Journaling is a common tool used to help clients make progress in therapy. Even if the idea of writing makes you cringe with memories of ninth grade English compositions, consider how chronicling your thoughts, feelings and memories can provide you with multiple benefits.
Write It Out
Journaling can be used to facilitate different kinds of growth, including:
1. Insight. Recording memories, our emotions, fears or desires, can provide us with a platform to look at patterns in our lives and understand what may be driving us to feel or behave in a certain way. Many people report re-reading their journals and discovering new areas to explore in therapy.
2. Catharsis. Pouring out our anger, resentment, or disappointments onto the page can create a feeling of lightness, allowing us to let go of old pain and move forward.
3. Documentation. For some clients, recording details of traumatic events is a way to bring validity to their experience. Trauma survivors can feel empowered by naming their experiences and recording their truth.
4. Goal-setting. Some clients benefit from creating a template for their goals. Writing down the steps they need to take increases their chances of success and provides accountability.
Journaling doesn’t have to be a permanent record. Some clients discover a sense of transformation through burning their writing soon after they’ve finished. The act of burning or tearing up our written words can offer clients a sense of relief, or of moving beyond the material they transcribed. Remember, journaling isn’t about following rules of grammar, spelling or composition. It’s a process of discovery and development. The best part? All you need is a pencil and paper to get started. Go on — write it down.