January 25

What Is Writing Therapy And How Will It Help Your Healing?

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I am a massive fan of writing therapy and journaling. Writing and journaling have supported all of the healing crises that I have encountered and I believe have saved my life. Ok, that might sound a bit dramatic, but for me, this is true and my healing journey is a testament to the power of writing.

Everyone I know, including myself, has felt that they have needed to heal something at some point in their lives. That something could be mental, emotional, spiritual or physical.

I can confess to seeking healing for all four aspects at some time or another. For example, at one time, I was in a terrible relationship, and I hadn’t noticed anxiety creeping up on me until I found myself not being able to breathe one day. The breathing problem took me to the doctor, and I walked out after a lengthy consultation with a diagnosis of anxiety – which shocked me. It led me to write a course and book.

Later after leaving that relationship, I found myself in a new country on my own in a rundown house, feeling somewhat neglected and alone. It was here that I started to fall apart because it was safe to do so. This was the start of my emotional healing. All of the feelings of low self-worth and self-love surfaced, and they needed a good kick up the bum. I wrote a book that I never published called the journey to self-love. It was extremely cathartic. I did also create a course called Journey of the heart and write several books (journaling, affirmations and mandalas for the heart chakra)

Later my body did what most bodies do and reacted to suppressed emotions, and I had illness after illness. I dealt with an overactive thyroid, shingles that later became postherpetic neuralgia, a fractured rib, osteoporosis, two fractured discs, and then MGUS. At the time of the fractures I wrote a book called Healing the bones of me – this I will publish later in the year. Writing this taught me a lot about the body and natural healing.

When I came to Spain, I wanted and needed to reconnect to myself spiritually. For me, this meant working with my energy systems and tuning in to my inner guidance. All of which had been neglected. This has also been an incredibly powerful journey and led to writing many books about the chakras.

Whatever needs healing, it is important to understand the role of healing oneself, rather than relying solely on others or looking for a medical fix. I will confess to being a fan of natural healing but understand and support whatever combinations and routes others take. It is, after all, about personal choice.

No matter what pathway your healing takes, I believe that writing therapy, such as writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal, either in a structured (via prompts) or freestyle, will support your journey. This includes supporting your writing with reflective practice, creative writing, and potentially writing a healing memoir. And no, you do not have to publish…

What is writing therapy?

In a nutshell, it is writing therapeutically in a journal. This can be supported by a writing therapist, other kinds of therapists, counsellors and psychologists. It’s low cost – just the price of a nice journal and pen. Though I will admit that I also colour mandalas, so I have beautiful crayons and paints. In addition, I use doodling (doodle art), where I freely scribble, create dots at each intersection, create patterns and colour them in. Not really art, but a powerful way to open up to what you need to write. Therefore I have art books and paint pens to support my writing therapy.

All of these things combined support my creative expression and personal growth, and they will yours too.

When writing in a journal, I would offer clients the option to freewrite or follow journal prompts. Journal prompts force the writer to explore the issue at hand rather than write about what they had for tea. I’d encourage colouring mandalas or following the freeing expression with doodle art. Writing therapy goes deeper in that it explores the deeper meaning through reflection.

How Will Writing Therapy Help Your Healing

Writing is incredibly powerful. The act of writing allows your unconscious thoughts to flow. Then upon reflection:

  • You begin to see patterns and understand more about yourself
  • Make sense of what is going on
  • Find ways through your problems and onto solutions
  • Create ideas and discover inspiration
  • Change how you feel about the experience
  • You will gain clarity and confidence
  • Help you to overcome stress and anxiety
  • You will be better able to manage your emotions, which will impact your physical health
  • Release unhelpful thoughts and learn to let go
  • Gain a sense of perspective and control
  • Support your mental health and wellbeing

You will start to get incredible insights, and if you choose, you can make some significant changes based on what you learn. When you write, you are writing for yourself and only you, which will set you free. Every word that hits the page is a little part of you.

Think about this, if you write about your fears, they are almost certainly halved as you share the energy of that vibration with the page and therefore start to dissipate that feeling. When you write about overcoming difficult obstacles, you share hope with your heart. When you write about success and celebration, you have a friend to share that with.

Writing therapy and reflection

Reflection is your response to experiences, situations, events, new information, and a phase where processing and learning occurs. When you reflect, your unconscious mind searches for evidence and analyses it. After which, it tries to make meaning and draw conclusions based on the evidence presented. Once you have evaluated what you are reflecting on, you can decide what’s next. Reflection is a powerful learning experience, which is not about sitting in the lotus position omming, though, of course, you could. Try these…

Writing therapy and language

In writing therapy, when you reflect, you would look at your language. For example, I am highly visual and would probably use lots of words like imagine and see. In this instance, I would ask myself how I felt about something to bring in the kinesthetic aspect. Or I would explore through auditory responses or my senses. In this way, I can push the boundaries and explore the experience further.

Try this prompt – what do you want to create in your life this week?

Grab your journal and scribble. Leave it and reflect later, asking:

  • Who will I be when I create what I want?
  • How will I feel when I have created what I want?
  • What will I hear, taste and smell?

Writing therapy and emotions

Exploring your emotions via writing therapy is always interesting. Try this prompt – Bring to mind someone you had a conflict with – how do you typically deal with conflict?

Grab your journal and scribble. Leave it and reflect later, asking:

  • What triggered me?
  • How did I feel when triggered?
  • What was the primary emotion? (you can add in descriptive words and the level of intensity)
  • How can I let this emotion flow to learn from it?
  • Where did I feel this in my body? (scan your body)
  • What is the worse thing that can happen now?
  • What is the best thing that can happen now?

These are just two examples of ways that writing therapy can help you. There’s lots more where these came from…

Over to you – what did you learn?

Are you ready to adventure with yourself? Join me in The Journaling Club, where you will get to explore different aspects of yourself each month. You’ll get to know yourself better and know what you want.

Bio

Dale Darley, AKA The Word Alchemist. Dale is a prolific writer and journaler. She teaches others how to write to heal and then how to heal others through your writing. She has used writing to heal for understanding and healing the effects of childhood trauma, narcissistic relationships and illness. Writing has supported Dale in her journey to love herself and refind her wild.


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