the Thought Laundry™
the Thought Laundry™ 

Introducing ... the Thought Laundry™


The term Thought Laundry is a metaphor: a literary device that helps to describe something that is difficult to explain, using something imaginative that creates a picture in your mind.


All the opportunities described on this website are created to use writing:

- to play and have fun.


- to express feelings and ideas more clearly,

- to provide a way of using writing, to explore life experiences and thoughts,

- to find a new sense of self esteem, deal with the ‘Red Sock’ in your life, and build confidence.


- as therapy for finding a sense of identity, ‘know who you are’ and move on with life.


The ‘Red Sock’ is another metaphor – it is like the red sock in white washing that makes everything pink. Maybe there is something that ‘colours’ your thoughts and is always there, affecting how you feel and causing you difficulty.




In 1995 in my work as an Occupational Therapist I found that there were many people using creative writing (writing stories, poems, haiku, limericks, plays, scripts etc.), showering their page with words bubbling up from inside and playing with new ideas and programmes.


Sadly, sometimes the writers were getting into a lather about publication, pinning their hopes on the idea of selling stories and being famous. Their pride was rinsed away, which left a stain of rejection; feeling that no-one was listening and so, consequently, they felt shrunk down and out of shape.

say - forget publication! Come and play – dip your pen onto the page and let your thoughts wash across the sheet!  


Expressive writing is a step further into exploring where writing can take the writer... Writing has a way of pouring words onto the page and presenting the writer with all sorts of serendipitous outcomes. When the mind is allowed to vent forth whatever is in the writer’s head, then surprises often appear on the page...

This is the exciting bit. Many times in my sessions writers have written, then, as they proceeded to review or read out what they had written, they were astonished at what they found! Add to that some exploration... thinking, reflecting, considering... what does that word mean? Is that the right word to describe what you want to say? What did you mean by that phrase? Where did that piece of writing come from?


 To date, there are three Using Writing as Therapy (UWaT) courses, that are available for people to participate in, or if you are a professional counsellor or therapist with experience in counselling, training is available in each of these manualised courses.


Using Writing as Therapy (UWaT™): finding identity.

This evolved from writing work generated by those who came to me saying: ‘I don’t know who I am any more’, I feel stuck and I need to change something.’ They did not want to engage in creative writing: poetry, prose, haiku, and so on, they wanted to wash away memories – to bleach out the pink from the Red Sock that coloured their experiences and left them feeling trapped in a cycle of despair.


We used writing together to untangle the past and there were certain exercises that seemed to help. I pegged these exercises and, over time they lined up to form six one-and-a-half hour sessions that have now become very popular and found to be beneficial. The course has been taught to clinicians in the NHS and evaluated for economic and clinical benefit (see publications pages: results of research and link to results poster).


Using Writing as a Tool (UWaT™): for finding a working Me, for those who feel their confidence has been rinsed away and need to soak up a new sense of themselves as a person with value to offer in a ‘work’ situation.


This could mean, for instance, a carer, who no longer sees him/herself as a person working to care for someone else and often has lost touch with any sense of self or life of his/her own...

- or maybe a person is a volunteer and feels that he/she is not ‘good enough’ to ever apply for paid work or a different position elsewhere...

- or  maybe a person is in paid work but has lost all sense of value in the workplace and feels he/she is not coping; maybe fears losing his/her job ...  


Using Writing and Talking (UWaT™): forgotten stories; hidden depths for Christians who feel they have lost touch with the exciting part of being one of God’s special people. A personal chance to reconnect with his/her spiritual side and regain the joy of being saved...

In small groups Christians can use the UWaT™ process to write, talk and share their experiences together, building confidence, faith and friendship.





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Dr. Cooper is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

UWaT and the Thought Laundry are not just about therapy - it's for anyone!

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