To Awaken Soulfulness in the Human Voice

Poetic Medicine



This is a gift that will be used by many in our Clubhouse community on their recovery journey.  Thank you Lisa.”

—Paula Feher, Magnolia Clubhouse, Cleveland, OH


  • Club House Project — Overview

    “Clubhouse Model” was founded by Fountain House in New York City in 1948. The purpose is to promote recovery and instill hope among members with mental health and/or co-occurring substance use challenges.


    • Create a peer Training Manual: Poetry as a Tool for Recovery: An Easy-to-Use Guide in Eight Sessions.
    • Provide a print version of the facilitator’s guidebook to the 220 plus Clubhouses in the United States and Canada.
    • Have a PDF version of the guidebook available upon request to other organizations that are interested.
    • Provide Lisa with support so that she can act as consultant to the Clubhouses and others who express interest in following through.


    Clubhouse members and leadership were involved in all aspects of the program.

    Purpose and Goals

    • Support the Clubhouse philosophy that treats the day as a work-ordered day by encouraging members to learn new skills and teach and mentor to others.
    • Offer members the opportunity to participate in the creation of the manual.
    • Empower members to find new meaning in and healthier approaches to handling psychiatric and emotional crises.
    • Focus the work on poetry and poem-making as a tool for recovery, not on the person as patient.

    Project Description

    Poetry as a Tool for Recovery: An Easy-to-Use Guide in Eight Sessions follows a template for a peer training manual utilizing poetry to enhance information and skills for wellness and recovery.

    Themes in the guidebook include: listening, compassion and empathy, gratitude, risk-taking, communication, forgiveness, transformation and joy.

    Each session explores a theme through the use of quotes, poems, a set of questions, prompts for a writing activity, and sharing and discussion.

    • Session 1: Using Poetry as a Tool for Recovery
    • Session 2: Listening to Self and Others
    • Session 3: Understanding, Self-Compassion and Showing Empathy
    • Session 4: Making it Real with Healthy Choices
    • Session 5: Overcoming Obstacles, Generating Forgiveness
    • Session 6: Riding the Waves of Change: Creating Hope and Transformation
    • Session 7: Moment to Moment: Being in Gratitude
    • Session 8: Practicing Self-Care
  • Supporting Comments

    Our Clubhouses around the world are a “Place to Belong”, with opportunities for meaningful relationships, work, and the support to once again be productive members of society.  Inherent to this is empowering members to “regain” their voice.

    During my many years with Magnolia Clubhouse, I have seen firsthand how poetry, for many of our members, is an important piece of how they share themselves with others.  What a wonderful tool Lisa has created, in partnership with Wellspring Clubhouse and The Institute for Poetic Medicine.

    This is a gift that will be used by many in our Clubhouse community on their recovery journey.  Thank you Lisa.

    —Paula Feher, Magnolia Clubhouse, Cleveland, OH


    Sitting down and reflecting on your life can help you reach a perspective that is beneficial to your mental health …  Lisa engaged members in the workshop with a friendly, accepting manner … she brought in poems which praised the human spirit and which embraced the mistakes and triumphs of our lives … after the workshop was over, we would continue to gather every week.  The desire to express and to share with others in a safe environment has been an incentive for people to continue attending the group.

    —J.F.Welcome House Clubhouse member, Upper Darby, PA


    Lisa DeVuono’s Poetry as a Tool for Recovery: an easy-to-use guide in eight sessions is a concise training manual filled with a comprehensive program for using poetry to access one’s wholeness, enhance well-being, and cultivate compassion for self and others.

    Although this protocol is based on a Clubhouse model of interacting with people with severe psychiatric histories, it is clear that the exercises, poetry, quotes, themes, discussion points and eight lesson plans can easily be applied to a work in many other contexts.

    This booklet is a treasure—written with care and compassion, skill and sensitivity— and will be an inspiration to anyone interested in the use of poetry and poem-making for healing.

    —Laury Rappaport, Ph.D., MFT, REAT, ATR-BC. , Integrative Psychotherapist Institute for Health & Healing, Sutter Health. Author of Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy; Mindfulness


    As a staff member, I was able to observe personal growth and increased interaction among members.  They learned to listen, and were able to see each other with more understanding and empathy.  To be honest, my no-risk personality went into the experience with some apprehension.  But I was amazed at the comfortableness of the group and I learned to listen with my heart enabling me to express my own joys, concerns, and fears expressed on paper as a poem.

    —Carole Gonzaga, Welcome House Clubhouse staff , Upper Darby, PA

Club House Project

Poetry As a Tool for Recovery – an easy to use guide in eight sessions


IPM Partner: Lisa DuVuono

Lisa DeVuono ( is a poet and workshop leader who has presented at conferences, retreats, hospitals and business settings. She has also produced several multi-media shows incorporating song, music, poetry, and dance. She wrote the curriculum Poetry as a Tool for Recovery: An Easy-to-Use Guide in Eight Sessions and has facilitated workshops with individuals living with mental health challenges as well as with teenagers in recovery, ALS and cancer patients, and their families. Her poetry has been published in several literary reviews, and her chapbook is entitled Poems from the Playground of Risk. She also performs with musician and songwriter Michael London, whose work is based on the poetry of Rumi.

Lisa has been a friend of John Fox’s poetry and healing work since 2000 and active as a poetry partner since before the founding of the Institute for Poetic Medicine in the fall of 2005.  Lisa has brought her gifts to the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia (formerly the Wellness Community) and to five Clubhouses in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley.

© 2006-2016  The Institute for Poetic Medicine and John Fox