Writing for Healing
Writing as a Therapeutic Tool
Insight and healing don’t flow automatically from pencil to page. We need to apply ourselves. Diary-writing, or journaling, for instance, is a genuine dialogue with the self.
To be beneficial it requires strategies, deep thought and concentration, and the ability to cope with frustration when a hoped-for insight does not come easily. In this way, my diary slowly evolved from a survival tool, and a coping tool for a severe mental illness, to a method for re-building and strengthening my healthy self.
Besides communicating with self, private writing can help us to communicate with others. We can take significant extracts, and reshape them to share with others. We can help ourselves out of deep psychological holes through writing. Problems like traumatic stress disorder or an eating disorder, can seem impossible barriers. However, the combination of pencil and paper, a little time most days, and a commitment to exploration can enable us to gain insight, inspiration and self-healing strategies, and turn despair into hope.
Life writing can be a useful tool to ‘speak’ on our behalf when verbalizing our feelings seems too difficult. Finding safe ways to share our private world in a narrative way can enable our experiences to be emotionally processed, validated, debated, and/or challenged. It can help us to gauge helpful responses to communicating snippets of our private world with others.
The process of sharing writing, if not fully perhaps in summary form or letter, as a basis for discussion and reflection in a safe, supportive environment, can help to ease deep-seated feelings of shame and stigma that may be the cause of resistance to engaging more positively in mainstream and realizing life dreams. Narrative mentoring can enable painful emotions and related inhibitions to be addressed, re-packaged and placed in the context of life, in a healing way, allowing freedom to move on, over time.