Journal Therapy – The New Frontier in Journal Writing

Journal therapy allows a person to write down, dialogue with, and analyse their issues and concerns. Therapeutic journal writing and journal therapy use writing prompts and exercises to support the work of therapy. The practice allows people to be reflective, introspective, and intentional about their writing. Studies support this and suggest journaling is good for your mental health.

What is a therapy journal?

Journal therapy allows a person to write down, dialogue with, and analyze their issues and concerns. Therapeutic journal writing and journal therapy use writing prompts and exercises to support the work of therapy. The practice allows people to be reflective, introspective, and intentional about their writing. Many mental health experts recommend journaling because it can improve your mood and manage symptoms of depression. Studies support this and suggest journaling is good for your mental health. It may also make therapy work better.

Journaling also helps people hone their focus so that they think about only one thing at a time. When you write your thoughts by hand, you can only write one word at a time. Your thoughts slow down to match your writing speed and you’ll find that it’s easier to slip out of your overthinking mindset. Once kids can pick up a pencil or crayon, they can start writing a journal. It doesn’t have to actually be words, it can be pictures, letters, stickers, or cut-and-pasted memorabilia. The goal of writing a journal is to express yourself on paper. This goal doesn’t change whether a child is four or ten.

What is a journal in Counselling?

A therapeutic journal is not like a traditional diary where you record what you have done in the day and your experiences from an external view; it is a journal that acts as self-therapy involving the writer writing down thoughts and feelings to enable making a breakthrough of problems, and enabling a deeper clearer … A journal and a diary are similar in kind but differ in degree. Both are used to keep personal records, but diaries tend to deal with the day to day, more data collection really, and journals with bigger picture reflection/aspiration. Rereading Journals is a Valuable and Powerful Activity.

We not only keep journals and find the process of writing in our journal valuable. We also often reread our journals, for all sorts of reasons. This rereading experience can be just as valuable and powerful as the initial writing experience—sometimes, even more so … Sometimes keeping a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences helps, but often it makes things worse. In general, it is likely to hurt if it tries to help you “know yourself” in isolation and helps if it leads to greater understanding and behavior change in your interactions with others.

Do therapists recommend journaling?

Journaling is one self-care method counselors can recommend to their clients. Clients can use this tool on their own and incorporate these entries into a therapy session. Counselors refer to journaling in therapy as writing therapy, journal therapy or expressive art therapy. So can journaling be harmful? The answer is yes, there are scenarios in which journaling can be harmful, but these scenarios are easily avoidable. Just like anything, you have to moderate the amount of time you spend doing it. You simply have to know when to stop. But writing in your journal as a way to release and express your thoughts, feelings and emotions can be a life-changing habit. Daily writing can be a challenge if you’re new to it.

Much like meditating, it requires patience and commitment. But if you stick to it, it can improve your life in significant ways. Instead, address your negative thoughts in a healthy and productive way like journaling. Journaling is a great mindfulness practice because it lets us get all of our thoughts out onto paper and out of our heads. Not only does this help us clear our minds of those thoughts, but it also helps us work through them. Make Journaling a Habit Set a timer on your smartphone and commit to writing for at least 15 minutes a day. Pick the time of day you’re most likely to write so journaling becomes routine. Some people write in the morning to focus their thoughts and start the day with a set of goals and a positive attitude.

Why do therapist want you to journal?

Benefits of therapeutic journaling Keeping a record of ideas and concepts, or things you learn in therapy. Tracking your progress. Helping to make sense of thoughts and experiences, and organizing them in a meaningful way. Helping you to recognize patterns in thoughts, feelings or behavior. Benefits of Journalling for Trauma Journalling, or expressive writing, can help people understand and process PTSD symptoms such as anger and anxiety. Trauma and PTSD impact our ability to effectively self-regulate our emotions, so writing about them on paper can offer valuable insight and perspective. Both of these practices, meditation and therapeutic journaling or writing, have been endorsed by therapists for many years now.

Both deliver positive results when it comes to treatment and have a lot of practical value as part of a daily routine. When it comes to research, however, therapeutic writing cleans up. Can journaling help with anxiety? The answer is yes. A 2018 research study found that people who journaled had a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. That’s because the process of writing can release pent-up feelings and negative thoughts, which helps to quiet the mind. Personal Diary A junk journal can be a great place to record your thoughts, dreams, project ideas, or even appointments and events. If you plan to do lots of writing, you can leave plenty of blank space on the pages. Tags and foldout journaling spots provide more unique places to write.

Why is therapy better than journaling?

Journaling can heal you faster, both emotionally and physically. In a 2005 study on the emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times over the course of the four-month study was enough to make a positive impact. The expressive writing protocol consists of asking someone to write about a stressful, traumatic or emotional experience for three to five sessions, over four consecutive days, for 15-20 minutes per session. Research has found it to be useful as a stand-alone tool or as an adjunct to traditional psychotherapies.

The simple act of expressing thoughts and feelings on paper about challenging and upsetting events can allow us to move forward by expressing and letting go of the feelings involved. Expressive writing also provides an opportunity to construct a meaningful personal narrative about what happened. Even scientific evidence backs this technique—researchers have found journaling can help reduce intrusive thoughts, organize scattered memories and improve your overall mental and physical health. Journaling also helps people hone their focus so that they think about only one thing at a time. “An emotion journal allows you to record your feelings over several days or weeks and then notice patterns or trends,” Ruiz says. When you can recognize these trends, you can work to eliminate or avoid certain triggers — or focus your energy on how best to respond next time.

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