Can writing be therapeutic?

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

Writing is the process of transforming ideas and thoughts into words.

And writing can be very beneficial for all of us simply because it can be therapeutic.

Elizabeth Sullivan, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco, said "One of

the most powerful parts of therapy is cultivating the ability to observe our thoughts and

feelings." and writing requires the observation of our thoughts and feelings first and

translating them into words on paper or devices as phones or laptops. The process here is:

first, recognizing what is inside, identifying it, which makes the person more conscious, more attentive and more focusing on himself, this leads to an interesting self- awareness and consciousness that constitute a very primary role; second, we move to giving the thoughts a physical form, to shaping them into words easier to understand and analyze, in this phase we are simply setting these thoughts free, giving them wings to fly and no more be hidden and prisoners of our own mind, and when they are free we are free as well.

Writing can be the window giving us the chance to know what is happening or/and hiding

inside of us which might be something good or bad, and to be able to deal properly with it

eventually. However, Journaling and Poetry are considered as the oldest and the widely used self-help therapy forms. Kathleen Adams states in her article "A brief history of journal writing" that : "

...by recording and describing the salient issues in one’s life, one can better understand

these issues and eventually diagnose problems that stem from them. Journal therapy has

been used effectively for grief and loss; coping with life-threatening or chronic illness;

recovery from addictions, eating disorders and trauma; repairing troubled marriages and

family relationships; increasing communication skills; developing healthier self-esteem;

getting a better perspective on life; and clarifying life goals.".

And according to Bruce Weigl, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry finalist and a veteran of the

Vietnam War in a discussion about the therapeutic benefits of writing, especially for people

with traumatic experiences, " What it helps you do is externalize things, give a shape to it.

And that's what Denise Levertov kept telling me is that, Look, you control it now. It doesn't

control you anymore. You own it now.". More than this, writing is considered since the late 1980's, a form of therapy that is one of the most used and adapted forms to work with a large range of psychoneurotic issues, like bereavement, desertion and abuse. This writing therapy is an expressive therapy using the act of writing to process what these written words as therapy. It can take place individually or in a group, or it also can be administered in person with a therapist or remotely through mailing or the Internet. As a conclusion, and based on my own humble personal experience as a writer, writing is a very efficient and powerful form of self-help that can be used regularly to control, organise

and deal with whatever we are holding inside of us.

// Much love and thank you for passing by.

Don't hesitate to leave your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

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