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Journaling for Your Soul


As a therapist and life coach, I have often introduced my clients to two forms of journaling that they consistently enjoy and greatly value. Each method involves spontaneous or stream-of-consciousness writing. Both of these practices serve at least one of the following objectives for each person:

  • expanding awareness of attitudes, beliefs, behavior and emotions
  • increasing access to unconscious (subconscious) thoughts and feelings
  • generating creativity
  • breaking through writer’s block
  • providing direction for behavior or a course of action

Journaling Method #1

Without thinking, allow your hand to write or type 250 – 750 words (client’s choice each time). That range of words represents the equivalent of 1 – 3 typed pages on standard, 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Do this exercise once daily for five consecutive days and then decide if you want to continue. Afterwards, read what you wrote without judgment. You may benefit by re-reading it later that day or at another time. You may notice some themes that emerge. Clients who attempt this practice invariably find it very informative and powerful. Of course, some don’t continue it beyond the requested five-day trial, but many do—in a few instances for years!

Journaling Method #2

At the top of a sheet of paper (at least 5 x 8 inches) write a stimulus word or phrase about a topic you want to further delve into or explore. For example, you might write: a) love   b) my sadness c) my habit of procrastinating   d) how to resolve X matter. Write/type without thinking for just 3- 5 minutes. Afterwards, notice what grabbed your attention—sometimes it may be just a salient word or phrase. You could elect to re-write on your same topic or perhaps use one of the those prominent words or phrases as the stimulus for your next writing. This practice is particularly effective when done 1-2 times daily for at least a week.

During each of these journaling approaches, most clients are quite surprised, often awed, and sometimes disturbed by what their writing reveals to them. Journal material that they share with me frequently creates grist for further inquiry and potent discussion.

I invite you to try both journaling forms at least once to get a quick sense of their potential use and value. Please let me know your experience.

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Jim and Ruth Sharon

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