The Therapeutic Journal -or- Writing As Therapy
I have been busy with my poetry project as usual, but I did take time out to read a few other blogs by some of my favourite bloggers. Writing As Jo(e) has an interesting project called The Naked Photo Project. Jo(e) teaches writing in an American college and takes photographs. Her Naked Photo Project has its own blog site holding the photos which are about as natural and sensitive to the human spirit as can be found in a single collection. Her most recent post adds one more photo to the project, but more important than the photo is her writing which sets the context for the photo. As I read the stories of each of these photos, I can feel how each story has worked on the author as she tells it. I can also see how each participant in the project grows through interaction with the author and through involvement with the Naked Photo Project. I don’t doubt that the process is therapeutic for Jo(e) as well as her subjects. But I am sure she will tell us that in her own words in her book that will grow out of the project.
Another blog site I read contains a lot of humour and often nonsense. I know the blogger personally and that has added immeasurably to how I read his blog site, Spo Reflections. Dr. ‘Spo has just published his 3,000th blog post since the first post in 2006, a site that has had more than a million visits since that time. Dr. ‘Spo is a psychiatrist and there is no doubt in my mind that he finds writing a valuable act of therapy for himself. I know that it is good therapy for anyone simply reading the blog posts.
A third site visited today was another prolific writer, Pastor Ed Raby Sr., who writes at All Things Rabyd. Recently, Pastor Ed wrote a post on writing as therapy. I invite you to read this post of Pastor Ed’s as well as one of his many developed themes at this site. It will be time well spent.
I brought up all three blog sites as a preface to my own writing as therapy. As a therapist, I know that there is great value, therapeutic value in journalling, in the telling of one’s story to oneself as well as to others. Like dreams, the story-telling works without conscious intention to heal, the goal of all therapeutic activities. We take it for granted that patients, clients, students and parishioners come to learn and in the process, heal from their guides, teachers, doctors, pastors and therapists. Yet, also embedded in this work is a reciprocal healing process, a needed healing for each of us is wounded whether we are conscious of that wounding or not.
As a school administrator I counselled students and staff alike. As a counsellor, I also was counselled by a trusted therapist. Analysis/Therapy/Counselling is a necessity for all in the field of mental health. I often, not always, found it useful for my clients to keep therapeutic journals such as in the image above.
I take photographs and I write. These two things have likely done more for my finding and maintaining a decent level of mental health. Both photography and writing bring balance to my life. I don’t write to figure things out, I write and things straighten themselves out below my level of conscious awareness. In my opinion, it is vital to simply let the words emerge, to listen to those words without analyzing them. Analysis of one’s writing, removes the depth that is naturally embedded, flattening out and trimming off what I could best describe as soul and shadow, two vital components to being whole and healthy.