September 21, 2017

Reflection, what do we do with our journal entries after you write them?

In the book Expressive Writing, edited by Kathleen Adams, she discusses how to use a “reflection write” principle for your journal entries.

English: Upper Yosemite fall with reflection

English: Upper Yosemite fall with reflection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In her therapy practice, Kathleen uses a technique she calls “reflection”¬† which is used after her patients journal about a particular problem they are facing. Her instructions for “reflection” are: “reread what you have written, and pay attention to what you notice, or what surprises you, stands out for you, suddenly makes sense, or is something you didn’t know you knew.” Then write about the reflection.

She goes on to emphasize the great value of the “reflection write.” She stated that “the insight, awareness and cognitive shift from the (journal) write itself are amplified, multiplied, synthesized and codified in the reflection write.

So, when you journal, either privately or in dialogue with your journaling partner, consider using a reflection write to enhance your total experience.

 

 

 

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Private vs. Dialog Journaling

Should your journaling be private (for your eye only) or shared with another trusted friend or reader (dialog)? How does the feedback loop¬† work in either case?…

 

Feedback loop

Feedback loop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have struggled with the reasons for keeping your journal private vs. sharing with someone who will keep your confidence and give you feedback. I much prefer to do my journaling in a dialog fashion so as to get the feedback from the reader. I am reading a new book “Expressive Writing” edited by Kathleen Adams. This is what one of the book’s authors says about private vs. public journaling.

 

“What is absolutely essential to me (and I believe, to most journal writers) is that my journal is private………If I think someone will find what I write and read it, they become an intuited audience and constrain my expression…… With this understanding (of privacy) comes a kind of freedom that is both liberating and essential to expression itself. I can write whatever I like just to see what’s on my mind.”

 

I agree with the author that private journaling certainly can result in a more unrestrained writing. For some, maybe most, journalers, this will provide a very meaningful journaling experience. However, feedback is limited to only the reader going back and trying to make sense of what he/she is written.

 

A great benefit of “dialog journaling is the feedback the journaler gets from the dialog partner. So, how do you maximize the feedback from private journaling?

One idea the author has is “Later (after the private writing), when mining my journal for bits useful to others, I might reshape the material for a public audience of readers…….”

So, following up private journaling with repurposing some of the content for an audience might give you the best of both worlds, public and dialog. More on this on a followup post on reflection.

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