The Benefits of Journaling: An Excerpt from Say It Out Loud

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In my last post I shared how I chose the title, Say It Out Loud. Today I’ll go deeper into the book discussing the concept of using strategies for healing.

The word strategy commonly refers to military operations. How can a strategy aid in a healing journey? Healing is what we want to achieve. The pain, anger, nightmares, anxiety, and depression are like the enemy – blocking us from achieving that ultimate goal. Whether you are healing from abuse, loss of a loved one, or any emotional trauma, you will have to face your “enemies.”  It’s much easier to do so if you have strategies to draw from.

Woven into the book are many of the strategies I relied on. In Part II: Tools for the Journey, I devote three chapters specifically to the strategies: Creating a Respite, Journaling and Visualization. The one I’ll discuss today is journaling. Lots of people keep a journal, for lots of different reasons. It’s been a common practice for centuries. Not too earth shattering, but when your earth is being shattered journaling can be the glue that holds it together. There are specific ways to use a journal for healing. I explain and give examples of each in the book. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Journaling.

Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse
Chapter 5 Pg. 66
The Benefits of Journaling:
A journal provides:
·     a private place to express feelings and thoughts you aren’t ready to say out loud
·         a place to document new insights you will access later
·         a safe place to release anger, pain, and sadness
·         a place to write words of consolation, support, and hope
·        an ongoing chronicle of your journey to healing and a validation of how   far you’ve come
More than 75 personal journal entries are included in the book with an explanation before and after each entry.
Chapter 5 Pg. 67
Whenever possible, I would write within hours of coming home from a therapy session. These entries often began, Today we talked about… and included an “I said, she said” account of the session. Whatever was significant about the week, I put on paper before forgetting it. If I needed to refer to those thoughts during the week, I had a simple way to retrieve them.
September 25, 2001
I had my session and we touched on a lot. Mostly my need to express my anger—do it in little bits, do something physical while letting it out, I’m turning that anger inward. I doubt everything about myself again. I’m depressed, tired, worn out. It takes energy to suppress anger. My guard is up and when I let it down I feel so depressed, I feel like I don’t want to go on. Dellene said when I was young if I let my guard down I was not safe. Now again if I let my guard down I am not safe. I need to start spending time alone again. Writing, thinking, listening to music. Let myself feel. I have to work on my anger.
This entry reminded me that I needed to work on my anger in a constructive way. My therapist helped me understand why I kept my guard up. Putting the thoughts in my journal helped me to realize I was not in the place of that little girl; I was safe.
Journaling became a daily strategy during my years in therapy. Looking back, the journals are a validation of how far I’ve come. Have you ever kept a journal? What benefits did you find? If you haven’t I highly recommend you give it a try!   Roberta


  1. Michael |

    I have used this little book How to joranul your Life in my classroom for several years and used it with my own kids to help with creative expression. It has also helped me reach expressive heights and given great examples for me to share with my children and students. It’s quick and easy to follow Neat little book ..!! Thanks for sharing!!