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Someone named Anonymous wrote in with a great question. (By the way, who names their kid “Anonymous”?!!)
Anonymous asked, “Should I let my therapist read my journal?”
In this letter, Anonymous explains s/he is working through some difficult issues that stem from past experiences, and is considering bringing a four-year old journal, bearing raw, triggering memories, into the therapy session so his/her therapist can read.
Which is more important: to re-hash four-year-old thoughts and feelings of past events, or to detach from their grip, and use a new journal to write and explore the thoughts and feelings from the current (hopefully more mature) perspective? Which is safer? Which will provide the best healing? Certainly many factors are at play, for which we have no information from this question. And there’s a lot that we don’t know about Anonymous’ situation. While neither Mari nor I are therapists ourselves, we offer advice to trust his/her instinct, and face the past when ready.
Please join the dialogue: Under what circumstances would you read painful journal entries to your therapist? If you are a therapist, would you recommend that your client bring old journals into the session to re-live a past trauma? Post comments (on our website’s comments section).
If you are receiving this in email format, you may also reply with your own journaling questions to be featured on a future episode of JournalTalk. Or, please call and leave a voicemail with your question at 1-805-751-6280 (only normal toll charges may apply). If your question is featured, we will send you a thank-you gift for sharing your voice! (JournalTalk Q&A, Episode #13, October 7, 2014)
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Voiceover: Thomas Gerrard
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Nathan, what an intriguing question posed by Anonymous that Mari and you discuss–whether to share your journal with a therapist. Your suggestion to use your own intuition in this matter (“Take a cue from within”) is right on target. I’ve found, personally, that when I read my journal to a therapist outloud, it feels safer than simply giving it to them to read. Keep up the good work, Nathan!
I have been keeping a journal for years and always share it with my therapist whom i trust. I would never share the contents with anyone else except him. My journal is like an extension of him when i am not in therapy but need someone to talk to.