Therapeutic Journaling

What is therapeutic journaling?

Therapeutic journaling is the process of writing down our thoughts, emotions and experiences.

It differs from the process of recording daily events in a diary, which many of us are probably familiar with. Therapeutic journaling is about delving a little deeper; writing in a way that helps us to make sense of our internal experiences, learn, and gain new perspectives on our challenges. Writing about our thoughts and emotions enables us to express them in a way that can help work through difficulties and move forward.

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or down, try therapeutic journaling. It’s one tool that can help improve your wellbeing. While it’s not a total replacement for therapy, it can help you to create meaning and feel better, or can be a helpful addition to traditional talking therapies.

How to keep a therapeutic journal

There is no right or wrong way to keep a therapeutic journal. However, the following tips might help you to get started:

Therapeutic journaling and mental health

Journaling can help people who are experiencing symptoms of common mental health challenges such as:

It can also be a tool used to compliment progress in talking therapies.

Additionally, researchers have found that therapeutic journaling can help people who are experiencing physical health problems such as chronic illnesses (1, 2).

However, if you have experienced trauma, journaling should be approached cautiously. It can create more distress if not undertaken with the help of a mental health professional. If you would like to journal, it’s best to discuss this in therapy first.

Benefits of therapeutic journaling

Therapeutic journaling can help improve physical and psychological wellbeing in various ways, by:

How does therapeutic journaling work?

It’s likely that therapeutic journaling can help people in various ways. A recent study found that therapeutic journaling can help to improve psychological wellbeing by:

By doing this, it is thought people become able to deal with stress more effectively (3).

Therapy types to consider combining with therapeutic journaling

To maximize the effectiveness of therapy, try journaling alongside just about any therapy type, including:

Sources and references:

  1. http://www.gruberpeplab.com/teaching/psych3131_summer2015/documents/14.2_Pennebaker1997_Writingemotionalexperiences.pdf
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/emotional-and-physical-health-benefits-of-expressive-writing/ED2976A61F5DE56B46F07A1CE9EA9F9F
  3. https://www.apa.org/monitor/sep01/keepdiary
  4. http://projects.hsl.wisc.edu/SERVICE/modules/12/M12_CT_TherapeuticJournaling.pdf