Between Therapy Sessions Interactive Journal
I’ve had clients confess to me that when they’re back in their depressive or anxious spiral, they can’t for the life of them remember their therapy insights. They have some vague recollection that we came up with a plan for the distressing moment, but it’s just too hard to jog their memory when their brain is firing wildly in despair.
When I was in my office, I’d write down insights or a plan of action on a postcard so the client had something they could take home as a memento of the session to refer to when they were in distress.
Now that I’m working on line, I’ve been missing my postcard drawer.
However, I’m excited to share that recently I’ve been encouraging clients to write down ideas in an on-line journal which we both work on between sessions. The journal has become a kind of visual relic of the excavations of the therapy, full of inspiring poetry, personal insights, and images. The client can interact with this animated on-line journal at any point between sessions to help them as they change.
For instance, the journal can remind them of a new way of relating with their partner rather than falling down the same old rabbit hole. It can help them catch a negative false belief that is leading to a depressed mood, and then show them the path to a more helpful idea. It can offer a plan of action for dealing with distress, step by step walking them through what to do next. It can remind them of their values and priorities and help them get realigned with those, rather than follow the momentum of a depressive thought. It contains easy access to inspiring images, poems, and audio files of a meditation that I have recorded for them.
Many of the greats, Jung himself, kept visually stimulating records of their inner adventures (refer to his Red Book)- so why not you. And, we know that writing in a journal has therapeutic benefits even without a deliberate structure, since it helps people process their feelings and day to day experiences (see Pennebaker’s work).
This journal is distinct from a personal diary, since it is specifically intended as a compendium to the therapy process. It organizes some therapeutic principles to guide you along towards a new way of being in the world.
To make it as easy and effective as possible, I’ve created a template to capture all of the main facets of the therapeutic work. The client can either work through some of the sections themselves, or wait for those sections to open up in the course of treatment. The process is organic, and unfolds differently for each client depending on their presentation. In effect, the journal tends to write itself. As a coping tool reveals itself in therapy, it then finds its place within the journal. I will let you know where it belongs, and it will all make sense and pop out at you right when you need it. Before you know it, you have a go to place on-line to help you feel better and find answers tailored to your specific life story.
If you would like to embark on this journey with me, and create a dynamic journal of your own, contact me for an introductory session. Or, start a therapy journal for yourself to capture the golden nuggets that you find in therapy. If you’d like my template, write me, and I’ll be happy to send it to you.