Writing as therapy, part 1

March, 2014

Keeping a personal diary or reflective journal can be very therapeutic, both during therapy and without it. It’s about concentrating on your feelings and your process, your hopes and fears, rather than the actual content of your days. So it’s about who and what hurt you and what brought you joy today, rather than what you did. The idea is to be searingly honest, to write like nobody’s reading. This is where journalling differs from blogging. With blogs, you are always writing for an audience, ie to entertain, or inform, or share. Journalling is totally personal, you are the writer and the only reader, creating a totally confidential space in which you can gradually open yourself up to unresolved old pain and hurt, by examining your feelings in the here and now. These quotes from different diarists illustrate the type of journalling that you could explore:

My therapist is my journal, which I write in spiral notebooks obtainable for under a dollar in any city in the country. That’s why I call my journal “the 79 cent therapist.” ~ Kathleen Adams

Journalling helps you grow and flow. It helps you get in touch with who you really are… your essence. It helps put you in touch with the Dreamer in you. It nourishes your Dreamer. Journalling provides clarity, discovery, and authentic expression. ~ Susan Castle

My diary seems to keep me whole. ~ Anais Nin

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. ~ Christina Baldwin

The diary is the only form of writing that encourages total freedom of expression. Because of its very private nature, it has remained immune to any formal rules of content, structure, or style. As a result, the diary can come closest to reproducing how consciousness evolves. ~ Tristine Rainer