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Therapeutic Writing Essay

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Writing is a tool used by many people for a variety of reasons. It is not uncommon for a person to jot down notes of thanks or send letters to friends or family. Further, one might set goals by writing lists of things they want to complete. Even the use of diaries and journals to record daily activities has spanned the ages. The first diaries date back to the Japanese classical period known as Heian. From 794 to 1192, these diaries held records of the writer’s daily life (Nakanishi, 2004, p.53). Writing in journals or diaries includes some individuals “deepest thoughts and emotions” (Nakanishi, p. 56). One of the most popular diaries, The Diary of Anne Frank, includes the aforementioned but also provides insight into Anne’s opinions on current events while espousing her disappointment, heartbreak, and emotional upheavals.
Jonathan Lent (2009) pinpointed “various theories (Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, Existential Counseling) that describe journal writing as a therapeutic intervention” (p.69). Sometimes, writing was considered a “creative therapy” and lumped with other expressive arts (Oberkirch, 1983, pp. 269-270). Oberkirch contends that writing has regularly been utilized in therapy, but some of her colleagues did not share this information because it was not seen as a legitimate technique. Currently, writing in therapy has evolved to include blogging and is no longer the fringe technique of its past (Nagel & Anthony, 2009).
Blogs, sometimes referred to as online diaries, are an evolution of journal writing where people can self publish their feelings, engage in activism, build community, or share ideas (Tan, 2008). Blogs are posted on the World Wide Web using blogging platforms t...


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...udies, 1, 53-62.
Oberkirch, A. (1983). Personal writings in psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 37(2), 265-272.
Pennebaker, J. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process.

Psychological Science, 8(3), 162-166.

Pennebaker, J., Kiecolt-Glaser, J., & Glaser, R. (1988). Disclosure of traumas and immune

function: Health implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical

Psychology, 56(2), 239-245.

Tan, L. (2008). Psychotherapy 2.0: MySpace ® blogging as self-therapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 62(2), 143-163.
Wilde, E. (2008). Deconstructing blogs. Online Information Review, 32(3), 401-414.

Wright, J., & Chung, M. (2001). Mastery or mystery? Therapeutic writing: A review of the literature. British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, 29(3), 277-291. doi: 10.1080/03069880120073003.


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