Presentation on theme: "Journaling as a Healing Art Virginia Maripolsky RNC, BSN, MSW Bangkok Hospital Medical Center."— Presentation transcript:
Journaling as a Healing Art Virginia Maripolsky RNC, BSN, MSW Bangkok Hospital Medical Center
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
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.
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”
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
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
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
Journal of the American Medical Association - Joshua Smyth ● Symptoms of people with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis ● Greater reduction in their symptoms four months later
Silencing our stories ● If telling our stories seems to unleash our bodies’ healing potential ● Then silence can adversely affect our health
Disclaimer Don’t use writing as a substitute for therapy or for getting medical care.
Rules of Journal Writing ● 1.Date your entries as you go ● 2.Don’t make any other rules
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
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
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
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
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
The Legal Status of your Journal ● Don’t tell your journal anything you wouldn’t want the District Attorney to hear.
Legal issues ● It isn’t protected ● You can’t claim your 5th amendment rights ● The diary is just another piece of evidence
Legal issues ● Emails have been used as evidence ● Encrypt personal use of computers or use only a phrase you will know
Warming up ● Date & time your work ● Sign your work ● Ignore your inner critic ● Watch out for the censor ● Avoid judgments
Techniques to get started: A tool for healing ● Draw a picture of a totally healthy you. – Describe it in your own words.
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
Warming up techniques ● Write about a childhood recollection. ● Go with the first thought ● Go for the details
Warming up techniques ● Start doodling: continue for 2 - 3 minutes ● Describe it or how you felt doing it
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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