Defense of the Defensive Writer: A Therapeutic and Relational Approach to Workshop

  • Kathryn Claire Monthie Goucher College


Emerging from a thesis seeking to characterize the undergraduate creative writing workshop experience, this article identifies the reasons for defensive behaviors in workshop through the use of Relational-Cultural Theory, a therapeutic model that posits how we grow through our relationships with one another. An analysis of eight in-depth interviews alongside my own experience are used to examine how and why individuals in creative writing workshops reject feedback, even when they want to grow as writers.

Author Biography

Kathryn Claire Monthie, Goucher College

Kathryn Monthie graduated from Goucher College in 2019 with a BA in English and Psychology. Her senior thesis looked at the different ways creative writing workshops operate within relational cultural theory. She is now a masters student at Ohio University studying English, with a particular interest in Rhetoric and Composition. Her research interests include creative writing, transfer theory, and literacy.