Therapeutic journaling activities

50 Best Therapeutic Journal Prompts For Mental Health And Healing

These therapy journal prompts are some of the best ideas out there for when you are stuck. Your mental health is important. These will help!

Writing in a journal can be a huge benefit to your mental health. Whether you journal every day or every few weeks, it can be very helpful to have ideas for when you get stuck.  

We don’t have all of the ideas all of the time, so asking yourself a question and delving into that answer can be really beneficial.

When you ask yourself these questions, do yourself a favor and try to expand on your initial response. These ideas are meant to inspire you and get you thinking about your emotional state. 

Whether you choose to write about past experiences, small things that happen each day or you release your inner critic, journaling is a tool that will help you well beyond what people give it credit for. 

Benefits of Journaling For Mental Health

Writing in a journal has been a tool that has been used for many, many years. It is a personal therapeutic tool that is also a great way to center yourself after each day.

Whether it was a good day or a challenging one, having a safe place to express your feelings with no fear of repercussions is something that everyone can benefit from. 

You do not have to have a diagnosed mental illness in order to journal. Understanding that mental illness diagnoses are the same as physical illness diagnoses (an anxiety diagnosis should be looked at no different than a thyroid diagnosis), we all have issues that we have to deal with.

It is managing these issues in a healthy way that provides us reflection and an outlet to be our healthiest selves. 

Why Journaling Helps Depression And Anxiety

When you struggle with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety (which most people do on some level), you have a tendency to “spin.”

This is my own word, not necessarily something you’ll hear in therapy, but it’s meant to define that place in which you find yourself where you focus on the same worry or deep sadness over and over.

There is no internal instruction manual for letting go of it and it takes over entire days or weeks at a time. That is where a journal can come in. 

Writing in a journal is a wellness tool that will help you break that spinning cycle. It is a method of discovery that will enable you to crack through some of the intensity within yourself and get it out of your body.

When you can share your internal thoughts with the external world, it gives a little less power to those feelings inside and enables you to sort through things you may not have been able to before. 

Who Can Benefit From A Therapeutic Journal

Anyone can benefit from a therapeutic journal. Truly, anyone. You may have written in a diary as a child and teens nowadays may write a weekly blog post. No matter what age you started writing, you may have journal entries that span years and didn’t even realize it. 

Expressing our emotions is an incredibly healthy thing to do and whether you have supportive friends and family around you or not, your deepest thoughts can be just for you.

You may have some opinions or worries that you don’t want to express to others – and you don’t have to. That is where your journal comes in. It can be your trusted friend on the cloudiest of days. It is your unconditional love book. 

Where To Get A Therapeutic Journal

You can find many varieties of journals at your local bookstores, Promptly Journals, Target, Walmart, or Amazon. Often you’ll find dates in them because so many people start a new journal at the start of a new year, but choose a general journal that speaks to you.

It can be as muted or as colorful as you want, but choose something that you will want to reach for every day. 

If you aren’t comfortable diving right into your deepest feelings, start with a gratitude journal. Each day, list the first things that you think of that you are grateful for. Once this becomes a habit and more comfortable for you, it may be easier to start writing a daily journal. 

When To Use These Journal Prompts

Some days are very easy to start writing about. When you’ve had a perfect day or a hard time, you find that those thoughts and feelings just have to come out.

These therapy journal prompts are for those other occasions. When you are looking at a blank page and want to create a new journal entry, but you’re having a tough time triggering your thoughts or feelings. 

Journaling prompts are good things to keep in your back pocket because they can inspire you. This list of journal prompts is meant to be a starting point for your personal development.

Think about each idea and how it touches you in the present moment. Next time, think about how your younger self would react to the ideas or what your future self should remember.

Some people have a daily routine when it comes to journal writing. Their morning routine consists of a shower, breakfast, and twenty minutes to write in their journal – or they close out their day by writing before bed.

Find the perfect time for you, where it affects your day in a positive way. It is one of those new habits that should easily slide right in if you want it to. 

How To Journal With Writing Prompts

The worst thing you can do here is answer each question with two words or short sentences and call it a day. When it comes to journal therapy, the idea is to participate in an active way so that you can get the most mental health benefits out of the exercise. 

The best way to begin a journaling journey is to treat it like a new habit that you’d like to turn into a lifelong practice. Consistency will help you have the most positive impact, so decide if you’d like to write first thing in the morning, only when you are working through a difficult situation, or as a tool for expressive writing. 

Just remember that most of us manage mental health issues in some form and everyone has a bad day here and there.

Whether you write down all of your negative thoughts and keep them to yourself or use them to write an open letter to share with a best friend or family members, writing things down will yield positive changes in your life.  

See which of these mental health journal prompts inspires you and run with it. Answer the same one over and over, looking at it in different ways, or start at the beginning and work towards the end. No matter what you do, journaling is a good place, a safe space, and a good way of improving your mental well-being.  

List Of Journal Prompts

1. What do you feel about your day today and why?

2. What made you feel happy today?

3. What made you feel uneasy today? 

4. What three things are you grateful for today?

5. When I think of my mother I feel…

6. When I think of my father I feel…

7. When I think of my best friends I feel…

8. When I think of my siblings (or lack of siblings) I feel…

9. Are you doing a job that fulfills you? Why does or doesn’t it fulfill you?

10. What would you tell your teenage self?

11. What would you tell your 25 year old self?

12. What do you wish someone had told you about life?

13. What do you wish someone had told you about love?

14. What makes you feel scared and why?

15. What makes you feel sad and why?

16. What makes you feel happy and why?

17. What makes you feel angry and why?

18. What makes you feel safe and why?

19. Why is your favorite color your favorite color?

20. Why is your favorite movie your favorite movie? 

21. What music makes you feel content and why?

22. What did you used to want to be when you grew up and why? 

23. What would be your dream career and why? 

24. What is a great memory from childhood? 

25. Who is someone you look up to and why?

26. When you are having a tough day, what do you do to cope and why does it help?

27. What is a memory that sticks with you from your school days? 

28. What do you envy about someone else and why?

29. Describe yourself with five words and explain why you chose them. 

30. Where is your favorite place to travel and why? 

31. Who is your favorite person to talk to and why?

32. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What makes you think so?

33. What is your favorite memory with your mother or mother figure?

34. What is your favorite memory with your father or father figure?

35. What are three of your short term goals?

36. What are three of your long term goals?

37. What is one thing that you love and why should other people love it?

38. When was a time where you were scared, but things turned out okay?

39. What is one of your favorite funny memories?

40. What pet would you have if you could choose any pet and why?

41. Do you prefer a sunny day or a rainy day and why?

42. Who are the most important people in your life and why?

43. What is one thing that you did for someone else this week and how did it make you feel?

44. What is something that most people don’t know about you? 

45. What have you learned to say no to?

46. What have you learned to say yes to?

47. What about yourself are you proud of?

48. What about yourself do you hope to change?

49. List three reasons why you like yourself. 

50. List three reasons why you love yourself.  

Remember to revisit these guided journal prompts more than once. Just because you wrote about it one way the last time doesn’t mean it won’t strike you differently the second time. 

I hope that these therapy journal prompts will help you find your comfort zone with writing. Let them guide you to write about what you feel are important things, difficult times, anxious thoughts, good news, or little things that you want to commemorate in writing.

For more ideas for journaling, check out these:

  • 50 shadow work journal prompts
  • 50 self worth journal prompts 
  • 50 manifestation journal prompts
  • 50 law of attraction journal prompts
  • 50 journal prompts for teens 

And remember, you can use your journal for all kinds of things. If you feel inspired to write a short story, write it! If you feel the need to draw a picture or a doodle to express yourself, do it!

This is a therapeutic tool for you, so really make it your own. And if you need even more ideas, check out the 50 questions that will help you be the best version of you. 

70 Therapy Journal Prompts for Personal Growth

It’s clear that I love writing (why else would I be a blogger if I didn’t) but I want to share with you one of the top reasons why I love what I do.

Writing is a great form of storytelling, but I think it’s an even greater form of inside work. There are many times where I have been journaling and all of the sudden have a moment of clarity from something I wrote…cue using therapy journal prompts.

It can be something small things such as organizing my to-do list and figuring out what my most important task is. It can also be something as big as a breakthrough into why I think and feel the way I do in certain situations.

Through these experiences I have learned that journaling can be a great form of therapy, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that journal therapy is an alternative to therapy, nothing can replace therapy, but it is a great supplement.

Journaling can seem daunting if writing doesn’t come easily to you. Here are some tips you can use to get started and with this list of journal prompts as writing prompts I’m sharing you’ll be sure to find it easier to start.

Incorporating journaling into your daily routine as something you do first thing in the morning or before you go to bed can be a positive way to face the difficult times. It’s the little things that become a starting point!

Now that you are ready to start your journaling journey, here are 70 therapy journal prompts for you to choose from. 

Journaling can sometimes feel like a deep, soulful heart-to-heart with your best friend where you share your deepest thoughts.

The blank page provides a great way for you to safely get out of your comfort zone to explore past experiences and the tough time you may have had.

You can reflect on your younger self in a healthy way and process negative emotions for positive changes in your mental health.

Let your journal entries become a safe space to work through difficult emotions and maybe, just maybe, taking your internal thoughts and putting them on paper will help you the next time you’re in a difficult situation. The benefits of journaling are endless.

Therapy Journal Prompts About Your Mindset

  • What is a negative thought that has been recurring? How can you deconstruct it and turn it positive?
  • What are three affirmations you can tell yourself this week to improve your mindset?
  • Are there any books or tools you have found that have helped you learn about having a positive mindset? What are they and what was the biggest lesson from them?
  • What cognitive distortions do you identify the most with? 
  • What are five positive thoughts that you can tell yourself when you are feeling down?
  • Write down as many thoughts you’ve had during the day as you can. How many of them were negative? How many of them were positive?
  • Describe a day you’ve had that started out bad but turned out to be a good day. How did you achieve that shift in mindset?
  • Did you know that you can control your thoughts? Today, try your best to only think positive thoughts. At the end of the day describe how this went. Did you notice any changes?

Therapy Journal Prompts About Your Feelings

  • Write down 5 things, or activities, that make you the happiest. Why do they make you happy?
  • What are your triggers that cause you to feel anxious? How can you avoid them or minimize their effect on your mental health?
  • Check in with yourself – how are you feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally today?
  • What makes you feel like your most authentic self? Is it being around a certain person, doing a certain activity, etc..
  • Write one to three things that inspire you to be your best self?
  • What helps brighten your day when you are going through a hard time? 
  • What’s your love language (words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, physical touch, or quality time)? How can you better show love to yourself through that?
  • When was the last time you cried and what helped you feel better?
  • What causes you to get angry? Are there any certain coping skills that help you calm down?
  • What makes you feel the most confident?
  • What are the emotions that you feel the most? Are they mostly positive or mostly negative?
  • Who is someone in your life that always seems positive? How can you learn from them to develop a more positive mindset? 
  • Do you express your feelings easily? If not, why?
  • Who are you the most positive around, and who seems to bring out more negative thoughts?

Therapy Journal Prompts For After Your Session

  • How did you feel 10 minutes after your therapy session today?
  • How are you feeling after your therapy session?
  • Did you learn anything new about yourself?
  • Were there any surprising thoughts or feelings that came up for you during your session?
  • What are some practical tools that you learned today that will help you when you are struggling?
  • What stuck out to you the most during your session?
  • Were there any points during therapy today that were tough to talk through?
  • Was there something you wanted to discuss today but it didn’t come up?
  • Did you receive any homework or activities to do and/or practice before the next therapy session? How do you feel about it?
  • What do you need to do to prepare for your next session?

Therapy Journal Prompts About Self Acceptance & Confidence

  • Write down three of your favorite songs about self acceptance. What do the lyrics mean to you?
  • Why do you think you struggle with self acceptance?
  • What makes you feel loved?
  • Have you taken the time to appreciate yourself lately? If not, how can you do that this week?
  • What parts of your personality, skills, appearance, etc. do you love the most, and why?
  • Describe a time in your life when you felt the most confident. What made you feel that way?
  • What does self acceptance mean to you?
  • How do you think your life would change if you loved and accepted yourself just as you are?
  • When was the last time you were proud of yourself?
  • How do you feel when someone compliments you?

Therapy Journal (List) Prompts

  • What are five things you are grateful for in your life right now?
  • Describe yourself in three words, then explain why you picked those words.
  • What are five things that you love about yourself?
  • What are five good thoughts you have had recently?
  • Who are five people in your life that you are grateful for?
  • Describe three times in your life when you felt the happiest.
  • What are three things you want to tell your past self?
  • What are three things you want to tell your future self? 
  • Write down five compliments you have gotten from friends and family.
  • What are five things you can remind yourself of when you are having anxiety.

Therapy Journal (Letter) Prompts

  • Write a letter to someone that inspires you to keep going.
  • Write a letter to someone who has had a negative impact on your life. 
  • Write an encouraging letter to yourself to read on a bad day. 
  • Write a letter to encourage someone else.
  • Write a letter to someone who has been a positive influence to you.
  • Write a letter to someone you are thankful for.
  • Write a letter to yourself ten years in the future. Then seal it in an envelope to be opened ten years after today’s date.

Miscellaneous Therapy Journal Prompts 

  • If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
  • What is something that you’ve always wanted to do but fear has held you back? How can you face that fear and go after what you want?
  • What does your perfect day look like?
  • If you could spend the day with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do?
  • What are your monthly, yearly, and/or life goals? How do you plan on achieving them?
  • How do you define these words: success, happiness, contentment, growth?
  • What is something you are hoping to overcome? How are you going to make that happen?
  • Find an inspirational quote and write it out. What thoughts come to mind when you are reading it?
  • How do you practice self care?
  • Do you find yourself comparing yourself against others? When do those feelings typically come up, and how can you put a stop to them?
  • How has journaling impacted your mental health?

I strongly believe a journaling practice has therapeutic benefits and there for mental health benefits. Whether you use a digital journal, a gratitude journal, or even a sketch book, it doesn’t matter what it looks like! Each journal entry is an opportunity of expressive writing so you can work on your emotional state and mental health. Journaling is a valuable practice and the first time is the hardest but the perfect time to start is now!

I hope these journaling prompts will be a great resource for you. If at any time you need immediate help reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). Always remember that whatever you are going through, you are not alone!

About the Author

Kelly graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Journalism. Even though it took her a little while to find her career path, she was always meant to be in Communications. She remembers writing poems and songs when she was a little girl and pitching to my parents the reasons why I should have a cell phone when I was a teenager. She currently has a blog ( where she talks about her weight-loss journey, mental health and personal development. Her hope is to encourage and inspire readers and let them know they are not alone. Reading blog posts like that are what helped her in tough times and she wants to pay it forward. She loves dance fitness, listening to music, and creating layouts in her bullet journal. She's a big fan of planning, especially when cute notebooks and pens are involved. Her dream job has changed so much over the years; right now she'd love to co-own a dance studio.


Journaling and Psychotherapy: 7 Diary Techniques

The diary as a written psychotherapeutic practice has many formats and types, there are even separate collection books that summarize and explain different exercises, there are studies that confirm (or refute) the effectiveness of diaries for certain problems and conditions. As a person who already writes a lot, diaries seem to me a very good idea, both in themselves and as an accompaniment to psychotherapeutic work. I will tell you about several formats that I use or have used before. nine0003

"Regular" diaries

By regular diary, I mean any diary with events and emotions in a free style, that is, without a specific structure.

Why keep a diary in parallel with psychotherapy? Firstly, there are people (here I am, for example) who tend to unconsciously rewrite and replace their memories: remember only good or only bad ones, interpret the same facts of the past in different ways, summing up new ones (sometimes very unexpected from the point of view) under them. view of reality) cause-and-effect relationships and explanations for the events that occurred. nine0003

I have been keeping regular diaries for many years, but irregularly and in "forays". Oddly enough, I get more benefit from rereading them than from writing.

Re-reading your diaries, you can find out:

  1. That in a particular place and time a few years ago I felt relatively bad, despite the fact that my memory has cleaned everything up and slips a piece from the past as a “lost paradise”. Such effects rather indicate that then I received something that I lack now, but they do not at all say that it is really very good there (in that particular city, at that place of work, in that profession). and it is necessary to return there in a literal, physical sense. nine0019
  2. That my average state and mood is really changing, because the built-in reset mechanism says that it used to be “generally OK, but could be better” and is now “generally OK, but could be better.” And if you think about it, besides the diaries, there is absolutely nowhere to be sure how much the bar of “norm” has changed and how differently this “normal” is felt in different periods of life.
  3. That some catastrophes that seemed inevitable and about which one could scribble from a dozen excited pages did not happen at all. At the same time, many wishes that seemed unrealizable have come true. nine0019

In a word, I have been convinced more than once that the past is rewritten and reformatted to fit the current reality, it is influenced by current values ​​and today's understanding of the “norm”, and the diary helps to cast anchors and mark reference points in this unpredictable seething.

From "just a diary" follow other writing practices and techniques designed more for specific tasks.

Freewriting and "morning pages"

There is a well-known freewriting (free writing without stopping, under a timer), in the course of freewriting a person does not think about the meaning, consistency or clarity of his text, but rather tries to get out of his head with streaming writing something deep hidden there or find new solutions and ideas. I love freewriting, but I use it solely as a method of generating creative ideas for work. And at the same time I don’t like it and don’t use it for emotional or psychotherapeutic tasks - this is inexplicable from a rational point of view, here you just need to try and decide for yourself. nine0003

The Morning Pages is a technique used by screenwriter/writer Julie Cameron from The Artist's Way - roughly 3 pages of freewriting a day. Cameron suggests starting each morning by writing 3 pages of whatever comes to mind. I know people who regularly practice morning pages and recommend them to everyone; I know people who cannot stand them and consider them meaningless or even harmful.

We also advise you to see: How to start to get rid of bad thoughts

I have tried the morning pages several times at different times and seem to belong to a coalition of their opponents. For me, the “morning pages” are the right way to get strong emotions out of yourself at the 15th minute of the letter, which then it’s not clear how to shove back or where to take it (which is especially inopportune on the eve of the working day), so I pass: strong emotions - on psychotherapy, diaries - in the evenings, in the mornings - coffee and no morning pages.

The very fact of such conflicting opinions, again, leads to three thoughts at once: not everything is equally suitable for everyone; to understand what suits you specifically, you need to carefully try and see what happens; even "harmless" practices and exercises require their own safety precautions. nine0003

Anxiety Diary

A diary format similar to CBT, although I kept it before I was introduced to this method. This format perfectly accompanies work on anxiety or anxiety disorders. At the same time, it is ridiculously simple: you need to draw a notebook into two columns, write down all the fears that visit you on the left, and on the right - this particular fear came true or did not come true. (“What if I go on a business trip on Thursday and lose my passport there, what if I forgot to turn off the gas, what if I fail the presentation and get fired, what if my friend doesn’t answer for 7 minutes because she doesn’t love me anymore .. .") nine0003

My personal percentage of fear realization was something around 7%, which means that for every 7 times of justified anxiety, there were 93 (ninety-three!) situations when I was worried just like that, out of habit and out of inertia, spending my strength and resources .

After some time (according to my calculations - from a couple of weeks to a couple of months), the need for such a diary "falls off" by itself, because you just get tired of writing it, and because instead of "What if I lose my passport? OH GOD!" in your head the thought will arise: “Oh, again the fairy tale about the lost passport turned on, well, let it play, I’ll go to work for now. ” nine0003

See also: What is anxiety?

Obviously, this method will not turn off the alarm once and for all by itself. Obviously, he will not turn off irrational anxiety without an object when it is scary, but it is not clear what exactly is scary - the object still has to be found. Also, the anxiety diary will not turn off “displaced anxiety”, when you are worried about something specific that you are not ready to admit or express it, so the emotion, wandering, ricochets and sticks to the idea of ​​losing your passport. However, that is why it says above “accompanies anxiety work” and does not “heal” anxiety or “replace anxiety work in psychotherapy.” nine0003

Automatic Thought Diary

Also a very CBT format in spirit, compared to the others it requires some perseverance (and a huge spreadsheet). I describe very briefly (because the psychotherapist will tell you about this in great detail if you decide to conduct such a thing): you need to write down the emotion that arose in you in the table, then the automatic thought that accompanied this emotion, then the situation in which this emotion arose . A standard entry might look like this: “Emotion: Shame | Thought: I'm a terrible professional and can't do anything | Situation: I saw a cool report of a colleague at a conference. nine0003

When a couple of hundred lines are typed in such a diary-table, a lot becomes noticeable. For example, you may notice that your "finger is broken." (This is a direct story of my life, although initially it is a joke: a person comes to the doctor and says, “Doctor, everything hurts me: I poke my finger here - it hurts, I poke my finger here - it hurts!” And the doctor answers him: “Darling, yes, your finger is broken!”) On “big data”, it’s really much easier to notice the scale of distortions: for example, if we react the same way to a huge percentage of unrelated facts, in the key “I’m a mediocre manager” or “I’m a bad mother”. Then it becomes clearer that it is not the world that points us to our failure, but a completely different process is taking place, to which the world in its objective reality, in general, has nothing to do. nine0003

Often a column is added to the same table with a “rule” that reinforces and concretes this process, that is, with an inner conviction that causes a specific automatic thought and a specific emotion. Phrases like “Good managers never quit” or “A good mother never gets tired of talking to a child” appear in the “Persuasion” column.

The diary of automatic thoughts can be twisted and turned in different ways, depending on the tasks: work with beliefs, gradually replacing them with more adequate ones, look for causes or patterns of different effects, see how certain emotions correlate with where or with whom you are spend time. nineSee also: 5 questions about OCD and obsessions emotion and the thought associated with it help in a moment of shame, fear or anger not to fall into the state of “I see the goal, I see no obstacles” and give an extra minute to think.

And a few more diary techniques worth mentioning:

Diary of gratitude, or Diary of good moments

It is suggested to write down in the evening 3-5 moments per day for which you are grateful: the world, specific people or yourself. I know people who regularly keep such notes and are very happy with them, but this technique has not taken root for me - just nothing has changed. But I have a jar: I throw little notes with pleasant moments into the jar and sort it out every six months. The bank is great. nine0003


A type of freewriting technique in which you have to write a list of 100 without stopping, criticizing yourself or editing ... For example, “100 of my strengths”, “100 things that could make me happy”, “100 my desires”, “100 ideas how I can improve my work”. The number 100 seems redundant, unattainably large, but this is the point: for the first 20-30 points you will write something standard and stereotypical, then another 20 points will suffer and squeeze out at least something, and then some kind of a secret door - and from there the funny, surprising, creative and truly important things will fall in different proportions. For lists, choose some supportive or creative topics. nine0003

Coping cards

This is not really a diary, and I will probably write a separate text about this, because it is important and very powerful. In a nutshell, at the moment of internal balance, you write yourself a “note” (I have such a note of 6 pages of text), in which you state everything that will help or support you during a crisis period. Because everything that seems obvious in a normal state (for example, that no difficult emotion can last forever, any crisis ends sooner or later), all this is lost somewhere and floats away if you dive into a black hole (anxiety, into a depressive episode or just into a strong procrastination - everyone has their own “black hole”). nine0003


It is probably worth emphasizing that any psychological exercise, including a regular diary or writing practice, can either improve or worsen your mood - therefore, my list should be taken as an invitation to careful experiments, and not as a guide to action for any state and context.

We also recommend reading: “Imagine...”: Rescripting and Other Imagination Techniques in Psychotherapy

Therapeutic diary according to the method of Ira Progoff (Kutuzova D.


Doctor Ira Progoff (Ira Progoff (2.08.1921 - 01.01.1998 ) , American social worker and psychotherapist, was a student K.G. Cabin boy. He called his approach "humanistic deep psychology." Progoff set himself the task of developing economical and effective method of psychological self-help and solved it by creating a "structured diary". The diary exercises serve as a support system for self-exploration, while strengthening the susceptibility to own "internal process" and occurs attunement to the dialogical dimension of life. Now intense Progoff's diary therapy is used in group and individual work with people going through life crises and transition periods. This method has been particularly useful in work with lonely, shy people, as well as with the sick, unemployed or incarcerated. nine0116

Regular diary

A huge number of people in different cultures, in different historical periods, at one time or another of their lives led a diary. An ordinary diary is a chronicle of external or internal events. In the latter case, there is a tendency to reflection, observations, fantasy images (sometimes). It's unstructured a diary, systematized either by dates or used "by intuition." People who tend to write a lot when left alone on one with an unstructured diary, start to repeat, and the circle in which they walk turns into a deep rut, from which is difficult to get out. nine0003

A diary is often kept by people striving to achieve a certain goals - especially if on the way to the goal they have to overcome difficulties. Then in the diary a person notes what wanted to achieve, what worked and what didn’t, what are the possible causes of difficulties and ways to overcome them. However, the estimated the nature of such a diary can exacerbate a person’s feelings of guilt for "failure". If the diary is to help a person achieve certain goal, then the very certainty of this goal limits the space of movement of the internal process, and hence the person. In this case, sooner or later the diary turns out to be abandoned, and a vacuum remains in its place in human experience. nine0116

Structured diary

Progoff experimented a lot in his therapeutic working with different forms of diary, and found that unstructured diary did not fulfill the tasks assigned to it functions - to serve as a reflective surface for the interior any person's process. How to make a diary worked independently of the therapist? The diary must have clear enough structure to be able to distinguish, describe and pass specific procedures. On the other hand, equally important so that this structure is in harmony with the natural flow human life, so that experiences do not have to be force squeeze into a diary format, like in a Procrustean bed. nine0003

Working with a diary as a method of psychological self-help comes out beyond the medical model of psychotherapy, does not require analysis and diagnoses. The diary becomes a kind of portfolio of personal and spiritual development, a reflective surface on which the form of subtle spiritual movements is manifested, and their specificity and direction become visible to the person. life events become connected with our values, intentions, desires, etc. in our time sequence preferred story. The events of the past are also reviewed. In the process of this work, additional meaning appears in life, "something more". A person is aware of what previously went out for him beyond the zone of proximal development, something that was not there before possible to know. This often manifests itself in various poetic forms. nine0116

Purposes of working with a diary

Starting to work with a diary, people achieve two goals: place the moment of the present in a broader perspective of the past and the future, and at the same time establish contact with the values meanings and guiding principles of our lives. Wherein, placing yourself in this way in relation to the flow of your life, mastering various techniques and techniques for working with a diary, people get a tool that they can use in the future. A broader, multidimensional perspective becomes available, opening up a space of possibilities. Positioning yourself in relation to their own lives, people note ups and downs, cycles, and it creates the context of a continuing identity, continuity of existence. nine0117 By working with the diary, each person can progress with at his own pace, at his own pace. Learning to work with diary, a person reviews his life history and establishes contact with the "inner movement of life" and adjusts itself to its harmony. The diary is a tool for harmonization of human life and tuning to its unique note. This tool is "sharpened" for everyone who uses it, it is discovering your own inner truth and attuning to it. The diary can become a companion, a portable alter ego. Relationship with the writer's diary is akin to the relationship of a musician with tool. It helps to make decisions in difficult life situations. nine0116

Working with a diary in a group

You can work with a diary in any life circumstances: alone and in a group, during turbulent periods of life and in relatively calm. Diary workshop is secure situation, protected from external pressures of the "peace for the walls of the room "in which a person can in a calm atmosphere look at your life. Effective seminar structuring allows you to highlight significant areas of life in a short time person. The presence at the seminar of other people who are also immersed into the study of one's own life, creates a special atmosphere concentration. Although the participants do not communicate, they receive special meaningful support from each other. This strengthens our an intuitive sense of the value, significance of any unique life. In this sense, the seminar is similar to a Buddhist retreat. When we we work with a diary in a group, there is a contact of lives common concentration, common tasks. nine0117 At the seminar, a person is in solitude, and at the same time his supports the atmosphere of the group, the feeling of the presence of other people. They do not interfere in what is happening, do not give interpretations. it a tradition of recognition that goes beyond the familiar and familiar. Silent witnessing can generate and accumulate energy, like prayer. During the seminar, an atmosphere is created somewhat solemn, soulful concentration, as in cathedral; this is facilitated by special exercises of the seminar. Exercises and atmosphere, supporting each other, set the pace and rhythm of this work. nine0117 Participants do not give each other advice. Their gift is much more meaningful is a gift of freedom and time. At the seminar, you can say but you can be silent. The choice of silence will be supported by the silent the witnessing of the group, as well as the choice of conversation. The opportunity to speak opens up for everyone in their own time. When a person is nervous and anxious, he cannot, being alone, in enough to focus on working with the diary. But the atmosphere of the group calms and helps to tune in. nine0117 There are things you can't talk about in a group because it's would be a violation of the right to privacy and personal secrecy of the person or other people. Some experiences are so fragile that are destroyed if you talk about them aloud. There is some things, to speak of which is to deviate from values ​​and guiding principles of one's own life.

Diary structure

The most important thing in a structured diary designed by Progoff, - non-linearity. The diary should be arranged in such a way that it was possible to freely add sheets to any section. Sections make up four so-called "dimensions":
1. Life time. This includes sections such as "Period of the present", "Record of the daily", "Events of life history", "Milestones", "Crossroads: roads chosen and not chosen", "Openness to the Future".
2. Dialogues. This dimension includes sections such as: "Dialogue with people", "Dialogue with projects", "Dialogue with the body", "Dialogue with events, situations and circumstances".
3. Character stream. In this dimension - sections "Record dreams", "Expansion of dreams", "Twilight images", "Extension of Images". nine0117 4. Impersonal meanings. In this dimension - sections "Dialogue with Society" and "Dialogue with Inner Wisdom".

Diary and work with life history

Attuning to their own unique pace and rhythm, people begin it is better to feel when in life it comes for them favorable moment. Keeping records changes something inside people may experience it as a breakthrough or release of something. This may seem strange at first because we tend to accustomed to much less flexibility in life. Life has become over the years it looks like densely packed soil that has not been loosened for a long time. Impressions fall on each other so quickly that we have neither time, no opportunity to reflect on their consequences, on the possibilities they could open up for us. We don't worry in its entirety, neither joy nor pain, we do not have time to take a position in relation to them, and from them the new does not have time to develop. nine0117 Working with the diary, we gradually loosen these caked layers. A new sense of space appears within us and softness, opening up new possibilities. We gain the ability to move more freely in our inner space, exploring the territories of memories and hopes, making our way to those corners experiences that we never had access to before.
In the end, all experience becomes available to us, like a kind soft soil, through which it is so pleasant to pass fingers, enjoying her touch. When we get that softness and openness to any internal experience, no external Circumstances can no longer throw us off course. In reaching This is what life history exercises help us with. nine0116

Time Stretch

Time stretching exercises are very useful for people going through a transition period in their lives. The notion of "time dilation" is based on fundamental difference between chronological time and quality time. Chronological time is objective sequence of events as they unfold for an outsider, an observer not emotionally involved in them. Quality time, on the other hand, is a subjective experience. events, their meaning and value for the person who is going through. nine0117 The most difficult time for a person is the transition between two big periods of life. When the former period has ended, and in the new a lot of uncertainty, it can be hard and even deadly. At this point it is very important to have a method in order to allow new life to line up in harmony with the rhythm and tone of internal mental movements.
Another difficult situation is when a person stands at a crossroads and must make a choice between two important directions, which simultaneously present in his life and already constitute its important part and much is required. It may seem that a person “got drunk”, but in such a situation he really experiences colossal tension. When working with a diary, if co-present more than one story, each of them will be given space to show the strength of their roots and show what possibilities it could open up. nine0117 Sometimes it is not a matter of choice or conflict of directions, but simply of change of accent, when the leading activity. As a rule, the so-called "new" direction in life, in fact, is not entirely new, it has prerequisites in a person's past experience, just events belonging to that direction, have not yet been in the focus of awareness. Before repressed history comes to the fore and becomes dominant. Sometimes the "new" protagonist wants to oppose the former. At some point, a person may learn to identify more with the wider and more dimensional aspect of oneself, and this allows one to accept the coexistence of different, sometimes contradictory, though equally preferred, protagonists. nine0116

Life time

When working with a diary, the “period” is placed in the center present." A person is asked to define the boundaries of that present time in which he lives: what event became the boundary between former life and present? What is the content of the current period life? What is its flow like? Period of the present viewed from both rational and non-rational points of view vision.
Further, the person keeping the diary is invited to keep parallel two processes: doing exercises in different sections and leading daily records of internal events and states. Exercises in sections are aimed at reconstructing life history, saturating its meaning, "population" by various significant people and figures, tracking possible directions of development in the past, present and the future. nine0117 Life history reconstructed by making a list stages-milestones, meaningfully leading to the period of the present, which serves as the climax of the story. Further details one of the stages containing a large semantic potential in the context of the present. Pop-up memories of past are recorded in the "Events of Life History" section, and possible directions of development, manifested in the points of choice, in section "Crossroads: roads selected and not selected".
Over time, a person's life situation changes, and he may highlight the "period of the present" anew and differently, and in accordance with this rewrite milestones. On the surface as meaningful can come out completely different periods and events. It gives a person direct experience of the polyhistoricity of life and the possibility rewrite your own life story. This is especially important when working with people who have had a traumatic experience. nine0116


The principle of dialogue is another important aspect of working with Progoff's structured diary. Very difficult in everyday life, as well as in emergency circumstances to preserve the tension of the dialogue between the two subjects. We are either ready turn into an object obedient to someone else's will, either oneself or Other (any aspect of our being, up to the World as a whole).
In the exercises of the diary, it is proposed to trace the life history with whom or with what we seek to enter into a dialogue: another person, our own body, some important for us project, etc. Next, a person tunes in to a meaningful the continuity of the course of this life story, and represents to himself his interlocutor as if present nearby. Between them there is a spontaneous dialogue that allows you to understand something new and important about your own life. nine0116

Character stream

When working with a structured diary, no life experiences are not ignored. In this dimension special attention is paid to the flow of dreams and fantasies. AND. Progoff proceeds from the consideration that the flow of images and symbols flows constantly, but during wakefulness it is hidden under the "layer" rational thinking. It is important not to interpret each specific dreams, but the movement of the flow of dreams. When people succeed compare the flow of events and experiences that occur during wakefulness, with a stream of dreams and fantasy images, possibilities of understanding open up, and the life process acquires multidimensionality. nine0117 Recording dreams and daydreams helps to move away from them, while giving them due attention. This approach is useful for working with people suffering from nightmares and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Impersonal meanings

Man in modern culture and in medical psychotherapeutic model is often constructed as a kind of isolated, autonomous "I", "from within" which occur personality traits, character traits and actions. Wherein ignores the fact that a person never exists in social vacuum, he is part of a community constructing meanings through language. Values, interests, intentions, principles and other intentional categories of human existence do not exist "inside" it, but in culture.

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