In Consultation

In Consultation

The Power of the Pen in Therapy: Some journaling exercises to enhance your work

By Susan Borkin

September/October 2014

Q: I keep hearing that journaling has many benefits for clients. I like the idea, but I’m not sure where to start. How can I integrate journaling into my practice?

A: Perhaps the most important rule about journaling with clients is that there are no rules. Therapeutic journaling is a fluid, free-form kind of writing, with no need to worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. In its broadest sense, it’s any type of writing or expressive process used for the purpose of healing or psychological growth. By taking time in your sessions to have clients record their free-flowing thoughts and concerns, even for just a minute, they can explore issues they may be dealing with but find hard to verbalize, clear their minds, and have a list of things they’d like to cover with you during therapy. Journaling is also useful for clients to do between sessions to keep them connected to their therapeutic work and aware of changing thoughts and feelings.

Below are some suggestions for best practice. Because every client is different, it’s important for you to tailor your approach to each individual’s personal issues and comfort level.

Keep it simple. You don’t have to start with complex journaling exercises. Instead, you can suggest to your clients that they notice and write down their feelings for four days out of the week. If you want to get a bit more specific, you can invite them to attend to what they experience…

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