Keeping a journal in therapy: a personal treasure, a tedious task, a compulsion, a routine, a…?
I try to explain the value of it in my sessions. Some of the arguments towards my clients are:
- they will be helped to build more on self awareness,
- they will gain satisfaction from their progress, since the journal is like a measuring scale,
- they will practise exposure and they will decrease avoidance patterns,
- writing about unpleasant events, thoughts and so on augments acceptance and the ability to make room for thorny feelings.
We all know that arguments may not be that strong or effective. Or they may end up in disputes and in a game of persuasion.
I keep a journal because I was easily “convinced” or I was willing enough to make this experiment. The reinforcing process of writing is the one that strengthens my engagement. Even during days that I just write my activities, these periods become my compass some years afterwards. I may return to my journal, so as to see what I was doing then, what gave me pleasure, how many kilos my body used to weight and so many other sacred information.
I may see people that no longer exist in my life. I may read names that back then were just names and now are transformed into friends. This is such a magical process and it will be felt like that only if it is experienced. Talking about a journal may be aversive for a person who is not that accustomed to writing or is afraid of being alone with himself/herself or thinks it is a waste of time or has not the slightest idea of how to begin.
One of the most valuable remarks of my journal is this one: there was a period of my life, when I used to write my daily events in a lyrical way. Back then I thought it was a creative thing to do and I was happy about it. I was eager to see the place where the lyricism would lead me. Now that I am reading these entries, I know why I had chosen this writing style.
I wanted to transform my daily life into poetry, because reality was not satisfying. However there was nothing evident that caused pain. The subtle stimuli and my senses were not enough to guide me through my personal truth. I guess my self was trying to show me a way to compensate for the dissatisfaction. Now I know the function of that process. Back then I was searching into it.
This is a piece of revelation stemming from some pages, offering hope for wisdom growth. This small notebook is my personal bible. In there I am a sinner and a saint; most of all I am authentic. Expanding the room for faith in myself is a mission linked to this little notebook.
I will definitely keep on writing and experimenting in different styles. What about you?