As kids, many of us told our deepest secrets and our hopes and dreams to our diaries. And then we got older and forgot all about visiting those pages each day.
You may have heard about journaling, which some would say is the adult equivalent of keeping a diary. But journaling can also be a powerful form of therapy, as journaling exercises can bring about self-awareness and improve mental health.
The Difference Between Journal Therapy and Keeping a Journal
Before the 1960s, when journal therapy began, people simply used a journal to record their experiences, much like they did as kids. This was a narrative form of writing and wasn’t really seen as a truly therapeutic process.
But when psychologist Dr. Ira Progoff introduced an intensive form of journaling, the therapeutic potential of the journaling process came into view. Today, journal therapy is a stand-alone therapy modality similar to art and music therapy.
Perhaps the biggest difference between journal therapy and simply keeping a journal is the way an individual’s internal thoughts, feelings and experiences are captured. Journal therapy allows a person to not only write down their issues and concerns, but to also be reflective and introspective about them. In this way, journal therapy can be a real agent for change.
Who Can Benefit from Journal Therapy?
Journal therapy can be very beneficial for those individuals who typically have difficulty processing their thoughts and emotions. Journal therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Grief and loss
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
- Low self-esteem
- And more
While anyone can try journaling on their own, to truly benefit from the process, it’s best to work with a therapist who can guide you and offer prompts that can help you get your thoughts and feelings on the page.
If you are struggling with mental health issues, have a hard time talking about them, and would like to explore journaling therapy, please reach out to me.