I’m Heading to Kilmore Quay

I’m heading to Kilmore Quay in County Wexford, Ireland this weekend for the amazing writers’ festival called Write by the Sea at Kilmore Quay’. This is a beautiful picturesque village in the south-east of Ireland, complete with thatched cottages, fishing harbour and sandy beaches, not to mention the great community spirit that succeeds in bringing some fantastic experiences to the festival trail around the island of Ireland.

Below are the notes from the workshop I’ll be facilitating on Sunday. I promise to upload some photos over the weekend. Check out the festival https://writebythesea.ie/

Festival Workshop Kilmore Quay
9am to 11am Sept 30th 2018
The Role of Writing and Poetry in Positive Psychology
Martina Carroll


A. 9am to 9.30 Approx.
Where I’m coming from…
What is Positive Psychology?
The Role of Writing and Poetry in Positive Psychology

B. followed by Writing/ Feedback/ Discussion

Suggesting Video/ books relating to Positive Psychology

This Video by Psychologist Martin Seligman tells the story of Positive Psychology. His books played an important role in promoting the idea of a Positive Psychology but it’s not the full story. I recommend watching the video. I was lucky to get a ticket to hear him talk in Trinity College some time ago. Really enjoyed his presentation but I’ll leave it up to you whether you would like to read his books. They’re easy to find.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl – Great book with a positive influence in the field of Psychotherapy but most of all an amazing and inspirational story.

Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Jung – Early 20th Century positive influence for Personal Development across life focussed on the welfare and wellbeing of people throughout their lives; plus great books/ ideas about the creative human mind, and the world of dreams, symbols and images, that continues to inspire creative minds today.

The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt – American Behavioural Psychologist with some great ideas and stories especially important for the idea of finding meaning  in life (as opposed to the philosophical question  ‘what is the meaning of life’). This brings us closer to the topic in hand which is about the role of writing and poetry in positive Psychology. The core topics Haidt writes about are meaning and accomplishment, work and love, positive relationships. Writers and poets know well how important it is to express the whole range of human emotions and experiences.


Workshop Notes – The Role of Writing & Poetry in Positive Psychology,  by Dr. Martina Carroll

Positive Psychology – What is it?
A branch of scientific Psychology/ Originally about a science of happiness – 1990s, Now more focused on well-being and flourishing
-: It turns out that being happy is less important for some people than for others.
Storytelling/ Writing/ Poetry – a part of what it means to be human

Communities revolve around creative activities
Writers/ poets/ storytellers/ have always focused on the topics we associate with Psychology

PERMA Theory by Martin Seligman
The Elements of Wellbeing and Flourishing
Positive Emotion/ Engagement/Relationships/Meaning/Accomplishments

Influences on Positive Psychology Apart from Freud and the Study of normal behaviour and the mind within the field of Science

includes great writers like Carl Jung/ Victor Frankl/ Carl Rogers/ Jonathan Haidt about Meaning, Love, Work Accomplishment the subject matter of Positive Psychology but also about the full range of human emotions and experiences.

Jonathon Haidt suggests that Happiness comes from between ‘within’ and ‘without’, between our inner worlds and the outer world of people and places.

Creative Writing as something people love to do, a work of love, like writing a poem/ Nurturing and expressing our creative nature

The Happiness Hypothesis – the creative process experienced in the dynamic expression when the words and phrases emerge and just land on the page.

Writing Exercise 1 – about Writing
How and why did you Start Writing?
Say a little about how the story of your writing unfolded?
Do you have friendships from your interest in writing?
What about confidence – vital engagement/ involvement?
Note whether you have an ever thickening web of connections through writing.
Have you connected to a writing community?
Have you found a source of flow, joy, identity, effectance and relatedness within Writing?
Has writing changed you in any way?
If a story from your experiences comes to mind, continue writing about it

Writing Exercise 2 – Just writing for the sake of it…
Begin writing by describing anything that happened today or yesterday. Go where the story takes you. Whatever pops into your head, no matter how relevant or irrelevant it seems, just keep writing and find out where it takes you.

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