It is easy to W.R.I.T.E. for emotional healing

Your map for Writing Therapy


Writing for Healing is not complicated; yet is it so profound. Here are some practical ways to make Therapeutic Writing effective for you life’s narrative.

It’s Easy to W.R.I.T.E.
Just try these five easy steps. You’ll be writing for emotional healing!

W – What do you want to write about? What’s going on? How do you feel? What are you thinking about? What do you want? Name it.

R – Review or reflect on it. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths. Focus. You can start with “I feel…” or “I want…” or “I think…” or “Today….” or “Right now…” or “In this moment…”

I – Investigate your thoughts and feelings. Start writing and keep writing. Follow the pen/keyboard. If you get stuck or run out of juice, close your eyes and re-center yourself. Re-read what you’ve already written and continue writing.

T – Time yourself. Write for 5-15 minutes. Write the start time and the projected end time at the top of the page. If you have an alarm/timer on your PDA or cell phone, set it.

E – Exit smart by re-reading what you’ve written and reflecting on it in a sentence or two: “As I read this, I notice—” or “I’m aware of—” or “I feel—”. Note any action steps to take.

In summary….it’s easy to W.R.I.T.E.!
W hat topic?
R eview/reflect
I nvestigate
T ime yourself
E xit smart

If you notice the warning signs, do not be afraid to ask R U OK USA. Be clear as to their wrong signs.

We are launching an Online Therapeutic Writing group in a few weeks, watch for the dates. Your life will forever be changed!

Until next time,

Dr. Mike

14 Ideas for Emotional Healing through Writing

Go through this list and find what works for you!


We continue to build on the emotional healing process of Therapeutic Writing. Writing as Therapy! I have listed here 14 ideas for writing for healing emotionally. These are some ways you can find that fit your “style” in writing about your emotional hurt, pain, and experiences. It is vital you process you emotional, overwhelming moments to ensure they do not side track you future. These are a list of ideas that you can use to help your Writing for Healing. Find the one or two that works for you.

1. Sentence Stem. A sentence-completion process. Fill in the blank with a word or phrase. May be very universal (Right now I feel———-) or highly customized to an individual’s immediate question, problem or interest.

2. Five-Minute Sprint. A timed writing process designed to bring focus and intensity in short bursts. Excellent for those who are resistant or aversive to journal writing, or who are uncertain about how to start, or who state they do not have time to write journals.

3. Inventory. An assessment of life balance in major areas of living (health, family, home, work, spiritual/religious, emotional well-being, etc.) Gives a quick picture of which life areas might need attention.

4. Structured Write. A series of Sentence Stems grouped and sequenced to reveal consistently deepening layers of information and awareness.

5. Clustering. Visual free-association from a central word or phrase. Lines and circles connect key thoughts and associations to the central core. Work quickly to maximize results. A brief writing to synthesize findings may follow.

6. Lists of 100. A list of 100 items, many of which will probably be repetitions, on a predetermined theme or topic. Repetition is an important part of the process. Topics can be about any current issue (for example 100 Things I’m Sad About; 100 Things I Need or Want to Do; 100 Places I Would Like to See). At the end of the list, group the responses into themes and synthesize the information.

7. Alphapoem. Write the alphabet, A-Z, or any collection of letters, vertically down the side of a page. Then write a poem in which each successive line begins with the next letter. Excellent for groups as it promotes a high level of participation and sharing. Adolescents and reluctant writers respond well.

8. Captured Moments. Vignettes capturing the sensations of a, particularly meaningful or emotional experience. Written from the senses with strong descriptors. Captured Moments of beauty, joy, blessing, calm can add balance, hope, and perspective to a challenging time.

9. Unsent Letters. A metaphoric communication to another that is written with the specific intention that it will not be shared.

10. Character Sketch. A written portrait of another person or an aspect of the self. Can also be written about emotions by personifying an emotion and giving it a characterization – an appearance, a style of dress, a personality and temperament.

11. Dialogue. A metaphoric conversation written in two voices. Anyone or anything is an appropriate dialogue partner. There is no constriction by time, space, physical reality or literal voice.

12. Perspectives. An alteration in point of view that provides a different perspective on an event or situation.

13. Springboard. A free-write with a prompt. Starting a free-write with the smallest structure of a question, thought or topic can focus and frame the writing session.

14. Free Writing. Unboundaried, unstructured, unpaced narrative writing. Useful for creative flow or spontaneous writing sessions. Can be structured by adding a time limit or page limit.

We will begin an Online Therapeutic Writing Group Soon. This will change your life, and I want so much for you to be part of it. Watch this blog and emails to join this life changing process. It is all coming soon.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Mike

10 Reasons Writing Therapy can Help You

Writing Therapy Can Transform Your Emotional Life


As I prepare to launch an Online Writing Therapy Group, I wanted to look at the reason Therapeutic Writing is a great way to process emotional crisis, disappointments, and a host of other challenges we face with our emotional life. Here are 10 Reason Writing Therapy is something you can do and use to make a difference in your life.

1. A journal is available at any time; it does not rely on the availability of other people or their willingness to listen or on someone’s ability to pay for therapy. You can access your journal whenever you want at no cost.

2. Stories can be told and re-told in a journal. Repetition can be a valuable part of any healing process, but human listeners may get bored before the speaker does or before a point of change is reached. Your journal will never get bored with your words.

3. A journal provides a map of the journey towards growth, healing, and change. Re-reading it gives a record of how and when change happens, a reminder that things do change and that change can happen gradually and almost imperceptibly and perhaps change can only be seen in retrospect. You can create your own therapeutic map.

4. A journal helps find a voice and to give voice to the previously unknown, unspeakable or unacknowledged. An authentic voice can first emerge in the journal. You can begin to hear your own voice.

5. A journal helps develop intimacy with the self. It allows different parts of the self to emerge and step forward from the unconscious (the familiar cry ‘Where did that come from?’ testifies to the power of this process). You can get to know yourself deeply.

6. A journal is a powerful organizational resource. It is a means of helping stay in control of life and develop coping strategies. It is invaluable as a time management tool for personal and professional activity. You can become better organized and able to cope.

7. A journal can be a rehearsal platform – for events, conversations, other writing, life itself and this helps to ameliorate anticipatory anxiety. You can practise for difficult or stressful experiences.

8. A journal validates experience – writing it down makes it real and confers existence on the writer. It makes the writer visible and will not judge what the writer says. You can begin to appear more substantial and solid in your journal.

9. A journal can contain uncomfortable states such as ambiguity or indecision and make them more bearable. In this way, people can begin to mature. You can put all the unbearable bits of yourself in your journal and find they are bearable after all.

10. A journal is a way of developing and understanding a coherent narrative. It can repair a fractured life by giving shape to experience. When trauma causes a rupture in the narrative of a life keeping a therapeutic journal can restore it. You can repair the narrative of your life in your journal.

It is easy to see how Writing Therapy can help us become emotionally healthy. Watch for information about the Online Writing Therapy Group coming soon!

Until Next Time,

Dr. Mike

What Do I Mean When I Say Writing Heals

A Clear Understanding of Writing Therapy


I have been writing about an approach to processing our emotional experiences, chronic emotional challenges and using a proven way to release the emotions you feel about an event, a relationship, or a loss. In this post, I want to simply deepen our understanding of what is Writing Therapy?

What is Writing Therapy?

The best definition of Writing Therapy is the purposeful and intentional use of reflective writing to further mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness it is an effective means of providing focus and clarity to issues, concerns, conflicts, and confusions.

Dr. James Pennebaker, a research psychologist in Austin, Texas, was the first person to conduct clinical trials on the health benefits of personal writing as a tool for healing and recovery and the physical effects of expressive writing. His work applies the scientific method to analyse the effects of expressive writing on physical and psychological health. His own experience with Writing Therapy inspires us all who are trying to make sense of our life, to make it a habit of processing the upsetting life events we experience. Here is what he wrote about his own experience.

“In writing about upsetting events, for example, I often came to a new understanding of the emotional events themselves. Problems that had seemed overwhelming became more circumscribed and manageable after I saw them on paper. In some way, writing about my haunting experiences helped to resolve them. Once the issues were resolved, I no longer thought about them.” (Pennebaker 1990, p. 89)

This can happen for you as well.  

Product and Process Writing

To further clarify what Writing Therapy is we need to understand the nature of therapeutic journal writing, it is important from the outset to distinguish between ‘product’ and ‘process’ writing. Product writing is intended to produce a finished item, perhaps a poem, story or memoir. Process writing, on the other hand, is about the act of writing and recording itself. Therapeutic journal writing in this context is process writing.

In its most basic sense, this means that the outcome will not be measured by anyone other than the writer. Indeed, journal writing will often not be read or seen by anyone other than the writer, and it will not be crafted or edited into a ‘finished’ piece, or product, at this stage. This may be permission enough for some people to begin journal writing, having freed their thoughts and feelings from potent and limiting earlier preconceptions about what writing ‘should’ be.

Quieting the Critics

In Writing Therapy, every writer is the authority of their own writing. In this kind of work, the writer will always write the right thing. It is impossible to get it wrong.Writers are the authority of themselves and their own experience, knowledge, thoughts, feelings, memories and dreams. There is no one to tell you that you are doing it wrong, that isn’t the way I remember it, or be critical of what you chose to write about. Freedom from judgemental voices, and those who would want to not validate our therapeutic writing do not exist, and if they do it is because we allow them into our emotional world.

You are Free to write whatever you want, feel whatever you want, say whatever you want, and to express to people, friends or family, whatever you want with no external consequences.

What form does it Writing Therapy take?

This personal, therapeutic writing could all be called “journal” or “diary” writing. These terms mean different things in different contexts; Journal or diary can be used as an umbrella term to include many different forms of personal writing, such as personal poetry; metaphor exploration and expression; genre story; personal experience story; unsent letters; dream exploration; dialogues with parts of the body, such as a cancer tumour or an aching tooth; and dialogues with significant fictional, metaphorical figures such as my internal critic (yourself), or my child self.

There is a great deal of evidence from the field of Mental Health and Psychology that writing to heal is an effective way to process emotional, upsetting events and relationships, and has so many benefits that making a decision to Write to Heal is an approach you can use to become emotionally healthy.

In the next post, I will share with you the benefits of using writing as a way to be emotionally well.

Until Next Time,

Dr. Mike

Can you be Kind to Yourself-Self Compassion

A Short Podcast Challenge


Over the years of working with those who are processing emotional pain and crisis, I have seen so many who have very little compassion for themselves. I can relate to their struggle. I give everyone else compassion, kindness, and care, but when it comes to me I find that I show very little Self-Compassion.

I know we can’t learn everything there is to know about self-compassion in this 3-minute podcast. But at least it will give us something to think about.