Journaling is one of the most creative ways to heal a fragmented self. Regardless of the identified condition: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Co-dependency, Grief, Depression, Substance Abuse or some other type of addictive habit or behavior; keeping a journal and making regular entries can often be the first step toward reconciliation of these disparate selves.

One could say that any type of creative expression—painting, writing, sculpting, dancing, acting, composing and performing music--is a form of therapy because it transports us to another world; in the process releasing unwanted stress. Creative activities such as journaling also give us a chance to visit intimately with ourselves.

Details of daily living are basic to our health and well-being; we all know what it’s like when we get too far behind in paying the bills or doing the laundry. By the same token, it’s easy to get so caught up in the list of ToDo’s that we forget to take time for ourselves.

From the mundane to the sublime

The process of journaling can be magical. As a writer, I always feel the energy shift as soon as I sit down at my computer or curl up with a pad and pen in my favorite easy chair. Now I know it’s “The Big I” that’s on center stage and I get a chance to star in my own show. That’s what journaling is all about.

Establish a special time and place for journaling. At first that time may be only five or ten minutes and then as you gather enthusiasm and momentum, lengthen it another five minutes, then another five... and so on.

Let your journaling experience be a “breath of fresh air” that you can look forward to. Give this time your best energy. Be rested and alert. Also, make sure you choose a place where you can write without being interrupted.

When you’re journaling, ignore details of grammar, usage and punctuation and “let it flow.” Focus on being excited about the process of staying intimate and creative with yourself.

Journaling helps us dream again

Having the courage to “look in the mirror” and then go to the source of the pain or discomfort can be the first step toward self-discovery. In subsequent journal entries as we tell our story to ourselves, we may find the answers to issues that have been troubling us for many years.

In the privacy of our journal, we can start to be honest with ourselves and shed some of the denial that may have been holding us captive to unwanted beliefs, feelings and habits.

Energy medicine or total body healing is about freeing blockages. The more releasing we do, the freer we become. The freer we become, the easier it is to align with our wishes and dreams. Journaling can build enthusiasm about this new life we are manifesting.

Some of the most valuable book manuscripts that are submitted to Dandelion Books, my publishing company, are from individuals healing from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who have decided to write down their story. Often these are fictionalized autobiographical accounts of war experiences, or stories about getting involved with street gangs and drug dealing.

In both scenarios, alcohol, drugs, sex and other addictive habits mask the pain of shame, self-blame, low self-esteem and feelings of helplessness. Things are so bad, there’s no turning back.

Then “the shift happens.” Although no one can explain the dynamics of self-transformation, none of us can deny the experience when it occurs. That’s when journaling can take on a whole new dimension. What happened? Why? How did WE participate in this experience?

We do know that if we create our reality, it’s possible that we invited the challenges in order to grow from them—and tell our story. For this we can only offer our gratitude.

Encourage your clients to journal; try journaling yourself. You don’t have to be challenged by a serious mental or physical condition to experience the positive benefits. We are all works in progress; doing the inner work is an ongoing growth process, and one of the best tools for doing that work is self-expression.

Author's Bio: 

Carol Adler, MFA’s first ghost-written book listing her name as co-editor, Why Am I Still Addicted? A Holistic Approach to Recovery, was endorsed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and published by McGraw-Hill. Other publications include three novels, four books of poetry, and well over 200 poems in literary journals. She has ghostwritten over 40 non-fiction and fiction works for a number of professionals in the education, health care and human potential industries.

Carol is President of Dandelion Books, LLC of Tempe, Arizona; a full service publishing company. She is also President and CEO of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc., Write to Publish for Profit and President of the International Arts & Media Foundation, a non-profit subsidiary of Dandelion Enterprises, Inc.

Her business experience includes co-ownership of a Palm Beach, FL public relations company and executive management positions in two U.S. rejuvenation and mind/body wellness corporations, for which she founded publishing divisions.

Carol has served as editor of several poetry and literary magazines. Her career experience includes extensive teaching of college-level creative and business writing, and conducting of writing workshops in prisons, libraries, elementary, junior and high schools, and senior citizen centers.

She is also a Certified Hypnotherapist and Source Integration Therapist, and an officer of the Arizona Society for Professional Hypnosis.