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Therapeutic Writing

Updated on September 30, 2009

The simple act of writing can act as a form of therapy which can actually promote better health, both mental and physical. If you have never experienced the therapeutic aspects of writing you may end up surprising yourself by discovering a new and previously hidden ability as well. You might find out that deep inside of you is a really darn good writer!

Psychotherapists have understood the healing properties of writing for many years and they use various techniques based on writing to allow their patients to come to terms with their feelings. If an individual was abused as a young child they can let out their feelings to their abuser in letter form. They don't have to hold back, they can write whatever they want to, expressing the words they were unable to so many years ago. The letter doesn't need to be sent, it can be destroyed. The very act of writing it has a powerful affect. Emotions that have long since been repressed come back to the surface, enabling them to feel the feelings that have been locked away.

Anyone of us can benefit from the written word. It is in fact a form of therapy for us all, increasing our feelings of well being. So what are the benefits?

Getting in touch with our emotions: By writing about the trauma experienced in our lives, even though it may be something as far back as childhood, creates a dynamic effect where the trauma loses its power over us by bringing back the feelings to the surface. That effect is purely and thoroughly therapeutic.

Cleansing: Events in our lives that have threatened to get the better of us, look differently in black and white. The very act of writing them down can help us to put things into proportion.

Creativity: It is often said that the best works are written when the author is moved by some emotion: whether it be falling in love, being rejected by a lover, or experiencing grief or great joy, etc.

Feeling happier: Researchers have discovered that writing makes people happier and healthier. Not only that, people who write find it eases their depression by helping to lift their mood.

So.... what can I write about and how?

Journaling: This is a good way to start. Writing snippets about events that have happened during the day and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings is a very valid form of writing even though it may always end up to be private. Ensure that the journal is for your eyes only, so that you feel free to express yourself openly.

Write your memoirs: Write about a particular incident from childhood such as your first day at school, first dance, first girlfriend etc. You could write about your wedding day or a special celebration. If you are feeling really brave you could then write about an incident that upset you.

Write a letter: Compose a letter to someone you have trouble forgiving, tell them what you really think of them and how you are feeling. Then shred it and throw it away.

Continued In: Therapeutic Writing - Part II

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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      There have been many times when I've been feeling a bit blue and I just start tapping away at the keyboard and feel better within minutes. It really works!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 

      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I agree I have found writing to be very therapeutic

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