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Sharing Your Personal Journal/diaries With Therapist


HRiddle

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Has anyone done this before? Is it to be recommended or avoided?

My therapist asked me to keep a journal as a coping method during my worst episode. I did so and recorded most of my feelings and thoughts at that time (but there isn't anything about real life happenings). My therapist hasn't asked for it yet. I'm sure nobody would force me to share it and the decision would eventually be mine. From my perspective the journal is a valuable document--I did a good job keeping an honest record of my mood and it's probably easy to see patterns over time. It also helps me remember what exactly happened since I tend to forget once I'm out of it. However, I have a lot of concerns about sharing because--well, it's very personally and contains much more than what I've told my therapist in session. There are parts that could easily be interpreted as suicidal, even though I didn't mean it (written words can be interpreted quite liberally). Furthermore, my handwriting is not very pretty, the writing is disorganized and intensely awkward. I tend to write flowery prose and it embarrasses me. I think my therapist will never look at me the same after reading it--and I will probably be too embarrassed to go to therapy again...That said, I do want my therapist to understand what went on exactly and help me efficiently and effectively.

If you have ever shared your diaries with your therapist, would you mind sharing your experience? I don't even know if it's a therapist's job to read diaries--it's like giving them after-hour assignment... I also don't know how the privacy policy works. When it comes to written things I'm not that trusting..

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Hi HRiddle,

I think journaling is an excellent way to share one's feelings; it is very cathartic. I tend to write in a similar prose style, and I have shared my work with my therapist. It will always be your decision whether or not you want to share, but I'm sure your therapist would be more than happy to listen. I would bet that your therapist wouldn't want to take your writing and read it at home, but would have you read it to him/her. My writing tends to delve deeper than I would typically go in my sessions, but I think that's why it is so important. In our own unique ways, we can convey emotions in therapy that would otherwise be ignored or compartmentalized. Sharing with your therapist would be a great way to give the session direction and focus on the things that are in the forefront of your thoughts. You do not have to worry about your therapist thinking you are suicidal; I'm sure he/she knows how you really feel, and the session will give you time to touch on these areas of your writing, allowing you to explain the emotions that you have put into words. I recommend taking it into consideration. I would be willing to bet that your therapist would be thrilled to hear your writing.

Let us know what you decide!

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I have read parts of mine to my Therapist in the past, but I decided what and when I share, she never asked to see it, or tried to make me read more then I was willing. sometimes its a good way to tell them what you can't seem to get out otherways in the sesion.

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I am also not that trusting. I would never show my therapist my journal.

My journal is way too personal, and I want to be able to write whatever I am feeling, no matter how emotionally raw it may be.

I pour my heart and soul into my journal, and it is way too personal to share with a therapist that I don't even trust.

I have serious trust issues. And I like my privacy.

Edited by AquaViolet
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The new Therapist asked me if I was keeping one. In the past I've steered crisis workers and pdocs to this site when asked if I was keeping notes on how I was doing. My personal journal-the hand written one-was ripped off a few months ago so I'm going to stick with an online blog.

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Thanks you all for your responses! The idea of reading it aloud in session is kind of frightening. I always have a huge problem reading my own writing to other people, and I'm not sure why. Saying things (even if it's reading) is always harder for me than writing. I may have to find a way to get around it...

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  • 2 months later...

Frequently when I'm having a really bad emotional spell, I can write it all out much better than I could ever talk about it in therapy. My therapist is pretty awesome, and we have this agreement that if I write something out like a journal entry that would be benificial to talk about in therapy, but would have a hard time bringing up, I just type up the journal entry and email it to him a few days before the appointment. He reads it, and we when I get there we don't waste anytime getting down to buisness. I like that arrangment - its easier for me to show him my journal than to have to bring things up seemingly out of no where.

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  • 10 years later...

New to a forum like this. I have been journaling consistently for several months and sending my weekly writing to my therapist which has really helped our work together tremendously. We do not rehash details but it has been a space to give the part of me that would not be able to share a voice. It also helps that my therapist has a clue of what my struggles are from emotions I have, to flashbacks, my anxiety, my harsh self talk  and everything that goes into my moodiness. I have committed to sharing and I have the choice to change that. She makes a point to to thank me and those parts of me that allow for the journal to be written and for me to share it. It has been really important for me to really trust. I am fortunate to have a therapist who has been so supportive in the process. I am in a much better space to be able to address my mental health struggles. It took a big step to share week one and sometimes it is easier than other times. 

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