Writing and Well-being: Utilizing Journal Writing in Therapy Esther W. Wright-Wilson, Ph.D., ABPP Texas A&M University, Student Counseling Service 7th Annual HBCU Counseling Center Conference We Wear the Mask - Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile; But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask! Reasons We Hide our Pain It would hurt my family. It will ruin my career.

Folks will think Im crazy. I cant afford to seem weak. I still have shame about it; I know I shouldnt, but I cant help it. Terrie M. Williams Black Pain: It Just Looks Like Were Not Hurting - Where would I have been without my journal? It has become the archetypal friend. I have used and abused it

more than any person would have tolerated. But it was always there waiting for me. I could say absolutely anything and there was never a judgment, never a criticism. It was totally accepting and totally present; it gave me a chance to be me and demanded nothing in return And where else would it have been possible to process a subject as dreary as grief? I wouldnt even expect a friend to listen to the stuff I dumped in my journal. Jean Jameson, in her paper The Five Stages of Grief As Experienced in My Journal.

Presented By Kathleen Adams in her book , Journal to the Self Benefits of Journal Writing Improve physical health and mental wellbeing. Diminish symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, substance abuse, PTSD, asthma, arthritis, and many other health conditions and disorders. Improve cognitive functioning. Strengthen the immune system,

preventing a host of illnesses. Counteract many of the negative effects of What makes journal writing beneficial? Clear confusion and improve decision making process. Explore dreams. Spark/Explore creativity. Track the cycles, patterns, and trends of life. Get to know different parts of yourself.

Get and stay in touch with your feelings. Release pain, frustration and negative emotions like anger and fear. Grasp valuable insights that clear blocks and move you forward. Uncover and nurture a bigger picture for your life. Promotes gratitude. Journal writing is a way of paying close attention to

our lives. - Marlene A. Schiwy Voice of Her Own: Women and the Journal Writing Journey Who am I? is the greatest question a woman can ask herself Self-discovery is

what life is all about. Unfolding within our spiritual activities, our daydreams, our love relationships, our parental responsibilities, our careers, Types of Journals Gratitude Journal

Health Journal Creative Journal Dreams Journal Couple Journal Family Journal Child-Parent Journal Prayer/Spiritual Journal Kitchen Sink Journal Utilizing Journal Writing in

Therapy Combining the Talking Cure with the Writing Cure. Can make the difference between spending some time in therapy and truly being in therapy. Enhances the therapeutic experience. Utilizing Journal Writing in Individual Counseling

At the start of session During the session At the end of session Between sessions

Utilizing Journal Writing in Individual Counseling At the start of session - To center or focus client. - How do you want to use this session? Utilizing Journal Writing in Individual Counseling

During the session - Also to help client focus - To deepen the session Journal writing prompts that could deepen the session: - Who am I? - Why am I here? - What do I want? - Whats really going on for me right now? - What do I feel now?

Utilizing Journal Writing in Individual Counseling At the end of session - Reflect on what happened in the session. - What am I taking away from todays session? - What can I do this week to continue the work

done today? Utilizing Journal Writing in Individual Counseling Between sessions - What was covered in the last session. -

What you'd like to discuss in the future. What you're noticing about yourself this week. How you feel about therapy and/or the therapist. What you're feeling and thinking in the moment. Your worries. Your blessings. Your goals. Document your progress. Explore what is keeping you stuck. Utilizing Journal Writing in Group Counseling

Warm ups at the beginning of session Journal Writing Prompts: - Fears and expectations about group - What would you like to work on in group today? Assessment of groups progress and the group process Journal Writing Prompts: - Are you getting what you need out of group? If not, what can you do differently and how can the group members be helpful to you ?

Termination Journal Writing Prompts - What did you learn about yourself? - What new ways of relating did you engage? - What do you wish you did differently? Talking to Clients about Journal Writing Prime the pump. Mention any benefits of journal writing

applicable to clients concerns. Present it as a tool for continuing work done in session. Muscle building analogy. Each of us holds at our core a deep desire to become more of who we

really are. Your journal will serve as a scribe throughout the journey of your life. Your journal will serve as a chronicle of your growth, your hopes, your We cannot change our memories, but we can change their meaning

and the power they have over us. - David Seamans Journal Writing Techniques Sentence Stems Five Minute Sprint Inventory Lists of 100

AlphaPoems Springboards Free Writing Sentence Stems A sentence completion process. S e n t

e n c e S t e m s

Fill in the blank with a word or phrase Five-Minute Sprint A timed writing process designed to bring focus and intensity in short bursts. Writing Sprints at regular intervals on the same subject allows tracking of feelings, projects, issues over time.

Can be enhanced with a Reflective/Feedback Write. Inventory Taking inventory of a question, problem, issue, stuck place, etc. to build a bridge from where I am to where I want to be Areas to inventory might include health, family, finances, relationships, habits, etc.

Inventory Questions Where am I now? Where do I want to be? When do I want to be there? What are the action steps to get there? What is my first action step? Lists of 100 Clarifying thoughts

Identifying patterns or problems Brainstorming solutions Getting below the surface Gathering a lot of information quickly Focusing attention on whats really going on AlphaPoems Write the alphabet, A-Z, or any other collection of letters, vertically down the page.

Next, write a poem in which each successive line begins with the next letter. Offers a structured and fun way to write poetry with a high predictability of success. Xceptable to use Xceptions for Xtra-hard letters. CALM Close your eyes And be embraced by the silence

Let your breath deepen, filling you body and soothing your Mind Esther W. Wright-Wilson, 2/26/08 Springboards Two basic types: Statements and Questions Essentially generic sentences or questions that have a fill-in-the-blank aspect. Helpful Springboards: Quotations, lyrics.

Keep It Short and Simple. Free Write Unstructured, unboundaried, free-form narrative write. Starts anywhere and goes where it pleases. Begin by beginning: Dive in and follow the pen.

What if I don't feel like writing in my journal? Make a picture journal. Make a collage on a piece of paper or cardboard that's bigger than your journal. Think of a current challenge in your life and draw an image that reflects that challenge or how you are feeling.

Seasons of my life Journal Writing Prompts Music Poetry Pictures Quotes There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Dr. Maya Angelou

Journal Writing Exercise Questions? Contact Information [email protected]

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