Journaling As Another Type of Therapy


My closest family members and friends (or frankly, anyone who’s seen the contents of my purses) know how much I treasure the gigantic notebook I’m always carrying wherever I go. The thick, leather journal was a gift from my mom when I was in the midst of the most depressing high school mini band camp (I know I sound like I’m being dramatic, but it was truly a horrific time dealing with a shithole band director) in 2014 where we spent 9 hours marching in the sun every day for four days. I think the Duchessa Music Notes Italian Printed Leather Journal was meant to be a motivation to persevere through the difficult days as I wanted to purchase the notebook for all journaling purposes since 2011. Once I got my hands on the book, I couldn’t stop filling it with cards, pictures, or letters, and my journaling practices occurred at least once a week. Almost six years later, my journal is my most prized possession because it holds every note and image I’ve received from family, friends, and old loves (I routinely have nightmares that I lose the book in a fire, via robbery, etc., so I’m always on edge about its whereabouts). As I’ve gotten older and life has become more complicated, I’ve used journaling in my giant book as another form of therapy when I’m not actually in a session. Putting almost every big memory and even smaller daily details onto paper has occasionally allowed me to analyze my traumas and experiences in ways I wouldn’t be able to had I forgotten them. My therapist also encourages my journaling because she often assigns me letters to write to myself and other people as we employ EMDR practices and work toward breakthroughs. Even when it’s difficult to choose the words I want to use, I strongly believe that making myself write everything down can lead to healing, or at least free up a little space in my overcrowded mind. If traditional therapy with a couch and a psychologist isn’t for you, I think journaling as much as possible without hesitation is a fantastic alternative.