Fiction therapy

The Human Condition by Magritte
The Human Condition by Magritte

Literature—any art for that matter—is about exploring the challenges of the human condition, the things that make us uniquely human.

And so is psychotherapy, especially techniques such as acceptance and commitment therapy.  There’s a lot of talk about metaphors, storytelling and inner voices. Among other things.

And it’s surprising how much of the advice therapists give can be applied to writing.


Here, I explore the similarities between fiction and therapy, and give some writing advice, based on therpautic concepts. Many were first published in my monthly column on WriterUnboxed.


Fiction examples

I’ve also included more than 100 examples from literature, films, writing guides, TV and the web that illustrate these similarities.