About the National Association for Poetry Therapy

What is Poetry Therapy?

Poetry Therapy is the use of the written or spoken word to further therapeutic goals and enhance the well-being of individuals, families, couples, or groups. A type of expressive arts therapy, poetry therapy promotes growth and healing through expressive writing activities and through the reading and facilitated discussion of literary material. The term, “poetry therapy” encompasses interactive bibliotherapy, journal therapy, therapeutic storytelling, film, as well as performance poetry.

The benefits of poetry therapy include increased self and interpersonal awareness, increased sense of validation in voicing one’s truth, and enhanced capacity to capture and reframe significant life stories.

Poetry therapists and applied poetry facilitators serve a variety of clients in a broad range of settings. These include mental health clinics, hospitals, school programs, hospice agencies, senior citizen centers, correctional facilities, rehabilitation centers, veterans’ programs,
homeless shelters, houses of worship, and community-based life-enhancement and support groups.

Publications, dating from the 1970’s to the present, provide an abundant array of materials on the principles, practices, resources, and clinical case studies of poetry therapy. Founded in 1987, the Journal of Poetry Therapy: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory is the most comprehensive source of current theory, research, and technique for the poetry therapy profession.

Credentialing to become a Poetry Therapist or Applied Poetry Facilitator is administered by a separate organization, the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, incorporated in 1983. (https://ifbpt.org)

The National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT)

The National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary membership organization that supports and enhances the profession of poetry therapy. Its mission is to promote growth and healing through written and spoken language, symbolic expression, and story. Since 1969, NAPT, established initially as the Association for Poetry Therapy, has been a well-respected organization that continues to evolve in response to societal changes and challenges. At NAPT, we create bridges between disciplines, communities, and individuals who share a common belief in the transformational power of words. The core of our work as an organization involves getting back to the basics of effective communication and authentic connection to one’s self and others.

Our national and international members come from a wide variety of disciplines. They include but are not limited to social workers, psychologists, educators, counselors, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, librarians, chaplains, holistic healers, coaches, creative writing specialists, and performance poets.

As a member organization of the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Association, NAPT is aligned with professionals in the fields of art, music, drama, and dance therapies, as well as group psychotherapy and psychodrama.

Along with sponsoring the Journal of Poetry Therapy and other publications, NAPT provides opportunities for networking and sharing of resources; sponsors an annual international poetry therapy conference; awards regional grants and scholarships; and supports education, research, and training.

A Message from the NAPT Board during this time of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Poetry therapy is much more than just the focus on the genre of poetry; it is the use of language, symbol, and story in therapeutic, educational, growth, and community-building capacities. Poetry Therapy is for real people. Real people experience fear when things get difficult or when they face the unknown. We are traversing steep paths right now. Trauma is touching us as the most devastating health crisis of our time, impacting people from all walks of life, from all regions of the earth.  While physical distance is imperative right now, social connection remains a necessary part of our lives. In this light, we are working diligently to create easy and accessible ways to foster connections among our members and to maximize the practice of healing through writing.  Putting words to the unthinkable has a transformative potential.

The board of NAPT is committed to serving others and to bringing the healing power of poetry to anyone who is open to it. The pandemic spread of Covid-19 is also a time for reflection and introspection; reading and writing poetry can be a conduit for both.

During turbulence, it is crucial to recommit to practices that bring relief and foster our ability to remain centered. These practices will help us gain clarity, courage, and perspective; ultimately giving us confidence to take necessary actions.  We have put together a series of virtual writing workshops as a supportive platform where members and non-members of NAPT can find solace and inspiration in voicing their feelings through reading and writing poems.

May the power of poetry lead us forward.

Here are some useful links:




A Message to Our Members

We are committed to providing you the service you deserve as a member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT). We appreciate you and encourage you to communicate with us! Please contact our Administrator via e-mail at naptadmin@poetrytherapy.org. If you have questions about membership please contact us at naptmembership@poetrytherapy.org.

The NAPT mailing address is:

PO Box 98259
Des Moines, WA 98198

Thank you for being a member of NAPT. We look forward to serving you this membership year.

Has your contact information changed?

If so, please send all changes of address, phone, e-mail, etc., to our Membership Chair at naptmembership@poetrytherapy.org.