One of the great benefits of spending time with a therapist is that the client gets to talk about their problems and feelings. The claim that a ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ might sound like an overused cliché, but there is a great deal of truth in the saying. The other important reason the ‘talking cure’ works is that it means the person can gain insights that he or she would otherwise have missed. A therapist is qualified to guide a person along this journey of self-discovery, but it is also possible to enjoy similar benefits from writing therapy – although the latter should not be seen as a suitable replacement for the former.
What is Writing Therapy?
Writing therapy is a therapy in which a person writes things down with the goal of this act being therapeutic. It is most often done under the guidance of a therapist or counsellor who is specially trained to guide the person through this process. This type of work can be done in a face-to-face situation with a therapist or it can be done remotely via post or the internet. Journaling is considered a type of writing therapy, which is something anyone can do even if he or she did not want to spend time with a therapist.
The Benefits of Writing Therapy
People have been enjoying the therapeutic effects of journaling for thousands of years. It has been shown to be good for not only mental but also physical and emotional health. Some of the benefits of writing therapy include:
- problems that can appear insurmountable when just tacked mentally can appear less intimidating when written down on paper – this is because the thinking has a tendency to make mountains out of molehills
- writing something down can give similar relief to that of sharing a problem with a friend – although ideally, you should do both
- the act of writing something down often means that a solution to a problem becomes obvious by the time you have stopped writing
- writing things down is akin to freeing up space inside of your brain
- this type of writing means that you get to know yourself better, which can lead to important insights that will make your life better
- it is a way for you to clarify your thoughts and feelings
- it can be a way to get in touch with your subconscious mind
- the act of journaling can be an excellent way to manage stress
- reduced stress means less likelihood of developing stress-related relapse
- it is a great way to gauge your progress in recovery
- it makes it easier to spot the signs if you have gone off course in recovery
- writing things down can make it easier for you to appreciate the views of others – this means it can be good for helping you resolve conflicts
- it is advantageous to have a record of your thoughts and it can be something you want to read back on regularly in the future.
Tips for Getting the Most out of Writing Therapy
In order to get the most out of writing therapy, it is a good idea to do this under the guidance of a therapist – at least in the beginning. This professional will be able to use your writing as tool to help you gain greater insights into your problems. The goal here is not for the therapist to tell you exactly what you need to be writing, but it can help to have feedback and guidance.
It is a great idea to begin keeping a journal in recovery, which will provide many of the benefits of professional writing therapy. It is important that you commit to doing this every day though; this is easier if you set an exact time for journaling so that it becomes a habit. You only need to be writing in your journal for a few minutes every day in order to enjoy some great benefits from this practice. These days there are many apps that you can use on your mobile device for journaling, and these usually come with security features so that others people cannot read what you have written. If you do not mind sharing your journal with the world, you might consider doing it as part of a blog.