Bill Wertheim

Bill Wertheim
Mount Vernon, NY
Memoir, Poetry
After School Program, Community Center, Hospice, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library, Senior Center
I began teaching poetry with young children, and spent 25+ years with Artists-in-the-Schools programs. My approach was developed as a former junior high schoolteacher, and as a practicing clinical social work psychotherapist. My primary focus has become the older adult since 2008, and I developed memoir writing programs at several Westchester libraries. This work was especially meaningful to me because it not only gave older people a chance to dig into their personal histories, but do the writing in an environment of trust and sharing, as writers read their work to each other. I strive to create a workshop that is free from judgment or negativity; rather, as a place for building trust. By bringing out stories that illuminate one's own life, an individual learns how to be more spontaneous, more connected, happier. While the primary purpose of the Memoir Writing workshop is the writing itself, the auxiliary benefits are meaningful and significant, as well.
My philosophy of working as an artist with any age population - and now, specifically with the older adult - is to encourage the creative life, in whatever form, and let it flourish. I work as an accepting, non-judgmental artist, bringing my years of experience as a writer and teacher, and as a licensed clinical social work psychotherapist (in practice for 35 years). My background allows me to support the expressive and the emotional sides of a workshop participant, and it is with the most profound respect that I enter into the teacher role, becoming a catalyst for the creative process.