Janet and Nathan

Q&A: “(How) Do You Ask People to Share Their Journal Writing?”

Janet and NathanLeslie, a friend and co-facilitator of journaling workshops in Thousand Oaks, California asks, “When leading a journal workshop, should you read your own private journal as a way to invite others to share their own writing?”

A journal-writing workshop is an ideal place to discuss the context and content of your own journal. On one hand, it’s engaging for the participants when you are vulnerable yourself; it provides a real-life example; and it contributes to creating a safe space for connection through sharing. On the other hand, “oversharing” could trigger unexpected or undesired reactions from the students, derailing the intention of the course.

Janet “Wizzy” Wiszowaty of Family Connekt is my co-host this episode. We share our tips, resources and personal examples about encouraging people to share, without letting people’s personal issues overshadow the content of the course.

Your turn to answer: Are you a learning to become a journaling facilitator? Do you read your own journals to people in your workshops? If you are an experienced facilitator, what are some other ways that you encourage participants to share their writing, without risking the course turning into a “therapy circle”?  Please post your responses at the bottom of this webpage, in the comments section.

You may email your own journaling question to be featured on a future episode of JournalTalk. Or, pick up the telephone and leave a voicemail with your question at 1-805-751-6280. When your question is featured, we will send you a thank-you gift for sharing your voice! (JournalTalk Q&A, Episode #37, January 19, 2016)

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2 thoughts on “Q&A: “(How) Do You Ask People to Share Their Journal Writing?”

  1. Denise K

    Great topic Nathan:
    As a facilitator, I know that people do benefit from examples and I do sometimes read examples from my own journals. I’m a very private person and it’s natural for me not to share the highly emotional, sensitive or confidential entries that might make others uncomfortable or set the stage for an “overshare”. I like the approach of closing every new teaching session with a “reflection write” (Kay Adams style) and then encouraging people to share about the process of writing, or about what they learned or discovered while writing. That works remarkably well and deepens the learning experience. i look forward to what works for others. Thanks.

    1. Nathan Ohren Post author

      Dear Denise; thank you for this comment and reminder about the “reflection write,” which always seems to work as a great ice-breaker and also has the benefit of allowing people to share what they got from the exercise, a slight distance away from the raw journaling material itself. Warmest regards and thanks for listening!


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