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Journaling as a Healing Art Virginia Maripolsky RNC, BSN, MSW Bangkok Hospital Medical Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Journaling as a Healing Art Virginia Maripolsky RNC, BSN, MSW Bangkok Hospital Medical Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Journaling as a Healing Art Virginia Maripolsky RNC, BSN, MSW Bangkok Hospital Medical Center

2 Presentation Objectives: ● Using writing as a tool for healing ● Present four basic writing exercises ● Advise on the legal status of your journal especially as it pertains to a health care professional ● List warming up techniques useful with clients ● Refer to internet resources

3 Journal, noun. 1. A daily record, as of occurrences, experiences, or observations. 2. A newspaper, especially a daily one. 3. A periodical or magazine. 4. A log or logbook.

4 Writing as a Healing Art Poets and Writers Magazine, May 2001 “Literary Life Writing” “The Rape Poems” “How Telling our Stories Transforms our Lives” “Poetry in Prisons” “Recovering Your Silenced Life”

5 Long before there were therapists there were poets. ● “Once crystallized into words, all-engulfing feelings become manageable, and once challenged into explicitness, the burden of the incommunicable becomes less heavy. The very act of creating is a self-sustaining experience, and in the poetic moment the self becomes both the ministering ‘therapist’ and the comforted ‘patient’.” ● Molly Harrower, PhD, The Therapy of Poetry

6 Summary of study outcomes ● Many students wept while writing ● Some indicated these were tragedies they had never disclosed ● Many were troubled and dismayed by their writing ● Four months later…they reported their spirits had improved significantly

7 Physiological effects of writing ● Brain wave activity congruence between the right and left brain ● Increased T-lymphocyte activity ● Increased ability to fight infection ● Lower heart rates ● More relaxed physiological state

8 Journal of the American Medical Association - Joshua Smyth ● Symptoms of people with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis ● Greater reduction in their symptoms four months later

9 Silencing our stories ● If telling our stories seems to unleash our bodies’ healing potential ● Then silence can adversely affect our health

10 Disclaimer Don’t use writing as a substitute for therapy or for getting medical care.

11 Rules of Journal Writing ● 1.Date your entries as you go ● 2.Don’t make any other rules

12 1. Timed Exercises ● Choose a set time to write ● 5 – 7 minutes serves well ● Set a timer or watch the clock ● Stop writing when the time is up, even in the middle of a sentence

13 2. Flow Writing Pick a tangible object from your surroundings and use it as the opening image in your entry Let your mind free associate from one thought to the next

14 3. Dialogue Writing ● Open with a leading question Take a breath, pause; write down the first response that comes Work in a rhythm of question/answer

15 4. Unsent letters ● Although this is an addressed journal entry, you do not need to take the recipient’s feelings into account ● Allow the letter to ramble and develop in your usual style

16 Unsent letter ● Often the ritual of actually writing on stationery and sealing into an addressed envelope provides closure ● Has been used to write to a loved one who has died

17 The Legal Status of your Journal ● Don’t tell your journal anything you wouldn’t want the District Attorney to hear.

18 Legal issues ● It isn’t protected ● You can’t claim your 5th amendment rights ● The diary is just another piece of evidence

19 Legal issues ● s have been used as evidence ● Encrypt personal use of computers or use only a phrase you will know

20 Warming up ● Date & time your work ● Sign your work ● Ignore your inner critic ● Watch out for the censor ● Avoid judgments

21 Techniques to get started: A tool for healing ● Draw a picture of a totally healthy you. – Describe it in your own words.

22 Warming up techniques ● How do you take time to experience the pleasure of each of your 5 senses. ● Write about each. ● Explore your instinct for making things up ● Write a travel diary

23 Warming up techniques ● Write about a childhood recollection. ● Go with the first thought ● Go for the details

24 Warming up techniques ● Start doodling: continue for minutes ● Describe it or how you felt doing it

25 Warming up techniques ● A blessing a day ● Review the day and write one thing that you are willing to accept as a gift ● End with the words…..thank you – Amen – Namaste

26 Warming up techniques ● Journaling as a garbage can: Throw away your frustrations, your fears, your doubts, your insecurities, your anger. Writing about them will lessen their power over you.

27 Warming up techniques ● Journal as a camera Carry a notebook with you Collect careful little ‘word photos’ You will begin to see more than you ever saw before

28 Warming up techniques ● Write a prayer ● Write a song ● Write a country and Western song ● Write in fragmen ts ● Write a poem ● Write a haiku ● Write to yourself as a child ● Make a wish list

29 Keep a Dream Journal ● Write every dream you remember ● Write it when you wake up in the middle of the night ● Write when you are tired to catch your brain off guard

30 Internet Resources ● Often, a webring of journals that post at least 20 entries a month. Often ● The Squirrel Lists, a variety of lists of journals of Gen-Xers, left-handers, Canadians, humor- oriented, philosophy-oriented... a place to find a list of people offering specifically what you're looking for. The Squirrel Lists ● Diaries and Journals on the Internet Diaries and Journals on the Internet ● Willa's List of Journals Willa's List of Journals ● Open Pages, a webring of journals that is open to any journal that meet a few simple qualifications. Open Pages

31 JOURNALING ● Acts as a healer ● Lessens the power that our emotions have over us ● Research has shown that journaling increases our bodies ability to fight infection and ● Promotes a more relaxed physiological state


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