Biblio-/poetry therapy in Finland

From Juhani Ihanus

The Finnish Association for Biblio-/poetry Therapy, together with the Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education (University of Helsinki) and with the University of Jyväskylä, is arranging the visit of Susan de Wardt (USA) to Finland (28 Oct–31 Oct, 2013). Susan de Wardt is a writer, artist, counsellor and supervisor who will lecture and give workshops on autobiographical and network writing, and on the “Journal to the Self” as an exploration of reflective writing process for personal or therapeutic use. Her visit will culminate in a Finnish-American seminar “Words in Me” in Lahti (on 31 Oct). Besides Susan de Wardt’s presentations there will be lectures by Juhani Ihanus (“Who’s words in me – the unconscious talking”), Päivi Haanpää (“Tell me – on guiding autobiographical writing”) and Päivi Kosonen (“Creative autobiographical writing in teaching and therapy”).

The Finnish Association for Biblio-/poetry therapy is again starting, with the Palmenia Centre, a one-year basic training programme at the beginning of 2014. (See my earlier account “Finnish experiences of training in biblio-/poetry therapy”, Lapidus Journal, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2012.) We are also planning, for the year 2015, a new two-year advanced training programme for biblio-/poetry therapy, in collaboration with the Palmenia Centre and the University of Jyväskylä.

Our next larger effort will be aimed at developing European cooperation in the fields of biblio-/poetry therapy and therapeutic/creative writing and reading for wellbeing. Our Finnish association and the University of Jyväskylä have for the moment initial contacts with some European organizations and individuals (for example, in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and Lithuania) working in these fields. We hope to be able to deepen our contacts to form a “learning net” for sharing experiences and developing research, training, counselling, evaluation and supervision, and arranging seminars on a European scale. Lapidus Organisation is most welcome to this enterprise. 


Juhani Ihanus, PhD, is Adjunct Professor of cultural psychology (University of Helsinki), Adjunct Professor of art education and art psychology (Aalto University). He is a pioneer of biblio-/poetry therapy in Finland and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Poetry Therapy. He has published several books and articles on biblio-/poetry therapy, literature and art, and different areas of psychology. His address is: Open University, Psychology, PO Box 53, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. E-mail:


Leave a Reply