I frequently ask my therapy clients to journal about topics related to the content we are exploring in our art therapy sessions.
For example, if a client is working on how to be more assertive in her life, I might ask her to journal about times she wishes she had been more assertive and why.
Journaling is a way for us to slow down and examine our thoughts and experiences.
I journal daily, and the resulting benefits are one of the reasons I encourage others to do so.
My daily journaling process recently shifted as I gave myself a personal challenge to write 100 essays in 100 days.
I can write about whatever I want, but the essays must be typed and ready to be published on my blog (though I don’t publish them right away).
When I write something that I know others will read, I write in a different way.
In my journal, my thoughts can bounce all over the place, ramble, and touch on deeply personal topics.
In writing an essay for public consumption, I stay honed in on a chosen topic. I also structure my writing so that it logically flows and supports my perspectives. It causes me to think more critically about why I have a particular opinion. It helps me to find the vocabulary and best combination of words to explain.
I’ve noticed that after writing about specific topics, I can verbally discuss those topics more comfortably with my clients and with others.
I’ve also seen that writing helps me to bust through my own limiting thought patterns.
For example, I’ve been avoiding writing essays on religious deconstruction. I’ve felt so much resistance to it even though I work with clients on it weekly.
I finally decided to write an essay about my resistance. As I wrote out my reasons and tried to explain them to others, I quickly realized how little evidence I had to support them. I saw that my reasons were rooted in fears of being judged, misunderstood, mislabeled, and disliked.
This was insightful information for me. It showed me that I still have some healing and growth to be done in this area of my life.
I would not have come to this conclusion if I was just journaling for myself.
I’m not suggesting that everyone start publishing their inner thoughts and landscape, but it is a worthy exercise to write as if an audience will read it.
It is an exercise I especially recommend if an individual wants to be more verbally articulate or coherent with a particular topic, or wants to move through resistance or procrastination with a particular subject.
I provide art therapy for individuals with overwhelming thoughts and emotions.