Enhance Your Therapy Experience Through Journaling

Updated: 3 days ago

Learn how having a journal for therapy can enhance your therapeutic experience and provide you with wisdom you can keep forever!

A therapy notebook is a powerful tool that will help you get the most out of your therapy sessions. In this article, learn about the benefits of having a therapy notebook, how to set it up, and prompts for what to write.

The Benefits of Having a Therapy Notebook

  1. Have a place where you can store the most important nuggets from sessions

  2. It helps you stay focused in your sessions if you take time to reflect and write down your intentions beforehand

  3. Your journal helps you track your progress, lessons, and insights over time

  4. It provides a wonderful resource packed full of your own best wisdom that you can look back on forever

  5. Your notebook can lift your spirits in hard times as you look back on all you've learned and how far you've come

  6. It can help you integrate sessions when we do deep inner work

  7. It provides an "external brain" to help you process tough stuff in between sessions

How to Get Started

  • You can buy a new notebook just for therapy. It can be as fancy or as understated as you want!

  • You could also set aside a few dozen pages at the very end of your journal if you already have one and don't want to buy another

  • You can use the "notes" app on your iPhone or an app like Evernote

What to Write

What you write in your therapy notebook is entirely up to you. You can use it as a place to write down your general thoughts and emotions, both positive and negative. You can use it as an "external brain" and a place to process in between sessions. Or, you can simply use it to write down the very most important things you want to remember from sessions. If you want to use it for both reasons, I recommend splitting it up into 2 sections:

The "Emotional Processing" Section

Using a journal for emotional processing has been shown to reduce stress, manage anxiety, boost your mood, enhance wellbeing, and reduce symptoms of depression. This section can be used for:

  • Brain dumps... for when you have a lot of ideas you want to write down

  • Mind maps - for when you want to map out thoughts, feelings, and "parts" of you

  • As an "external brain" to help you organize your thoughts

  • A place to write down your worries and emotions so you can get some mindful space from them

  • A place where you can write, from a place of love, to the parts of you that are struggling

  • A space to process your innermost thoughts and feelings

  • Something to refer back to in our sessions, when you need to remember how you've felt

  • A space to gain clarity on your intentions for your upcoming session, so you arrive to the session knowing exactly where you'd like it to go

The "Key Insights" Section

This section is where you can write down the most important things that you want to remember long-term. It can be a good idea to keep these things separate from the "emotional processing" section so the wisdom doesn't get lost in a sea of other words. Use this space to write down:

  • Key takeaways from sessions

  • Big insights and epiphanies you've had

  • Tools you’ve learned that you want to use going forward

  • Beliefs that have changed

  • Parts you have, what you’ve learned about them, and any changes these parts make

  • Guidance and wisdom you've received

  • Promises you’ve made to yourself or intentions you’ve set within the sessions

Benefitting You Into the Future

If you're ever feeling lost, overwhelmed, need a "pick me up," or just want to be reminded of some wisdom, you can always write down your emotions in the "emotional processing" section and/or read some wisdom from the "key insights" section. It is also a great idea to refer back to your key insights every few months, when you're ready to graduate therapy, and far into the future!

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