Imagine I told you that I know of a therapist that costs about a dollar an hour, has a lot of availability and is surprisingly effective. You wouldn't believe me, but I'd insist it's true. Take out a notebook, find yourself a pen, and begin writing. Therapy has officially begun.
Therapeutic writing is research-based, effective and very simple. Once you learn to do it properly, you can achieve tremendous growth by understanding yourself, containing yourself, and figuring out the changes you need.
HOW TO WRITE
The first and foremost rule is to write without thinking. Don't analyze your writing; don't think if you're doing it correctly or not, and if it makes sense. Just write quickly and let whatever comes out, come out.
The second rule is to time it. Never write more than 5-15 minutes at a time. Some people do journal writing and just write and write and get lost in their emotions. It's not effective. When we write for a structured amount of time, our subconscious knows that it has a short time to accomplish what it needs and so it does that.
Lastly, we grow through reflection. When you're writing, you're not analyzing. But when your timer rings, stop writing and then read over your writing. You're then going to reflect on your writing. What do you notice? What surprises you? What can you learn from it? Then write down your reflection. The reflection is the most effective way of guiding us to move from our current place and to grow.
DO IT RIGHT NOW!
Take your phone and set the timer for five minutes. Write the answer to these questions very quickly, and without thinking about them or analyzing what you should be writing.
Who am I?
What do I want?
Why am I here?
When the timer rings, finish the sentence that you are in the middle of and then stop writing. Read over whatever you wrote and ask yourself what you can learn from reading your writing. Write your reflection
Now you know the power of your dollar therapist.
Yocheved Rottenberg is a Certified Journal Facilitator, is the author of the bestselling book 'Write Your Way Home' and leads international therapeutic writing workshops.