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
Dr. Sharon Bray is best known for her innovative work with transformative writing, or writing as a way of healing, particularly for whose voices have been silenced by serious illness, pain, loss or trauma. Since her experience with early stage cancer and subsequent heart failure several years ago, she has specialized in leading therapeutic writing groups for cancer patients, survivors and many others. Two of her 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.
She wrote and published her first book, a children’s book, as s a young mother in Nova Scotia. 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. Her essays and articles have appeared in Moxie Magazine, Looking Back: Stories of our Mothers and Fathers, The 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.
Sharon’s been leading writing workshops for cancer survivors for nearly fifteen 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 initiated two writing series at Scripps Green, and UCSD Moores Cancer Centers, which she continues to lead at the current time.
She also enjoys a unique collaboration with South Carolina artist, Heidi Darr-Hope, co-facilitating a number of expressive arts workshops or projects featuring the interplay between word and image. For three consecutive years, she was part of the faculty for the CURE Today Forums for cancer patients and has spoken at health conferences and cancer centers across the country, most recently at the 2013 “Living Well with Cancer” program at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck NY.
In addition to her workshops for cancer survivors, the bereaved and at risk teens, Sharon previously taught memoir and creative writing classes for the Palo Alto Adult School and DeAnza Community College in Cupertino, California. In San Diego, she has also designed and led a number of writing workshops for Jewish Family Serices. She began leading “The Writers’ Workshop at Stanford Medical School,” in 2005, which she continues to do. Sharon is also part of the faculty at Pacific School of Religion summer session in Berkeley. CA. where she teaches a course in writing and healing for clergy and helping professionals. Since 2007, she has also been an instructor of creative nonfiction for the UCLA extension Writers’ Program.
She earned her doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Toronto and studied creative writing through the University of Washington, Humber School for Writers and Goddard College.