AIM's Writing for Healing: A Workshop for Individuals Living With Paralysis

    Not Recruiting
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
Updated on 7 October 2022
spinal cord
spinal cord disorder
multiple sclerosis
degenerative disc disease
Accepts healthy volunteers


The UAB Institute for Arts In Medicine (AIM) is currently implementing an expressive emotional writing pilot project for adults with paralysis caused by neurological conditions such as traumatic head or spinal cord injury.


Because of the inability to move certain parts of the body, persons with paralysis caused by neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury, traumatic head injury, and stroke experience grief from the loss of physical capacity, social or occupational role function, and life goals. Common complications associated with grief in these individuals include increased anxiety and depression, poor physical health, and low sense of purpose in life. Therefore, it is essential to identify community-based, self-help support that can serve as a step to facilitate healthy grieving in these individuals. Such support should aim at shifting their mindset from focusing on their loss (disability) to restoring daily function. Constructing and reconstructing the story of one's own life has been reported in several autobiographic accounts as a coping strategy to learn acceptance and how to live with various traumatic conditions (i.e., grief resolution).

Writing about emotionally traumatic or challenging experiences has been shown to have a surprisingly beneficial effect on reports of symptom reduction and health care use, as well as improvements in health status and well-being in people with chronic conditions. Expressive emotional writing programs have demonstrated the ability to improve the quality of life of individuals with chronic conditions. Although expressive writing could be a promising avenue in reducing grief and improving psychosocial and physical functioning among adults with paralysis, currently, few programs on expressive emotional writing are available for these individuals. Therefore, the UAB Institute for Arts in Medicine (AIM) will implement an innovative expressive emotional writing pilot project for adults with paralysis.

To maximize the number of adults with paralysis who can benefit from participating in this expressive emotional writing program, the investigators will partner with two additional organizations -the Is-Able Center and the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama. The Is-Able Center ( is a non-profit community organization which provides services including grief support that encourage, educate and empower the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. The Lakeshore Foundation ( is also a non-profit community organization that serves and advocates for people with physical disabilities.

The writing program will take place at both the Is-Able Center and Lakeshore Foundation starting in July 2020. The program will run for 10 consecutive weeks, with weekly writing activities. The grant funds will be used to reimburse mileage for adults with paralysis for participation in the writing program, hire a program coordinator, and two coaches to facilitate the writing program and facilitate discussion conducted in each of the two community organizations.

Condition Spinal Cord Injuries
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04721717
SponsorUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham
Last Modified on7 October 2022

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