Therapeutic Journal Writing

“In its very essence, Journal Therapy is a bridge into first our own humanity,
and then our own spirituality.”

Journal to the Self: Twenty-two Paths to Personal Growth
by Kay Adams

Anne Frank, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Annie Dillard, Henry David Thoreau and the French writer Anais Nin exemplify the therapeutic and creative rewards of keeping a journal of one’s thoughts, reflections, and ideas.

“I can shake off everything if I write.  My sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” – Anne Frank

“We write to express our awareness of life.  We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.  We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. …To teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth.”  – Anais Nin

Therapeutic Journal Writing is a powerful method to foster self-examination as well as creativity.  Skills learned can be used in numerous situations and for wildly different purposes.

Therapeutic Journal Writing goes by different names – Journal TherapyExpressive WritingMindful WritingWriting to Flourish – but shares core features when put into practice.

It is Process Writing – not Product Writing.  Therapeutic writing asks you to express your thoughts and feelings honestly, not as you learned for creative writing where your skills are tested.

It is Reflective Writing.  In Journal Therapy you are asked to reread what you have just written while noticing anything that stands out or raises new questions.

Also called a Feedback Loop, reflecting on what you have just written brings your writing full-circle concluding with new awareness and knowledge of yourself providing further thoughts and actions you may choose. It is the first skill to master and will help you every time you write in your journal.

It is Cathartic Writing in which you release problematic and painful thoughts and feelings helping you to get unstuck and move on.

And it’s Integrative Writing providing an effective and efficient way to discover meaning and direction for your life.

Just Journaling isn’t going to work as well.  Becoming aware of your Self-Talk and having choices is essential for feelings of mastery, comfort and manageability.

Therapeutic Journal Writing works because of a combination of three integral features: the techniques used, your personal expression in writing and the Feedback Loop.

This type of writing can be easily adapted and integrated into other forms of therapy.  It’s relatively fast, quite inexpensive and has potential to change the way you see the world.

Kay Adams and Susan Hendricks

Kay Adams and Susan Hendricks


Susan Hendricks earned the designation of Certified Journal Therapist (CJT) from the Center for Journal Therapy after completing required study, practice and research in 2013. She was recognized by the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy as a Certified Journal Therapist – Endorsed (CJT-E) in 2015.

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