About Sharon

Sharon … is an astonishing writer, facilitator, and innovator in the field of TLA (Transformative Language Arts). Her excellent books on writing through illness are superb and used by many of my students as well as myself in facilitating workshops for people living with cancer and other serious illness. Sharon is a true visionary, a marvelously moving and insightful writer, and a mentor-facilitator.

                        Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Poet Laureate of Kansas, Professor, Transformative Language Arts, Goddard College

Sharon is an extraordinary teacher whose gift is to create a setting where anyone, regardless of writing experience or talent, can feel comfortable in allowing his or her personal emotions to find expression in words. This is an unusual gift. Sharon … encourages writers to develop their personal voices… By encouraging them to write from their heartfelt experiences, Sharon helps these professionals to become better at what they do–deal with people in their day to day professional roles–because they are themselves more comfortable with feeling and expressing emotions.–Participant, The Writers’ Workshop at Stanford Medical School

(photo by Chad Thompson)

(photo by Chad Thompson)

About Sharon

Dr. Sharon Bray is best known for her innovative work with writing as a way of healing, particularly for whose voices have been silenced by serious illness, pain, loss or trauma. Since her own diagnosis of early stage breast cancer over a decade ago, she has specialized in leading therapeutic writing groups for cancer patients and survivors.  Her most recent books, When Words Heal:  Writing Through Cancer (North Atlantic/Frog Books, 2006) and A Healing Journey:  Writing Together through Breast Cancer (Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2004) document the healing power of writing.  In 2007, together with Pat Fobair, LCSW, she co-edited an anthology of cancer patients’ writing, Learning to Live Again, published by the Stanford School of Medicine.

She wrote and published her first book, a children’s book, as s a young mother in Nova Scotia.  Since, her publications have appeared in Moxie Magazine,  Looking Back:  Stories of our Mothers and FathersThe Santa Clara Weekly, Survivors’ Review, The Art of Grandparenting, Coping with Cancer Magazine, Goddard’s Semester Magazine, The Listener & the Storyteller,  The Transformative Language Arts Reader,  on the DVD, Writing Alone and With Others, with Pat Schneider and most recently, in the anthology, The Wondrous Child, edited by Lindy Hough, 2012.  Sharon is also the author of a weekly writing blog, www.writingthroughcancer.com, for anyone wishing to write out of debilitating illness, pain or trauma.

A frequent speaker at cancer organizations and healthcare symposia across the U.S., Sharon has been leading writing workshops for cancer survivors for the past thirteen years, creating and leading the first  “Writing Through Cancer” series at Breast Cancer Connections in Palo Alto  from 2001 – 2006 and at  Stanford Cancer Center from 2004 – 2013.  After relocating to San Diego in 2006, Sharon began leading two new expressive writing series at  Scripps Green, and UCSD Moores Cancer Centers, which she continues to do.  Together with South Carolina artist, Heidi Darr-Hope, she co-led a number of expressive arts workshops featuring the interplay between word and image.   A former faculty member of the CURE Today Forums for cancer patients,  Sharon continues  speak at health conferences and cancer centers across the country, most recently as part of the faculty of the “Living Well with Cancer” program at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck NY.  She is currently a member of the Global Alliance for Arts & Health,  Arts & Health Network of Canada and the Transformative Language Arts Network.

In addition to her therapeutic writing workshops for cancer  survivors, the bereaved and at risk teens, Sharon began leading the “The Writers’ Workshop at Stanford Medical School,” in 2005, a  series of creative writing workshops for medical school faculty,  students and alumni, and continues to lead three all day workshops annually.    Sharon teaches  “Writing as a Healing Ministry” annually for the  Pacific School of Religion summer session in Berkeley. CA.  and is an instructor for the  UCLA extension Writers’ Program.

She previously taught  memoir and creative writing classes for the Palo Alto Adult School and DeAnza Community College in Cupertino, California and today, continues to lead workshops for community organizations as well as privately.

Sharon earned her doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Toronto and studied creative writing and transformative language arts through the University of Washington, Humber School for Writers and Goddard College.  She and her husband, John, currently reside in San Diego, CA.