Latest winner of the MCAA editorial prize Writing: A therapeutic tool in healing - Bhavna Rani


In the current day, when we are bamboozled by a plethora of drugs and the taboo of several ailments, cancer stands on top of all without a fail. Despite this, advances in medical interventions are more or less in vain in solving the ever emerging new cases. In the medical field, all attention is diverted towards finding a potential cure or a wonder drug for the particular illness. However, during lots of surveys and dealing with multiple patients, I have realized that having a disease is itself a mental and emotional burden as well as a physical one. Despite writing prescriptions or spending all our precious time in the lab to find a cure, we could also do a better job of healing the patients at an emotional level.

I have gone through a survey of cancer patients and found that giving them a piece of paper to pour out their emotions on, shows that several patients are baffled in dealing with their thoughts. Providing counseling reveals that a person’s soul can die while we are still busy finding out the cure of their actual ailment. In this case, writing helps in many cases; especially it does wonder when it becomes a therapeutic tool in healing. Several pathographies and autopathographies narrating the illness of the patients are emerging in the market. It is very true that when one writes down their emotionally challenging experience or feelings in the form of words, it leaves one with a stronger sense of value in the world and the ability to accept that life can be good even when it is sometimes bad and it can change one’s perspective on life. Moreover, on the scientific level, it has been proved that writing helps in the mental well-being of an individual. In fact, considering this, many doctors are becoming more interested in reading their patients narration so that they can provide a better comfort to them, both at an emotional and physical level.

Pathographies /Autopathographies are not only sources of inspiration for the individual patient, but also prove to be beneficial to others as a source of healing. Some people do know what is troubling them but find it very difficult to express it to anyone in a helpful way. Friends and relatives can only listen to an extent and psychotherapeutic time is limited and expensive. In this case, writing can be very cost effective as it only needs a paper and pen, providing an enormously effective, relatively cheap and straightforward imaginative form of expression and exploration. On the other hand, it could be more effective to distribute pathographies among the people who are dealing with more or less the same trauma. Therefore, they could apply the same tactics in their lives to better understand their ailment and help themselves in opening up their minds on a piece of paper to get to know what is going deep inside them. Time to time counseling and encouragement is most needed for improving a patient’s mental well being.

Although writing alone is not an offbeat cure of any illness, it could act as a guide to direct the individual to live at ease with a pathological condition and to find their inner self and discover a healing journey through words.