Guest Blog: Using Writing As A Means Of Therapy by Virginia Cunningham

Using Writing As A Means Of Therapy

For many people, expressing feelings verbally can be difficult; opening up to someone on a particular topic can cause feelings of vulnerability. In this instance, writing serves as a way to be able to express certain feelings through a creative outlet. Writing unlocks your subconscious to bring to light your most pressing thoughts, from current issues at hand or those from the past that you have been avoiding.

The therapeutic effects of writing have been so effective that it is frequently encouraged in the hospital setting for those who are physically or mentally ill. Counselors who have patients who have experienced traumatic events often encourage those patients to use writing as a form of therapy. Suppressing your thoughts is stressful to the body as well as the mind. When you sit down and write, you are taking time to take care of yourself. Instead of holding in your feelings, write those feelings down because it is cathartic– like crying, writing is a form of release.

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writing in the journal

Looking at a piece of paper and thinking about all of the possibilities of what you can write is liberating, especially for someone who has dealt with loss or hardships. It gives the individual a sense of independence and power over his/her situation. When life seems out of control, you are in control with a pen in hand.

Writing forces you to focus inward to provide that release – with so many external distractions, people forget to take the time to take care of their own emotional needs. At the same time, it is an external process as well. You are creating a work of art when you write and the artistry of it becomes your focus; you get caught up in the story telling. You can think in the abstract and creatively approach a situation.

You do not have to concern yourself with the technicalities of writing (if you don’t want to)– you are sharing yourself in any way you want to when you write; just write how you feel in whichever way it comes out.

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Writing with Ink

Write for yourself and it can remain for your eyes only. You can also opt to write in a group or share your work with a therapist. In doing so, you are giving him/her insight into how to work with and aid you through your situation. If there is something that you want to tell someone living or deceased and are unable to do so, write it down as if he/she could see it. Let go.

Writing is a positive way to handle and cope with a situation. Although confronting your darkest memories may be upsetting at first, you may feel happier and healthier if you are able to write about deeply traumatic memories, such as loss. Writing often improves an individual’s mood, leaving you feeling uplifted and adding value to your life. By looking at your story in the form of words on paper, you can take a different perspective on your situation.

Writing is personal; it’s easy. You can do it anytime and anywhere. The act of writing itself will not only improve your mood and health, but it will also help you clarify your thoughts, improve your memory and help you prepare for both the best and worst. Some studies even suggest that writing helps individuals learn more effectively than typing.

Mental and emotional pain is strong, and even traumatic at times, often leading to depression and anxiety. If you have troubles floating around in your head, let them out by writing. You may be pleasantly surprised how different you may feel afterwards.

*Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health and wellness writer in the Los Angeles area. She specializes in alternative medicine and supplements as well as sustainability, skin care, and special needs advocacy. In addition to meditating, she writes down her negative thoughts in order to maintain a relaxed and positive outlook.

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22 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Using Writing As A Means Of Therapy by Virginia Cunningham

  1. Blogging on here (anonymously) about my problems has actually helped me evolve (in a kind of 3 steps forward, 2 back kind of way) and realise stuff about my behavioural issues in a way that even therapy didn’t. I recommend it to anyone wanting to get stuff out.

  2. Writing may be easy, but saying precisely what you want is difficult. I’ve found that it can be a very exhausting experience, but ultimately rewarding when I’m successful.

  3. I found writing a lot easier then to express feelings verbally. Blogging, and Facebook, or i should just say social networking, has definitely helped me out of my depression I was once in. I don’t know what I would do with out it these days 🙂

  4. Writing is definitely a great form of release. I find that I often have so many thoughts bouncing around in my head. When I put pen to paper (figuratively, of course) I just find it so powerful to put down what I’m thinking in a way that actually makes sense of my ideas.

  5. Couldn’t agree more! Writing has helped me make sense of my thoughts, it’s been therapeutic and a god send at times if I’m honest.
    Jane x

  6. I can’t count the number of times I’ve used writing to derail a runaway train of thought. Getting those thoughts and emotions on paper — giving them names, a physical form — demystifies them, takes away their incohate power. Thank you!

  7. Reblogged this on Keigh Ahr and commented:
    Maggie Mae, a poet I respect tremendously, recently offered her blog to publish this guest post from Virginia Cunningham. Since I’ve personally experienced many of the therapeutic effects described in this post, I wanted to share it with my readers.

  8. So powerful, Maggie…that’s so true – writing is therapeutic. I have a new writing you probably haven’t seen: The Bookroom Romance on retireandread.wordpress.com ALSO, redflaggs.wordpress.com

  9. As a writer and a counselor, I affirm the content of this post! Much healing in writing, getting out what has been bound up inside, letting freedom flow. Great post.

  10. A very helpful post. Thanks for sharing it, Maggie.

    On another note, I’ve nominated your blog for an award. Please see my latest post for more details, if you wish to accept. Ta. 🙂

  11. For some people (me for instance) writing is like talking, it comes out automatically. For other people it seems very fraught – maybe they’re the ones who should stick to the therapist?

  12. Thank you for this, sometimes I’m not sure if it’s really helping me to write because it often makes me feel things more keenly, despite all the medication. So its helpful for me to be reminded that it’s actually proven to help people recover from mental illness.

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