Journaling is a powerful way to record and measure a person’s progress. It can also help us understand why certain things have happened in our lives by reviewing past events. Journaling is also a good way to remind us of the progress we have already made.
Here are a few examples of what types of journal you can keep:
- Simple writing – Every night before you go to bed make a few notes about the highlights of your day. This doesn’t need to be a long story; it could just be notes about things like people, feelings, colors, events, etc.
- Gratitude Journal – Every night before you go to bed, write at least three things you are grateful for. Example: I’m so grateful for my family, I am grateful for the ability to go to work today, I’m grateful for my health. Of course, more significant things may happen, but it’s okay to note the smaller things too.
- Dream Journal – Keep your journal near your bed and as soon as you wake up note your dreams, even if they don’t make any sense. You may look back at them later and understand their meaning.
- Worry Journal – Write your fears, worries, frustrations, anxieties, and all unwanted emotions down, describe your feelings. Then write what you would like to happen, or how you want to feel instead.
Automatic Writing: You can also use another form of journaling for finding answers to questions. Take any question that you need to be answered and just start writing about it. Write down the thoughts as quickly as they come to you. Just keep writing and writing. Pay attention to these thoughts, sometimes they come in the form of solutions. If you feel guided and find solutions, take action on them as quickly as possible.
Preparation: Purchase a personal journal.
Begin the Session: Choose one of the journaling methods listed above. Begin to implement this on a daily basis for three days then come back to this exercise and continue.
After three days: Once you have practiced the exercise for at least three days ask yourself these questions:
- What was the most significant part of this exercise?
- Did I learn anything new about myself or my situation?
- What else would I like to get out of this exercise?
- Does this exercise work for me and do I want to continue to journal?
Create an action plan:
According to what you’ve learned about this exercise, what action steps would you be willing to take? Hold yourself accountable and commit to the plan.
When using this exercise with your client: Ask your client what they perceive from their journaling. Understand that your client may not want to share everything in their journal, as this can be a very private experience. If this is the case, instead, focus on how using a journal works for them. Analyze journaling with your client. Ask your client what parts they found significant and what actions they are willing to take? Have them write it down in their journal.
Close the Session: Thank your client. Acknowledge them for being so open and willing to look at these areas of their life with you. Use the 1-10 scale. Schedule a follow-up session to see what was brought to their awareness during this exercise. This can be three to five days after the initial session. The follow-up session is the most important part of using this exercise.