Keeping journals through Level 3 and 4 counselling training, we hope you're finding the process enlightening.
It is a wonderful tool for self-evaluation and self-development.
When you write regularly in your journal, you may find that you begin to notice patterns in your behaviour and emotional responses to certain situations.
You also may find that sometimes you just get STUCK!
What we know for sure about keeping a journal is this:-
- It's a great opportunity to reflect on your experiences, feelings, thoughts and behaviour and it can be a way of expressing yourself, especially revealing (to yourself) difficult or deep emotions.
- It can be a way of thinking. It can be empowering. It can be a release.
- As you progress through training it will help you monitor any changes to your attitudes, values and beliefs.
- It will help you monitor and note down any changes in your approach to interactions with clients (family/friends/colleagues) and you'll start to see your skills in a different light.
- You will begin to recognise your own strengths and identify skills that need developing.
- It will be your go-to place whenever you need to process a situation, an interaction, thought, belief, experience.
- If you are in training, it is a great place to go to write-up a training session.
The process always begins with creating a practice. If we turn to the page and expect that we're going to write something profound, then we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Even if you're not actually enrolled on a counselling programme right now, beginning a journalling practice now will support your self awareness.
So what happens when you're feeling stuck and you just don't know how to get going again?
How do you start?
Here are some tips to get your ink flowing again.
Find a notebook that's blank, or with lines - something you'll really enjoy opening. Go treat yourself to a lovely new pen!
(by the way ....there is no right or wrong way of doing this)
- Write about things you have enjoyed or disliked and why, write about things you have noticed, things that you haven’t understood, things that have thrown you or made you feel good.
- Write about things that surprised you or made you stop and think.
- If you are stuck, try freewriting – just write anything and everything that comes into your head. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or sense. Just see where it takes you.
- Change your perspective by writing about yourself in the third person e.g. ‘she couldn’t understand why she felt so angry..’.
- Write a letter to someone you love, someone you are angry with or someone you miss. Or, write a conversation with yourself, offering support or advice.
- Try using sketches, cut- outs, different coloured pens, diagrams, mind maps – whatever describes your feelings best.
- Make a list of things you feel uneasy about, things you are enjoying, things you would like to do more of, things you want from life.
- Include dreams, noting down the themes and images in the morning and looking back on your notes later.
- Start with three things that have gone well that week and why.
- Ask yourself: - the significant moments for me were ..... what I felt at the time ....... what did I learn .....
Hope this has got your journal writing pulsing again. A wonderful resource to turn to is Julia Cameron's Morning Pages, which you can find within her 12 step creative recovery programme The Artist's Way. You can find out and watch her 2 minute video here.
We'd love to know what prompt above helped to get your writing flowing, why not let us know in the comments below?