Nursing on paper: therapeutic letters in nursing practice

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This paper offers a selected piece of interpretive research extracted from the context of a larger research study. The hermeneutic research inquiry described in this paper involved the examination of the nursing and family therapy intervention of therapeutic letters. It incorporated the textual interpretation of 11 therapeutic letters, clinical sessions with three families, clinical team discussions, and research interviews with four family members and three nurse clinicians who participated in the writing of the letters. This particular paper extracts segments of the research related to the letters received by two participants, as well as some general findings, with a focus on the possibilities and influences of therapeutic letters in nursing practice. The findings of this research offer suggestions, not as a template, but as an inspiration and evocation to write therapeutic letters that address the obligation of meeting people experiencing illness at the point of their suffering, with words and questions that invite relationship, reflection, and are large enough to sustain a meeting.

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