Writing in a journal is a way of moving our thoughts, ideas and reflections out of our heads and on to paper. But it's not always easy to put our feelings into words or to be able to express deeply felt emotions and thoughts in a way that honours them as we’d truly like to. Of course being able to speak freely to a therapist of our deepest fears or desires is one of the huge benefits of counselling but even then we may feel there are aspects of ourselves that are cut off or we find too shameful to speak of. Many of us encourage our clients to keep journals as part of the healing process, a way of processing unclear or unresolved thoughts that may have arisen in a session or have occurred between sessions. Another kindred form of private reflection is creative journaling which is the use of imagery in combination with or in place of words. By using colour, form or other image making processes it is possible to get in touch with the areas of our psyches that have not yet been revealed to us and free us up to a deeper understanding of ourselves. It is generally accepted that our unconscious mind is receptive to being prompted by visual stimuli or other sensory triggers and art in therapy has a proven track record in the healing process.
Creative journaling is not about making art for outside evaluation, the beauty lies in its being purely for personal attention where every mark or thought is free from criticism or judgement and crucially free from the crippling voice of the inner critic and self-censor. Boldness, honesty and play are what's important and the rest will follow.
Here are some ideas to help you get started