poetry therapy
About the Institute for Poetic Medicine

Our Vision: To awaken the creative and healing voice in the human spirit.

Creativity once begun goes on. Nothing is so satisfying to the human soul as creating something new...We all long to see our works in print, I know, but this is not the point. It is the act of creation which counts. Every act of creation adds to the creativity in the world, and who knows if it has not some similar effect as the ritual breathing towards the East at dawn...

-- Irene Claremont de Castillejo

At The Institute of Poetic Medicine we are collectively dedicated to nurture and strengthen the human capacity to connect to Self, Other, Community, the Natural World and the Divine.

We offer public workshops, retreats and professional programs with John Fox, Certified Poetry Therapist, and by others, for groups and individuals in therapeutic, healing, medical, teaching and pastoral professions, as well as for individuals living with life altering illnesses. 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.

John Fox is author of Finding What You Didn't Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making and Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making.

He teaches at the collegiate and post graduate level at the California Institute of Integral Studies, John F. Kennedy University, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and the University of California, Santa Cruz. John presents across the United States and in many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Israel and South Korea. He conducts poetry groups in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads an annual retreat, The Nature of Poetry Retreat, on sacred Navajo land in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona. Current projects of The Institute for Poetic Medicine include:

  • Serving people diagnosed with cancer and their families. The Institute for Poetic Medicine maintains long standing relationships with cancer support centers across the country.

  • Introducing poetry therapy into medical schools and hospitals via medical humanities, expressive arts and integrative medicine programs.

  • Collaborating with people within under served and neglected communities to celebrate the healing spirit of poetry.

  • Writing articles and books: to encourage the use of poetry to promote resilience & well being for those who are ill; help individuals build communities that flourish; explore the "Beautyway" of the Navajo people to raise awareness of interdependence through the use of poetry, stories and photographs.

  • Supporting ground-breaking poetry therapy research in partnership with The National Association for Poetry Therapy Foundation and the research department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary/World Health Organization.

The Institute publishes the Poetic Medicine Journal which focuses on the people and programs that advance and inspire the poetry of healing. Our journal provides a place to grow community and provides resources for people interested in "poetic medicine."

Members of Our Board

John Fox, President and CEO of the Board, is a certified poetry therapist and author of Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making and Finding What You Didn't Lose:  Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making. He teaches at several universities and presents workshops across the United States and in many other countries. Since the age of twelve he has shared with others his fascination and joy in the transformative art of making things.

James Fadiman,
co-founder of The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, CA, has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University. He has held a wide variety of teaching, consulting, training, counseling and editorial positions. He is the coauthor with Robert Frager of Personality and Personal Growth, Essential Sufism and the novel The Other Side of Haight.

Janet Childs, director of education for the Centre for Living with Dying in Santa Clara, CA and has been with the organization since its inception twenty-eight years ago. Janet presently oversees the educational programs and coordinates the Bay Area Critical Incident Stress Management Team. She has offered POST Certified Training for public safety personnel and for the past twenty-three years has provided Certified Training for social workers, nurses and therapists. She enjoys writing poetry in her free time.

Barbara Hazard , poet and painter of landscapes, plants, and animals using a strong expressive style. Barbara first went to Russia in 1983 and has spent an average of two months a year there since that time, mostly painting in St. Petersburg, her “muse” city and culture. She is the author of two books, Off Nevsky Prospect: Life Among Leningrad’s Unofficial Artists and The Summer Kitchen.






There is nothing so wise as a circle!
--Rainer Maria Rilke



Help us expand the spiral by bringing a workshop to your local community!

Please contact us at programmanager@poeticmedicine.org or via phone at (650) 938-2717.

We welcome your ideas and suggestions to help us grow our message.




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