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Can journal writing be therapeutic?

In psychology, it is said that trapping emotions can cause an emotional blow-up in the long-run. To what extent can journal writing help someone make important discussions, express him/herself, and can it be incorporated into therapy?

  • I find introspective writing to be very useful. I keep a public blog where I share my thoughts on my own anxiety, depression, and other issues. I think part of the catharsis of this type of journaling for me is connecting with other people who feel the same things as me but haven't expressed them, and letting people know how I'm doing. Private journals have also held a helpful expressive place for me over the years, but nothing has been nearly as helpful or rewarding for me as the public blog space. I also find myself procrastinating the introspective writing process sometimes, and when that happens I know I need to write about something really badly. Also, the putting things out into the public space helps to make things real and to validate an experience, and pressing the "publish" button is usually accompanied with a feeling of letting go. I find it really really useful. – Amanda 8 years ago
  • In similar vein to what Amanda is saying, i've kept several private journals as a way of coping with stresses and the like but when it was only me reading they were filled with my "shorthand" so to speak. Opening up my writing (to a chosen few) demanded that i change the way I write; trying to be clearer about what i was saying for my audience helped me to be clearer with myself and gain a better understanding of the things i was feeling or thinking. I think in a therapeutic setting journal writing could be really effective, the person would have an outlet as well as an audience with whom to share and unpack their writing. – tlbdb 8 years ago
  • Absolutely I think that writing in journals can be therapeutic. It has the potential for self-discovery as well as revisiting events that might have been traumatic. On a lighter note, gratitude journals are a great way to start or end the day on a positive note! When she was suffering from stage four breast cancer, my Nana kept a gratitude journal and it helped her immensely. – LAMead 8 years ago
  • The use of the word "can" in your heading makes the question, and any subsequent positions a little ambiguous. Realistically, anything "can" be therapeutic, but certainly not for everyone, and different people are calmed by different things. Try to avoid generalizations; they lead to weak arguments. – ProtoCanon 8 years ago
  • If you read the story of Deland Klebold's mother regarding the Columbine shooting, she reveals that she kept a journal, Dylan kept a journal and so did Eric Harris. One point she highlights is that on the same day she wrote her son was "having a great time" Dylan wrote that he "felt so alone, without a friend in the world." Journal writing has its limitations for some who may need more help and in some cases can provide a false sense of viable therapy. It is great for some, not for others who need more. – Munjeera 8 years ago
  • Yes! Thank you! I love this idea. I recently started writing in journals again and I would agree that it can be very therapeutic. I rarely ever leave the house without my "little black book". Automatic writing has a way of clearing the mind. For the article, I would suggest interviewing a number of people that write in journals and record their impressions. This topic has a wide scope so I think it could be narrowed down to focus on a few examples of therapeutic journal writing. – AlexanderLee 7 years ago
  • I totally think journal writing is therapeutic!! When you write out something, it requires you to processes it and organize it. One of my favorite quotes is "I write to know what I'm thinking." Sometimes we get caught up in the drama of our lives, or we feel something and we don't totally understand why we feel that way. Writing out what's going on and textually trying to explain your feelings can help a ton in figuring out how to handle them. I've had a lot of moments where something was confusing me and then once I started to write about it, different details lined up and the problem clicked in my head. – CalissaJB 7 years ago
  • Yes, it has been scientifically proven. – T. Palomino 12 months ago