed hints inside of poems that become available to you as you write and hear them.

What poems offer relates not only to the present moment, but may come as messengers from the past and clues important for your future messages for you and for humanity. Poetry joins the personal with the universal.

Writing allows us to discover how vulnerabilities and strengths can co-exist, even thrive together. Poems can reveal deep insight and compassion. They can give voice to what is raw and wounded in your life and that honesty, creatively expressed and explored, can bolster and guide you through rough times. Your writing can transform you at profound levels.

"What do I want to say besides thank you?  When I set out for the workshop, I had no idea I would be so completely changed or become so completely myself again because of poetry and you." --Shannon Klassel,   New York, New York


Poetic Medicine Training Program Led by John Fox CPT,

Friends and Guest Teachers

Accepting Applications for New Training Cohort

Application Deadline Extended: August 15, 2015

First In-Person Training Weekend:
Late September, 2015
Vallombrosa Retreat Center • Menlo Park, CA

To Learn More:

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newsletter archives


The Only Gift to Bring
A Poetry Reading
with Lynn Pollock, John Fox,
Jim Moreno, Joseph Rubano and Open Mic ~ Open to Public ~
Thursday, May 28, 7 - 9 pm
Encinitas Community Center
Encinitas, CA
Please see flyer for information and registration:


Writing Our Relationship with Trees
What This Can Teach Us About Ourselves
& Living Within The Sacred
A Weekend Retreat with John Fox, CPT
Friday - Sunday, May 29 - 31, 2015
San Diego, CA
Please see flyer for information and registration:


Poetic Medicine & Personhood
A Way to Explore the Sacred
Experience, Conversation and Poetry Reading
Offered by The Institute for Poetic Medicine
In Collaboration with Vallombrosa Retreat Center,
Monday, June 29, 2015
Menlo Park, CA
Please see flyer for information and registration:


Bread for the Journey:
A Celebration of Poetry and the Human Spirit
with John Fox, Naomi Shihab Nye,
Michael Glaser and others
September 30 - October 3, 2015
Kirkridge Retreat Center
Bangor, PA
Please see flyer for information and registration:



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