Major key alert! *in my DJ Khaled voice* Keeping a journal during your mental health journey can be a game changer! Therapy is a journey, so it is important to document your progress and make note of the tools you learn along the way. You are basically making your personal play book to mental health success.
Now daily journaling doesn’t have to be your thing to make a journal a useful tool in your mental health journey. Using a journal to document your goals initially as you start the therapy progress, and marking turning points periodically can still have benefits. I have seen clients of all kinds, those who loved writing and kept journals long before attending therapy, and those who bought a journal after a few therapy sessions because they wanted to write down the gems that they were forgetting between sessions. Both found it very useful.
It has been proven over and over that journaling creates intentional, introspection, which is a key part of the therapeutic process. Being able to not just articulate emotions, but being able to read back over how your emotions have evolved over time is an invaluable asset to your mental health journey. Bringing a journal into therapy can also allow for more intentionality when documenting homework assigned or questions posed by your therapist.
Keeping track of some of your basic needs in a journal, such as whether you got a decent nights rest or regular exercise, can also be important data for your therapist to collect and utilize to better identify your mental health needs. Remember that your physical and mental health are significantly intermingled.
Added bonus, journaling often facilitates the work that must be done in between sessions. The majority of therapeutic work is done outside the therapy room. Words, ideas, and insight is exchanged in a session, but ACTION takes place outside a session. Use a journal to write a new narrative of action, change, and progress. How has journaling played a role in your mental health journey?