Academic journals for high school students

Academic journals

Introducing academic journals for high school students

Words Can Heal: Evaluating the Implementation of Personalization or Obscurity in Poetry Therapy Among Teens Experiencing Feelings of Abandonment

Lauren Lee
Yongsan International School of Seoul


Poetry is becoming a prominent form of observational therapy in a variety of contexts and is proven to be effective in multiple ways, especially in contexts of family discord. However, with this form of therapy, therapists must consider the preeminent factors while selecting poems used in the receptive component in poetry therapy groups. Despite this consideration, an established criterion for poem selection is currently ambiguous, increasing the risk of ineffective treatment towards patients. Leedy and Hynes now have outlines for poem selection criteria. Leedy and Hynes argue that personalization should be avoided in poetry therapy as it may decrease feelings of relatability. On the other hand, skeptics contend that without personalization, clients may feel a lack of sensitivity. Both sides of the argument do not have substantial empirical evidence; thus, this study aims to provide empirical evidence for whether or not personalization is more effective in poetry therapy. The focus group of this research study was teens experiencing feelings of abandonment. Through utilizing a deductive coding mechanism, I examined the effectiveness of a poem by analyzing its responses collected from an online communicative platform displaying multiple aspects of receptive poetry therapy. The success level of a poem was dependent on its conformity to the therapeutic factors inventory, a common evaluator for the success of poetry therapy. My findings reveal that obscure poems were more effective than personalized poems, supporting Leedy and Hyne’s current points of criteria.
Keywords: poetry therapy, abandonment, personalization, obscurity, RES model, receptive component, therapeutic factors inventory

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