How to Write a New Life for Yourself:

Updated on 18th April 2018: I have today added an extract from Chapter 10 – on how to incorporate elements of writing therapy into face-to-face counselling, with some clients, as appropriate – near the end of this web page…

Updated on 17th April 2018: I have today added a brief extract from Chapter 1; plus some feedback from individuals on LinkedIn and Facebook who like this book and web page… 

(You can also read the entire Preface here)…

 

The E-CENT Narrative Therapy Series – Volume 1

 

How to Write a New Life for Yourself:

Narrative therapy and the writing solution

 

By

Jim Byrne DCoun

With

Renata Taylor-Byrne BSc(Hons)Psychol

Published by: The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT), Hebden Bridge, April 2018

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2018

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This book will be issued before volume 1 of the couples therapy series, somewhere in the next few days.

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2018


Draft cover jimnearfinal (2)


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Preface

Audiences for this book

This book has been written with four broad audiences in mind:

  1. Self-help enthusiasts, who are defined as individuals who are comfortable with the skill of writing, and need to work through some unfinished business, from the recent or distant past; or to plan some way ahead, to resolve practical, emotional or relationship problems; or to improve their emotional self-management. (Your journey begins at Chapter 1, once you’ve complete this Preface).
  2. Professional helpers (like counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, etc.) who want to know how to add some elements of writing therapy to their normal face-to-face work with clients. (See Chapter 10 for detailed guidance).
  3. Students of counselling psychology and psychotherapy, or related disciplines, who want to learn about the psychology of writing therapy; frame theory; autobiographical writing; and emotional self-management. (Your journey begins at Chapter 3, and resumes at Chapter 1).
  4. And personal and professional development enthusiasts, who want to improve their own self-management skills, in terms of goals and values; problem solving; and effective thinking. (Your journey begins with Chapter 7, and resumes at Chapter 1).

The relative merits of writing therapy and face-to-face counselling

Writing therapy has transformed many lives!  So has face-to-face counselling and therapy. So, what are the relative merits of face-to-face counselling and psychotherapy, on the one hand, and writing therapy, on the other?

If you are struggling with emotional problems, it is normally best to see a counsellor, psychologist or psychotherapist, to get some help with your problems.  One of the reasons that this is important is that, having your emotional pain witnessed, and validated, by a healing person, is hugely therapeutic.

If you choose your counsellor wisely, they will act like a kind and supportive ‘mirror’ to reflect you and your life’s experiences in an empathic, kind and supportive way.  Depending on your background, this may be something that you have never experienced before; especially if you did not have ‘good enough’ parents.

A good therapist can help to re-parent you; to provide a form of ‘external affect (or emotion) regulation’ – which includes a soothing of your emotions; and non-verbal guidance on how to better manage your emotions in the future.

And many good therapists will help you to think-feel-perceive your life and its possibilities more realistically, more positively, and with more clarity and resilience.

However, it is obvious that many people cannot afford to resolve all of their psychological problems through the relatively expensive processes of counselling and psychotherapy.  Therefore, it may often be necessary to split your therapy between face-to-face assistance, and self-directed writing therapy.

This book can help you with the second of those forms of assistance.

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Feedback on this web page from LinkedIn:

Ralph Pifer “For those who are literate and thoughtful, this (writing therapy) approach can be of great value. There is something about organizing one’s thoughts in black and white that often times can bring a confrontation with the adequacy and/or inadequacy of our plans and actions”.

Natasha C. “I will have a look at this (book on Writing Therapy); thanks and well done”.

Veena GROVER, “Good Luck, (with the writing therapy book) Jim”.

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Feedback on this page from a Facebook group: Clinical Psychology:

Pam Pam “This is actually great… Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂 I want to read this (writing therapy) book”.

Alesya Nedoshyvkina “I would love to read this book (about writing therapy)!”

Aneesa Leen “I am not a student but I would love to read your book. I need to make a new life…”

Laiba Janat “I want to read this book sir”.

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…end of feedback…

…Preface continues…

This book is also broader than writing therapy as such.

It also includes forms of guidance which could better be described as: writing for self-management; or writing for self-coaching.

Furthermore, it is obvious that people think-feel-perceive with their existing capabilities, based on their past experiences.  Therefore, to enhance and expand your potential for improving any aspect of your life, through the vehicle of writing, we have included some additional chapters to help you to (1) understand your emotions and how to manage them; (2) to learn about ideal goals and life values; (3) to understand your emotional needs; and (4) to learn how to re-frame difficult experiences so that you think-feel-act more self-supportingly in relation to difficulties from your past.

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This book has the potential to transform your life! By using the writing strategies contained in this book, you could write a new life for yourself.

Who has benefited from writing therapy?

“Expressive writing is a self-reflective tool with tremendous power.  By exploring emotional upheavals in our lives, we are forced to look inwards and examine who we are.  This occasional self-examination can serve as a life-course correction”.  Pennebaker and Evans (2014).

We can see how powerful writing is, as a form of therapy, by the following examples:

A former soldier, who lives out of a shopping trolley, and survives by sleeping rough on the streets of San Francisco, heals his wartime traumas by writing in a journal for a period of months.

A woman who is severely depressed, and stuck at home with a two-year-old child, cures her major depression by writing about previously denied emotional pain.

A college lecturer processes the stresses and strains of working in an impossibly pressurized teaching situation, for decades, by digesting her daily experiences in her journal.

A creative author writes about his childhood trauma, and converts it into a novel, while also learning to feel more secure and more loving and more fulfilled in his life. (See Chapter 4).

And the creator of Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) was on social security, stuck at home with a young child, and suffering from severe depression, when she began to write her Harry Potter books.  She attributes her overcoming depression to this writing work.

The ‘shopping cart soldier’ referred to above, who became a successful novelist as a result of his writing therapy, was not by any means an exception. As described by Gail Noppe-Brandon (2018): “According to a study reported in the New York Times, (war) veterans found greater healing and resiliency through a narratological approach, that is, doing guided writing about their traumatic experiences, than they did via either medication or talk therapy alone”. (Page 24).

(Of course, we have to clarify that, the reason war veterans may find they gain more from writing therapy than from face-to-face work, is most likely that (1) their traumatic experiences have created greater than normal levels of interpersonal communication difficulties; and (2) intrusive thoughts and frightening flash-backs can happen at any time, and it is easier to grab a pad and pen and write the fear out, than it is to wait for some days to see a face-to-face counsellor! (See Jennifer H., 2008)[1].

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[1] Jennifer H. (2008) 360 Degree Healing: Release through writing.  Online blog about the family life of an American war veteran.  Available: http://familyofavet.com/PTSD_ alternative_ treatments_ writing.html.  Accessed: 14th April 2018.

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There have been many reports of dramatic improvements in a person’s life as a result of writing therapy.

“Writing and seeing her vision become reality was the turning point in her (J.K. Rowling’s) depression. Like Emma Thompson and Carrier Fisher, Rowling discovered the power of writing to beat depression. Not just writing a little bit, but building it as a daily discipline and seeing it through. Writing generates more structure in one’s life, countering the unstructured and chaotic lifestyle that mental health problems can produce. Secondly, writing also helps people get out of their head. Concentrating on the page and letting it all come out is healing, meditative and therapeutic. Writing interlinks the two brain hemispheres and encourages healthier brain function”. (Bennett, 2012).

Writing about emotional problems has been found, in scientific laboratory studies, to be at least as effective as face-to-face counselling and therapy. But very much cheaper and more easily accessed.  (Pennebaker, 1990, 1997, 2002; and Pennebaker and Evan, 2014).

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Feedback about this web page from a reader on LinkedIn: 

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Processing emotional experiences

In Pennebaker and Evans (2014) it is argued that traumatic experiences have long-term effects upon people if they keep it a secret; or they do not talk about it.  Getting it out, in talk therapy, or writing about it in a therapeutic way, helps to process it.  This makes sense in the context of the definition of a trauma as a ‘disrupted narrative’.

Rethinking the narrative or story of your painful experiences tends to clear them up and helps you to feel better, and indeed, to get better, physically and psychologically.

For these reasons, if you like writing, or feel you work well with writing as a medium of communication, you might like to experiment with ‘writing therapy’.

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Feedback on the Lifestyle Counselling book, from a member of the Mind-Body Health Group, on LinkedIn, on 17th April 12018:

Bertrand Babinet “Thank you. I could not agree more that to look at the body /mind and spirit as one unit it critical whether your focus is more on the coaching or restoring optimal physical health. It is all one and we should all be trained in understanding the whole rather than trying to break human beings in parts. It would also be good if we started approaching the whole social and physical environment as a whole in the same way”.

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Why would you turn to writing therapy?

You could turn to writing therapy to resolve any problems you have with stress at work or at home; sadness or depression; a sense of ‘being stuck’ in your life; a need for creative thinking (or to overcome writers block); concerns or anxieties in general; or just to make sure you are managing your time and your life effectively, and to your own satisfaction.

In the process, you could write a new life script for yourself, and live from that instead of the less effective one you wrote in your head when you were a (largely non-conscious) child.

In this book, we set out to show you how you can quickly and easily process your current psychological problems, or difficult experiences, from the past or the present; and to improve your emotional intelligence; by writing about your current and earlier difficulties.

Writing to heal the body-brain-mind

Some pieces of writing have a healing or helping (or ‘therapeutic’) effect. A therapeutic narrative is clearly any kind of written or spoken narrative or story which promotes physical or mental healing.

Writing therapy, on the other hand, is any system of writing that is designed to promote psychological and physical wellbeing. 

Writing therapy is based on the insight that, when a person writes about their negative feelings from the past, including traumatic and stressful experiences, the result is an easing of physical and emotional pain, and a strengthening of their immune system: (Woolston, 2000).  The process of writing helps to change our existing ‘mental maps of reality’, also sometimes called ‘schemas’, so that we can experience life more positively and enjoyably[1].

Woolston (2000) described the case of John Mulligan, the homeless Vietnam veteran (mentioned above), suffering from post-traumatic stress, and sleeping on the streets of San Francisco, living out of a shopping trolley.

Mulligan attended one workshop on writing therapy, took to writing out all his ‘psychological demons’, and persisted with this daily practice for a number of years.

This helped Mulligan to integrate his wartime horror story experiences in Vietnam, and he concluded that:

“Writing about stressful events can be powerfully therapeutic for mind and body”. (Page 1, Woolston, 2000).

In the process Mulligan rehabilitated himself, and went on to become a successful novelist[2].

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…The final Contents page can be found further down this page.

Writing for self-management purposes

As already indicated, the writing system in this book is much broader than writing therapy.

It also includes elements of self-coaching and self-management.

Self-management means that a person sets goals for themselves; seeks wisdom for themselves; and tries to guide their life by the best knowledge and skill that they can find and/or create, or generate.

This is not an easy task, and in fact it is a lifelong journey of discovery; and trial and error; of making progress and slipping back, over and over again – on a generally ascending curve.  Long-term progress occurs, despite occasional short-term setbacks.

The benefits of writing therapy

Writing therapy allows the writer to digest old, unprocessed memories of difficult experiences, without having to risk sharing them with another person.  Writing tacks between the memories stored on the right side of the brain, and the narrative creating abilities of the left hemisphere.  Thus it can help to surface old material that has been buried out of sight for a long time, but which is causing emotional or physical problems from non-conscious levels of mind.  And in the process, we re-frame old decisions and interpretations, and make a new narrative which is more self-supporting and less distressing.

Writing therapy can also be helpful in processing the problems of the present moment, and creating well thought out plans for the future.

According to Gail Noppe-Brandon (2018): “I feel that the work has been successful when clients are fluent in what they’ve lived, without shame—when they understand and can articulate how it affected them and what they now want, and are able to speak what they want to others…”

For myself, I think the main benefit of writing therapy is the facilitation of a better, clearer felt sense of where I come from, and where I am going; with clarity about what has happened in my life; but with the stings and soreness withdrawn from the older stories of my trials and tribulations: because they have been fully processed; understood; and re-framed.

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Daniels and Feltham (2004)[3] explored the effectiveness of journal writing as a form of personal therapy and personal development for trainee counsellors.

This is what they concluded about the effectiveness of this process:

“When asked about the benefits of journal writing itself, without comparison to other approaches to personal development, even though some trainees were sceptical to start with, all found great value in it, as demonstrated in the following quotations:

‘Seeing them (my feelings and thoughts) on paper also helps me to understand them’.

‘Looking back and seeing how I’ve grown (helps)’.

‘Reading back all of it was really beneficial, (and it) makes me realize how busy I am, etc.’

‘(It)… gives me personal satisfaction, without the need to necessarily prove myself to others by having work published or read by others for approval’.

‘It gives you the chance to have a rational debate with yourself, often enabling you to correctly put issues into focus, perhaps for the first time’.

Daniels and Feltham (2004) continue like this:

“Few disadvantages were identified and these were concerned mainly with the lack of available feedback…”

Writing therapy can help to process feelings and sensations; images, thoughts, and body awareness; interpersonal issues; practical or technical problems; sexual difficulties or issues; socio-political issues; spiritual or existential problems or concerns; consideration of one’s potential for growth and development; self-esteem, or self-confidence; and so on.  (See Daniels and Feltham, 2004).

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Writing therapy is not for everybody.

A sense of ease with the skill of writing is obviously a prerequisite.

It is particularly helpful for certain groups; men benefit more than women, although women do benefit from it; and it is not normally recommended for individuals who have PTSD, who may have no coping resources. However, please not that it worked well for John Mulligan, the shopping cart soldier.

It is also not normally recommended for people with major depression, who might be better advised to get help in a face-to-face context. But it worked well for Muriel Schiffman (1972), the depressed mother described above.

But for most people, male and female, across a wide spectrum of degrees of emotional intelligence and emotional stability, writing therapy – and/or self-coaching through writing – and/or self-management through writing – are very powerful ways of processing difficult experiences, solving old and new problems, and planning one’s journey through life, via reflective thinking, goal setting, problem solving, and creative and critical thinking, on paper.

If you can combine writing therapy with professional help from a range of counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, lifestyle coaches, nutritionists, personal trainers, and various medical specialists, then all the better.  But we have to recognize that many people will not be able to afford much of those kinds of expensive services, and will have to rely upon their do-it-yourself forms of therapy.

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Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Hebden Bridge, April 2018

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[1] Woolston, C. (2000) Writing for therapy helps ease effects of trauma.  CNN.com news.  Available online: http://archives.cnn.com/2000/health/03/16/health.writing.wmd/.  Accessed: 12th April 2010.

[2] Mulligan, J. (1997) Shopping Cart Soldiers. New York: Scribner/Simon & Schuster.  (Paperback novel).

[3] Daniels, J. and Feltham, C. (2004) Reflective and therapeutic writing in counsellor training.  In: Bolton, G., Howlett, S., Lago, C. and Wright, J.K. (eds.) Writing Cures: an introductory handbook of writing in counselling and therapy.  Hove, East Sussex: Brunner-Routledge.

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Brief extract from Chapter 1:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Reflecting on your thoughts, feelings and experiences proves to be very effective in bringing about positive changes.  According to Perry (2012):

“Diarists reported better moods and fewer moments of distress than non-diarists.  Those, in the same study, who kept a journal following trauma or bereavement, also reported fewer flashbacks, nightmares and unexpected difficult memories.”

The socialized and narrativized nature of human life

It was Plato who argued that “The unexamined life is not worth living”.  However, we believe that this statement needs to be modified as follows: If your life is not working for you, then you may need to examine why it is going wrong.

But if your life is working for you, and you are not being immoral or criminal in your lifestyle, then by all means stay asleep! It will do you no harm, as that is actually the normal human condition!

We humans are largely non-conscious creatures of habit, who are shaped by our early socialization; and this has an up-side and a down-side.

The up-side is that this is the way we socialize our children, and make them moral citizens – if we are ourselves moral.  And this is also the way we cohere as communities of belief.

The down-side, in general, is this: If you come from a bad family, (from [materially] upper, [materially] middle or [materially] lower social classes) who failed to socialize you into being pro-social, moral, and productive, then you will live a miserable, destructive life.

And more to the point in our present context: If your family of origin was not emotionally intelligent, and you have not had any remedial experiences, then you will lack the emotional intelligence to have a happy, socially connected life.

Our system of emotive-cognitive therapy, described in this book, is called Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).  It subscribes to the idea that the disclosure of emotionally difficult material is central to the curative effects of therapeutic writing.

Our inference is that the process of getting in touch with previously undigested emotional experiences has the effect of ‘completing them’; or finishing them off; making sense of them; reinterpreting them; allowing them to be; and thus integrating them into the client’s (or writer’s) set of stable, functional mental ‘schemas’ (or maps of the world) [1].

However, before this can happen, there is often the difficult problem of integrating two conflicting schemas – or two narratives or maps into one – or displacing a negative, dominant narrative with a new, alternative and liberating one.  Jordaan and Nolte (2010) summarize this process very neatly when they say: “(Narrative therapy) is the re-establishment of personal agency from the oppression of external problems and the dominant stories of larger systems (Corey 2005).  Therapy occurs when the dominant narrative is effectively challenged by an alternative narrative; if the dominant narrative is not challenged and dealt with accordingly, there can be no therapy”.

Another way of seeing this process is to say that, a therapeutic effect is achieved when the writer is able to re-interpret, or re-frame, a previously difficult feeling, thought, experience; and to create a more self-supporting or empowering meaning for the feeling, or thought, or experience.

The power of writing therapy

In this book, we set out to show you how you can quickly and easily process your current psychological problems, and improve your emotional intelligence, by writing about your current and historic difficulties.  (Chapter 8 contains a detailed introduction to the subject of how to understand and manage your emotions).

This approach to writing about your emotional difficulties in order to resolve them has a long and noble tradition.  Many nineteenth century poets were seeking to heal broken hearts or resolve personal dissatisfactions by the use of their poetry writing activities; and many novels are clearly forms of catharsis (or release of pent up emotions) by the author.

But not all writing is equally helpful, therapeutically speaking.  If the writing is too negative; or too pessimistic; or simply makes the reader feel raw and vulnerable, then it is not going to have a positive effect.  Later we will show you how to tackle therapeutic writing, (within the two main disciplines of writing therapy – [the scientific and the humanistic]), in order to make it maximally effective.  But the main clue is this: the writer has to be seeking the meaning of their experiences, and attempting to discover a revised way to understand that meaning; in order for improved emotional functioning (and indeed better physical health) to result.

It is not only okay to feel painful emotions, but necessary to digest our old, denied emotional pains, in order for them to be defused and rendered inactive.  But instead of indulging them, what we have to do is to name them; understand their source and significance; and to re-frame them, so they show up differently, with a new significance or meaning. (See Chapters 5 and 6).

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[1] I have previously defined ‘schemas’ as ‘packets of information’; or maps and models that allow us to know how to perceive and act within specific types of contexts; such as eating in a restaurant as opposed to a quick visit to a ‘greasy spoon’ café.  Or how to speak in the presence of a respected female as opposed to ‘mucking around with the boys’.

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Chapter 10: Adding writing therapy to face-to-face counselling sessions

10.1 Guidance for counsellors and psychotherapists

In this chapter, we offer counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, and others, a range of knowledge and skills for helping their clients to use writing therapy as an adjunct to face-to-face therapy services.

It would be a mistake to see face-to-face counselling and therapy as being challenged or threatened by writing therapy. How can I illustrate the situation, to clarify my argument?

10.2 Three levels of therapeutic self-maintenance

Perhaps the analogy of the relationship of a motor car – (the ‘client’, or source of need) to the process of car maintenance (which is ‘the therapy’, or solution) – could act as a helpful ‘thought experiment’?

Let us see:

As a non-car user, looking from the outside, I see three obvious levels of maintenance of private motor cars:

  1. Breakdown services: These are required when the car can “no longer move”, or only “move with difficulty”. (This is equivalent to the highest level of trauma, or ‘stuckness’).
  2. Annual, statutory inspections (with repair requirements). (In the UK, these are legislated for by the state, and called Ministry of Transport [MOT] tests). These tests are called for annually, on the basis of standard rates of wear and tear, which often require the fitting of new parts, and the repair of repairable old parts. (This is comparable to the mid-range of psychological difficulties, which occur from time to time [and certainly much less frequently than annually!] due to wear and tear from relationship difficulties at home and in work; and to other forms of stress).
  3. Routine maintenance of spark plugs, oil and water levels, air pressure in tyres (tires), fuel refilling, cleaning and polishing the body work, etc. (This is equivalent to the lowest level of help needed for stress and strain, or emotional turbulence).

It is my suggestion that we can find analogies with those three levels of ‘car therapy’ in the world of ‘people therapy’.  This is how I see it:

1(a). Emotional trauma and breakdown: If a person experiences an extreme trauma, or breakdown, they probably need a good deal of emotional comfort and reassurance.  This can best be done in counselling and psychotherapy, but preferably not until enough time has passed for some distancing of the trauma, and some basic self-directed, non-conscious integration of the experience.  So, a couple of years after a major breakdown, a person may be helped with a ‘breakdown service’ in counselling and psychotherapy.  Nobody would (normally) suggest that this person should rely upon writing therapy to cure their problem (though we know that John Mulligan [the Shopping Cart Soldier], and Muriel Schiffman [the author of Self Therapy], did precisely that, because they did not have significant freedom of choice in their situations. [They lacked the budget for therapy, for example).

1(b). Intractable problems: If a person is finding it impossible to resolve some ‘problem in their head’, or in their heart; they may often seek help from a counsellor or psychotherapist.  This category of seekers after help probably include the bulk of those individuals who constitute the flow of clients into, through and out of counsellors offices. (This not a ‘breakdown service’, but perhaps more like a replacement of ‘spare parts’, or an ‘essential repairs’ service!).

  1. Counselling-savvy individuals who want periodic counselling: Many people, who are aware of the value of counselling and therapy, may choose to go to see a counsellor from time to time – with bigger gaps than the MOT test – but nevertheless, they may use the term ‘topping up’, or ‘routine check-up’. Sometimes they may put off these routine check-ups until the pressure to attend becomes painful and persistent! But many of these individuals may also, routinely, under normal circumstance, use music therapy, relaxation therapy and writing therapy, in their own homes, as a form of DIY therapeutic self-treatment!  And/or they may go running, and/or swimming, or to yoga or Tai Chi classes. (No reasonable counsellor or therapist would dream of objecting to individuals – including therapists themselves – doing this kind of therapeutic work on a self-help basis!)
  2. Routine maintenance: The world is such a stressful place that we all need some routine maintenance of our emotional equanimity. And hardly anybody can afford to buy all of that routine maintenance from paid professionals. For examples:

When Renata was a full-time lecturer, in Further Education, she began most days by writing her Morning Pages.  This was a form of psychotherapy for the interpersonal bruising that was endemic in that kind of professional role.  But it was also a form of self-management, in terms of managing her own mind; her own time; her own stress level; her work planning; and so on.

When Jim finds himself up against some kind of emotional difficulty, he will often begin the day by writing his Morning Pages; or he will write about his problems later in the day.  This is a form of writing therapy for emotional self-management.  But he may also include: work planning; time management; goal setting; clarification of values; and reflections on the creative writing process.  (He got at least three of his books, in outline, from this process of writing therapy).

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Based on my thought-experiment (or reflective thoughts) above, it seems to me that counsellors have to accept that not all therapeutic work will be done on a face-to-face basis, or even on a paid professional basis.  Some of it will be done on the basis of Do-It-Yourself writing therapy.

Neither should we see face-to-face counselling and writing therapy as antagonistic or mutually exclusive systems; because:

Firstly: There is no reason why most counsellors cannot use writing therapy for their own ‘routine maintenance’, or even for some of their ‘periodic counselling’ top-up needs.

Secondly: It could be a great advantage for some proportion of counselling clients if their counsellors introduced them (as appropriate) to writing therapy, as an adjunct to therapy.  It could also be a great advantage for the counsellor themselves, in terms of improving their therapeutic efficacy.  According to Noppe-Brandon (2018) – writing about the advantages of writing therapy as an adjunct to face-to-face counselling:

“In my experience of many decades, writing accelerates the time it takes to get someone unstuck by about fifty percent. Writing author-izes clients: it introduces them to themselves, while also teaching a self-regulating and self-understanding skill”. (Page 25).

This will not be appropriate for every client. Or for every session.  But with the right client, at the right moment, it can be extremely helpful.  I will clarify some of the kinds of ways that counsellors can use writing therapy as an adjunct to their face-to-face work in the remainder of this chapter.

Most systems of counselling and psychotherapy can be modified to include some elements of writing therapy, from time to time, and with particular clients, as appropriate.  (The one obvious exception to this rule is the Rogerian, non-directive, person-centred approach, which does not fit well with any kind of intervention by the counsellor!)

10.3 Incorporating writing therapy into your face-to-face counselling practice

Writing therapy is such a powerful tool for unearthing, exploring, and clarifying psychological problems that it makes sense for counsellors and psychotherapists to have a good working knowledge of how to incorporate this tool into some of their face-to-face sessions, with some of their clients, selectively, as appropriate.

One of the simplest and most obvious ways in which this writing therapy approach could help is this:

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References

(Updated on 16th April 2018)

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Adams, K. (1990) Journey to the Self: Twenty-two paths to personal growth.  New York: Warner Books.

Adams, K. (1996) Journal writing as a powerful adjunct to therapy.  Journal of Poetry Therapy, 10(1):  31-37.

Atlas, J.A., Smith, P. and Sessoms, L. (1992) Art and poetry in brief therapy of hospitalized adolescents.  The Arts in Psychotherapy, 19:  279-283.

Aurelius, M. (1946/1992) Meditations. Trans. A.S.L. Farquharson.  London: Everyman’s Library.

Bacigalupe, G. (1996) Writing in therapy: A participatory approach.  Journal of Family Therapy, 18:  361-373.

Baikie, K.A., and Wilhelm, K. (2005) Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing.  Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11: 338-346.

Baran, J. (ed) (2003) 365 Nirvana: Here and now. London: HarperCollins/Element.

Bass, E. and Davis, L. (1988) The Courage to Heal: a guide for women survivors of child sexual abuse.  New York: Harper and Row.

Baumeister, R. and Tierney, J. (2012) Willpower: Rediscovering our greatest strength. London: Penguin Books.

Beidelman, T.O. (1971) The Kaguru: A Matrilineal People of East Africa. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Bennett, J. (2012) How J.K. Rowling beat depression: Online blog: http://www.howibeatdepression.com/how-jk-rowling-beat-depression/. Accessed: 18th April 2018.

Bolton, G. (1998) Writing or pills: therapeutic writing in primary care. In C. Hunt and F. Sampson (eds) The Self on the Page: Theory and Practice of Creative Writing in Personal Development.  London: Jessica Kingsley.

Bolton, G. (1999a) The Therapeutic Potential of Creative Writing – Writing Myself.  London: Jessica Kingsley.

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