MNCS Accred, Hyp.dip, dip.psysextherapy, Adv.dip.CP
Market Deeping / Deeping St James, Peterborough UK
Tel: 07902 583 487 Email: [email protected]
Make sure every journal entry is dated otherwise it remains abstract. To start writing, close the eyes and reflect on the most important thing that springs to mind from today. It can be an event or a feeling and allow it to surface in the mind
- possibly even to become the first sentence, sitting quietly for a few moments before beginning to write can be helpful to tap in to where and how you are right now.
So it could begin with, ‘At the moment I feel… (insert a description of any kind). This will bring you in touch with the current moment in time, in your life. Then add on to this something from the following ideas.
Aim to consider:
Types of written of Expression
These 4 techniques correspond to the four basic models of human perception,
emotion, sensation, intuition, and intellect.
1. Catharsis – I feel so angry eg. a letter
2. Description –
Description is perhaps the most common and familiar form of expression in both diaries and journaling, satisfies the universal creative urge to reproduce reality as it is, better than it is, or worse than it is. Description also satisfies the defiant human
desire to preserve certain "unforgettable" perceptions against the annihilation of time. Description does not transcribe reality, it recreates one person's view of experience. Journaling has less to do with objective observation than with individual
3 intuitive- Free association stream of consciousness automatic writing.
Active imagination are all forms of free-intuitive writing. No matter what we care to call it, the technique is simple for the to understand.
Reflection as a mode of expression in journaling, is an observation of the process of one's life and writing. It seems to occur when you stand back, even if only momentarily, and see connections or significance that you had not noticed before. Reflection can also be called musing, self-observation, or contemplation.
Here are a few ways and angles of writing that you can use. Choose one that jumps out at you and go with it. Listing, Portrait, Map of Consciousness, Guided Imagery, Altered Point of View, Unsent Letter, Dialogue. Descriptions to follow....
List any random thoughts, feelings or specialise your list. A List can perform any of the functions of the four natural modes of expression. It can, should the student so wish, enumerate feelings, sense impressions, intuitions, or thoughts without using complete sentences. Lists should be seen as both timesavers and time-condensers.
For Example -
Here is a characterised illustration of journalling which includes list making-
"Feeling overwhelmed. Too much pressure. Too much to do. How can I ever get it all done? I am not just snowed-under, an avalanche has descended upon me."
'Things I am afraid of'
1. The party will not go according to plan,
2. Cheques should have been forwarded earlier,
3. Offers to solicitors will not be accepted,
4. I don't seem to have time to give myself space
5. There always seems to be too much work
6. Mother's re-admission to hospital means that -?
PORTRAITING- Description another person. Traits, relationship with etc
The Portrait is generally a form of description, and like all descriptions it is a particularly enjoyable device to reread. Portraits in journalling evolve as a relationship with another person evolves. They are often as much a device for self-discovery as for discovery of another, because they reveal as much about the writer as about the person described. From writing a portrait you learn what qualities you notice and what you value in others. This mobile, evolving quality of the portrait makes it a useful tool in recognising the psychological process of projection. When you "project" you see your own unrecognised qualities in another person. Rather than seeing the person on his or her own terms, you see a mirror reflection of yourself. Portraits change the world into a replica of your own face.
Through writing portraits in the course of journalling you begin to see if the face you are describing is also your own.
When you write portraits about the people that intrigue you, you enter their qualities in our journal, in your space, and begin the process of recognising and taking possession of those qualities. Portraits can also work in an opposite way, to help you recognise another's separateness from you, they help you to see them on their own terms.
You begin to see their patterns and complexes as an outside observer would, and to understand why they act as they do. Writing objective portraits of parents, mates, or children is particularly valuable because it helps you understand them as autonomous
individuals rather than in their role in relation to you.
Portraits, however, do not have to take the form of description, they can be done as lists of qualities or as free-intuitive writing. They can also be developed as comparisons whereby you discover how different people represent and satisfy different sides of yourself, and why you may be drawn alternatively to one person and then to another. The student may find
that the portraits written in journalling, when one is working out feelings have many creative
uses at a later time - as character sketches for stories, articles, drawings or other works.
Map of Consciousness
Drawing mind map. Pics or blobs representing things
Maps of consciousness are best described as graphic images of what is on a person's mind.
Some people use free drawing as they would free-intuitive writing to tap their inner
consciousness. The process is like meditation. You relax and without intent allow the pen to
move where it will on the page - you allow your hand to lead the drawing and see what it
takes as it goes.
The student will find that it takes no artistic talent to make maps of consciousness. They can
be stick figures or shapeless blobs. Their purpose is your own enjoyment and self-awareness,
not accuracy or beauty. Sometimes, when the student is particularly confused they might
find themselves drawing a map of all their conflicting parts. At others, friends and family will
appear, the student's work, ambitions, the house he or she lives in or would like to live in. All
should be put on a page to represent graphically your relative psychic distance to each
element and their relationships to each other in your mind.
Surrealist, expressionist, and visionary art works could; all be seen as maps of consciousness.
But in journalling, the individual generally takes the process of exploration a step further by
interpreting the drawing at some point after its completion. The significance of the process
lies in the student's reflection upon the spontaneous images from the psyche. Whether the
drawing looks like a tree or a dustmop is unimportant. Nor does it matter what anyone else
might see in the drawing. What does matter is its meaning for the person who draws it.
Describing images that spring to mind
Guided imagery, like catharsis, free-intuitive writing and maps of consciousness, taps the
right side of the brain - the feeling, intuitive, imaging side. Employing guided imagery is very
much like day dreaming and simply recording in your diary what images appear on the
screen of your mind. Some students will see distinct images, as if they were watching a film
on the insides of their eyelids. But there will also be those who have much less distinct visual
impressions and seem to hear an inner story-teller describing the fantasy.
In its simplest form guided imagery may be a meditation upon an ideal setting - any physical
space that represents tranquillity and beauty to the student. You might visualise and then
describe yourself lying on the sand by the sea, feeling the sun beating down on you, hearing
the rhythmic sound of the waves. Once you have created and made yourself comfortable in
your private spot, you can then populate it with people or animals of your choice. You might
contact a fantasy figure of wisdom, a fairy tale character who will offer you advice, teach you
how to accomplish a particular task, or help you to heal an illness.
Guided imagery used in this positive way is one of the highest forms of self-nourishment. It
is actually a written form of meditation, with all the benefits generally associated with
elevation of mental outlook
Experimenters have documented the success of guided imagery for inducing mental and
physical relaxation, and the effectiveness of imaging a nurturing fantasy figure for helping
with creative problem solving. Biofeedback machines have shown that guided imagery can
reduce muscle tension and even correct blood pressure, body temperature, and other
supposedly "involuntary" physical functions.
The student who visualises and then records guided imagery, has the added advantage of
being able to return to the self-nurturing fantasy again and again for solace and meditative
peace, by rereading it in his or her journal.
Altered Point of View
Describing a person or situation from another persons viewpoint
or their viewpoint of you or a situation
Altered point of view is a technique by which you can write in your journal and give yourself
a different perspective of you and/or certain aspects of your experience. Altering point of
view means that you write about yourself objectively as "he" or "she" or you try to
understand someone else's motivations by writing about them as "I." Altered point of view is
central to all fiction writing, and you can practice it in the journal to distance yourself
emotionally from a situation to see it more objectively or to look at it from the "other
person's" point of view.
Writing in such a manner in the course of journalling is like tracking back with a camera to
give you a wide-angle view of an entire situation. Once "outside yourself" you are better
able to see everyone in context pursuing his or her own needs, and thus you can observe
yourself more objectively. This third-person point of view allows the student to perceive
things that otherwise would be missing from the close-up perspective of "I."
Write a letter to a person that is not sent
Unsent letters are often written by people who are engaged in journalling. With such letters
there is never any intention of sending them or showing them to another person. Writing in
this manner serves to evoke your own "inner therapist" in times of emotional need.
The student might write an unsent letter to express thoughts and deal with some personal
feelings regarding a certain person -
when actually doing so would be rude or inappropriate
when actual articulation could cause irreparable harm to a relationship
when one is not sure if he really feels the way he thinks he feels at the moment
when the audience is unavailable for deep communication
The unsent letter does not have to begin with a salutation such as "Dear Sir," - frequently
you unconsciously write to a "you." who is the person to whom you are thinking. Similarly,
you sometimes find yourself "thinking to" a particular person in your head - as you are
driving the car, taking a shower or try to concentrate on something else. On a barely
conscious level your mind is chattering away about all sorts of things that you would like to
say to that person, especially if some aspect of the relationship is unresolved. Using the
unsent letter technique can help make conscious such "thinking to" or "writing to" another
Write a conversation between you and another or between parts of yourself.
Dialogues- of the imaginary variety - were first used by the Gestalt therapists of the 1960's
to help people become aware of the various aspects of their personalities. The dialogue used
in journalling is a conversation carried on with yourself to help you to gain insight into a
person, event, or subject you wish to understand better. The dialogue helps you deal with a
situation you feel confused about and which you cannot seem to penetrate using any of the
four basic devices we discussed earlier.
You can dialogue with aspects of your personality, people you know, or people you have
never met, historical personages, dream figures, inanimate objects, parts of your body, your
religious or cultural heritage, events or institutions. The student might even use the device
with nameless voices that seem to be arguing in the head and sending insistent messages. In
the dialogue you address the subject, whatever it may be, and simply allow it to speak to
you in response.
In journalling, it is frequently helpful to write out imaginary conversations with people in your life with
whom you have had difficulty in communicating. Sometimes these dialogues are a rehearsal for an
actual conversation, sometimes not. Writing a constructive, positive dialogue can help prepare you for
talking things out in the same constructive manner. The student may also notice that several days
after writing a dialogue the relationship changes without the actual conversation's having taken
place. There is a subliminal level within relationships that can be improved by writing dialogues and
coming to know how much of the conflict or harmony is determined in your own mind.
The inner dialogue encourages the development of a self large enough to contain all its contradictions.
Through the dialogue you tap your own inner resources to find original solutions that recognise all
parts of the self and often promote inner synthesis, compromise, or reconciliation.
Using one of the special techniques that we have described to the student in this course section to the
exclusion of the more natural expression could become an interruption to the continuity of your inner
life. They can be used creatively to unblock a problem that seems to defy other approaches and to
achieve greater self-understanding. But if the student tries to manipulate his psyche with some of
these techniques, if he overuses them, he may well find that they lose their effectiveness.
All the journalling devices are meant to give you access to your inner consciousness. But the key is to
listen receptively to what a device can release. Sternly demanding in an unsent letter that your aching
back stop bothering you will probably not yield results. But if you dialogue with your back, allowing
the unexpected to happen, it might just tell you why it aches. It is helpful to remember that if you
cannot open up a personal mystery with one device, you may be able to gain access to it with another.
You should realise, however, that you might have to wait patiently until you are ready to hear what
your back has to teach you.
Using journalling effectively depends only upon the degree to which you trust your intuition and your
process. The very act of sitting down with your journal signifies a new beginning, a readiness to
commune with the self - and the very act of writing may place the student inside the mystery of selfhealing
and self-recreation, no matter what is written or how it is expressed.