Therapy

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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 4 years ago
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  • 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 4 years ago
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  • 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 4 years ago
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  • 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 4 years ago
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  • 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 4 years ago
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  • 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 4 years ago
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  • 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 4 years ago
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Art As Medicine

Can art be used as a means of therapy or treatment? We already have research suggesting that certain colors evoke certain emotions and feelings. We also have research suggestion that certain images and music may do the same thing. Is it possible that patients with minor behavioral issues could be helped by meditating over an image when they become sad or even angry? Or perhaps that sad music could be listened to to evoke low emotions and allow grieving, and then quickly followed by happier music to bring a person back to a positive state of mind?

  • I like this topic! I know, for example, shellshocked soldiers during WWI read Jane Austen novels to relieve their mental turmoil. The concept of having a healthy psyche which, in turn, leads to healthy recovery is a wonderful topic that I'd love to read more about. – Connor 5 years ago
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  • I'm a music major, and several of my profs have mentioned the rise of music therapy. It's a rapidly growing field. Perhaps that could be part of this topic; is there a reason that art is being valued more and more as a type of therapy? – Laura Jones 5 years ago
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  • I do believe the healing power of art. During my depression period, I started teaching myself watercolor and oil painting. When creating, you can focus on the present and allow yourself occupied by the color, brush strokes and images. You then forget the unpleasant past and uncertain future. You are so happy with the high productivity. Making arts can release your inner artist and enables you to get to know a new community. New way of seeing and thinking open your mind winder and make your heart bigger. In creating art work, you understand all kinds of emotions and want to let them out in a comfortable way. By doing art, I realize I have more aesthetic capacity and can see beauty in everything now...... Becoming an artist, awakening/seeking an authentic self ... – HappyNewYing 5 years ago
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  • I stumbled upon this article that could help in your research of this topic:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11403404/Art-does-heal-scientists-say-appreciating-creative-works-can-fight-off-disease.html I think it's a worthwhile topic best of luck if you choose to pursue it! – kaliveach 5 years ago
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  • Something to note could also be the rise of therapeutic adult coloring books. – MichelleAjodah 5 years ago
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  • Yes it can; there are degree programs in Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Drama Therapy - they are legitimate occupations (and require a lot of education - you have to have undergraduate degrees in psychology AND art/music/theatre, and then get a Master's or PhD in the particular therapy, so it can take up to a decade to get a license. There are also only 34 universities in the United States that offer EPAB-approved Art Therapy graduate degree programs, so they are hard to come by, even if you have the time to devote to them). Exploring specific strategies of these therapies (such as the possibilities you presented) is probably a better topic than asking if they exist. – Katheryn 5 years ago
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  • As someone pursuing a bachelors degree in music therapy, I know – not even think – that music is healing.The field grows every day, with more people becoming more aware of what music therapy is all about. It is not the mere listening to music to lift spirits or playing music for others’ relaxation and enjoyment (though it does include these techniques, don’t get me wrong); it involves so much more, for example: creating music, movement to music, socialization, storytelling using music, and a combination of these. Even silence can be used if it is what the client responds to.Music itself is therapeutic, and when implemented in an intimate clinical setting with a trained professional, it only enhances the effect. From what I have read and seen of case studies, music can help people with depression, autism, dementia (this is a big one), and various physiological problems, to name a few. I’m not going to dwell upon what “officially” constitutes as music therapy (according to my textbooks), but I can say that every individual’s reaction to music is unique; no one situation is the same, and therefore, there is no one universal music therapy technique that everybody will respond to.Long story short, music is therapeutic and healing, but music therapy is so much more. – thiaxmusic 4 years ago
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