Have you ever been feeling low, down in the dumps, stuck in a rut, or just plain stressed out? We all fall on difficult times, and we all struggle to retain our equilibrium at some point in our lives, often at times of transition, but sometimes simply in feeling helpless about what has or is happening.
I am absolutely not a therapist but firmly believe in the power of writing and other forms of creativity as ‘therapy’ or to enhance personal growth. It is human nature to write. Pen and paper are connected. Wonderfully, writing is always reworkable – you write the script and can change it. You have ownership and can decide who sees it.
Writing can help you to deal with illnesses, work issues, relationship problems, your past, your present, your future.
Writing therapy, also known as journal therapy, is exactly what it sounds like – journaling for therapeutic benefits. However, it is not just about keeping a journal.
Diary writing is usually free form, but therapeutic writing is based on directed writing prompts and exercises. Therapeutic writing is not a list of everyday events and thoughts but more thinking about and interacting with those processes.
My diary might say: today, I took my mother in law to the doctor. My journal would say how I felt about that (resentment, perhaps) and, most importantly, why I feel that way. It can elicit change in how we deal with people in our lives, and how we react to events/individuals.
Our thinking is often not coherent, lucid and uninterrupted. Thoughts ramble and meander. Writing them down helps you to keep track of insights:
- I don’t want to go to that party
- I think I’m falling for this person
- I’m no longer passionate about my job
- I realise how I can solve that problem
- I’m really scared about that situation
Therapeutic writing includes letters to people, poems, and a journal. It can help you to find meaning in your life/actions, and even find the silver lining in the most difficult/negative life experiences.
If you prefer to try therapeutic writing for yourself, there are several resources available which suggest exercises like the ones in this blog.
So many people with so many problems. None of us is exempt. Therefore, I’d like to run a small afternoon group in Bude for anyone who thinks this form of writing is for them, who will find it helpful. I would also recommend this free online course on reading for wellbeing: