Release Your Voice Through Journal Therapy
Journal Therapy is the intentional process of writing down your thoughts and feelings for spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and relational healing and personal growth. It allows you to articulate, dialogue with, shift perspectives on, and analyze life's problems while gaining a deeper understanding of yourself. As you gain clarity, you will experience greater peace and an overall sense of well-being. Journal Therapy can be a huge asset in your heart journey to health and wholeness.
Journal writing can be a powerful therapeutic tool that is used with your therapist or independently. When appropriate Journal Therapy is incorporated into your session or assigned as homework at Heart Journey Christian Counseling, LLC (HJCC). Your therapist may assign writing prompts and exercises to support the therapeutic process.
There are many benefits to Journal Therapy, including:
Releasing your voice to fully express your thoughts and feelings
Practicing hearing the voice of God (Future blog post)
Giving you a safe place to tell your story without a filter and judgment
Externalizing the pain and relieving tension
Promoting gratitude, self-acceptance, and self-worth
Gaining a healthier perspective to see God, yourself, relationships, and circumstances
Clarifying goals or areas of your life that have been confusing or ambiguous
Processing unresolved grief and trauma
Coping with chronic or life-threatening illness
Recovering from addictions and eating disorders
Restoring couples and family relations
Developing communication skills
Unleashing your creativity
Increasing your immune system and your body's ability to withstand stress
Recording your journey to health
Give Journal Therapy a Chance:
Everyone is not a natural writer and therefore, some cringe at the idea of journaling. Sometimes this dislike for writing stems from your writing being judged by teachers and parents or from lack of confidence of what to write.
The good news is that Journal Therapy is not about spelling, grammar, or sentence structure. In other words, there are no rules other than be honest with yourself. In fact, therapeutic journaling encourages you to ignore all writing errors to focus on expressing your authentic voice. Journal therapy can also be structured, which alleviates the pressure of figuring out what to write.
If you do not consider yourself a joyful writer, you are encouraged to give it a chance before concluding that it is not for you. However, HJCC understands that Journal Therapy is not a good fit for every individual and endeavors to work with your strengths.
Important Keys to Journal Therapy:
Choose your tools – Are you a pen and paper kind of person or do you prefer electronic journals? You want to choose tools that feel inviting and fit with your natural flow.
Some people enjoy the smoothness of the pen as it glides across the paper and the process of writing each word on paper. If you like pen and paper, delight in the process of buying the perfect journal and writing utensils.
Electronic journals have their advantage also. Some people prefer electronic journals because typing is more legible than their handwriting or they can type faster than they write. The added advantage in keeping an electronic journal is that it is password protected for increased privacy.
Your Privacy Matters - In order for you to truly be authentic in the writing process, you must have confidence that nobody is reading your work without your expressed permission. Without this confidence, your authentic voice will not fully emerge and you will filter your thoughts. Protecting your privacy requires some forethought. If you use paper and pencil and live with other people, you have to be creative with where you store your journal.
Quiet Your Thoughts - Before you begin, say a prayer, listen silently to worship music, meditate, nurse a cup of tea, etc. This helps you brush off the business of life and get connected to the Godhead and your authentic self.
Date Your Entries – You want to be able to go back and read your process. Your journal becomes a record of your heart journey to health.
Be Honest With Yourself – Journal Therapy encourages you to take down the mask and be authentic. It requires that you tell the truth about what is going on in your internal world. Don’t be tempted to hide behind the expectations you put on yourself, others put on you, or even religion imposes on you.
Write Fast and Don’t Stop – You need to write quickly so that your authentic voice will be heard before the critical and judgmental voice can filter your words.
Stay tuned for additional information about therapeutic journal writing.