Using Writing as a Therapeutic Outlet


Recovery is a complicated journey, and each person will have their own best practices when it comes to processing emotions and expectations throughout the process. There are a plethora of strategies that each individual can explore.

One potent option can include using writing therapy as an emotional outlet to provide an individual with a unique perspective when processing their feelings and gauging progress towards set goals. Even within writing therapy, there are many different ways each person can approach their written outlets. Different forms and intents behind one’s writing can provide a myriad of purposes across one’s recovery journey.

What Is Writing Therapy?

Writing therapy is a common practice across many different therapeutic modalities. Anyone can find use in the practice for coping with anxiety, panic, and depression, along with navigating the complex world of addiction recovery, with many other uses in between. Because of its ubiquitous nature and malleable form, it is a common and accessible type of therapy that allows writers to personalize their approach. In this way, it is possible to create an opportunity for each individual to process their own emotions, successes, and struggles in a unique way.

With the variety of writing forms available, there is always something new to try when it comes to writing therapy. These different forms can provide similar benefits while creating a personally impactful engagement of the practice.

While many may find benefit and joy in approaching writing therapy through journaling, others may instead gear towards creative writing pieces like short stories, poems, or novels. Some may approach a non-fiction work about their past to better explore their sober journey and contextualize their sober accomplishments. Regardless of how one engages with writing as a therapeutic outlet, its benefits can be felt.

Journaling as a Practice

Journaling is a common practice and a great emotional outlet for those beginning to process their feelings and concerns while simultaneously documenting their successes. There is no set amount that an individual has to write each day to make an effective journal.

Yet, the option of having a safe, personal space where one can put one’s thoughts to paper without worrying about it being read or critiqued can provide a sense of security. This safe space allows one to safely record feelings, vulnerabilities, or concerns, allowing one to process these emotions rather than bottling them up in the back of one’s mind.

Likewise, the tumultuous nature of recovery can make one’s thoughts seem jumbled or messy. It can be difficult to organize one’s thinking while under the duress of anxiety, depression, or the stress of daily life. Journaling, even as a stream of consciousness, can allow an individual to give these thoughts a more concrete form. This provides a way to begin working through these overwhelming feelings in a more structured manner.

Giving Form to Emotions

Writing also allows for complete creative expression, allowing for unique methods of communication. While finding the words to describe one’s feelings can be difficult, taking a creative approach can give these emotions a tangible form. Writing a short piece of fiction can allow these emotions to instead embody a character, or even become a character or environmental aspect themselves.

One’s anxiety personified in fiction, one’s feelings of isolation birthed into a desolate city setting, or one’s doubt or anger created into a literary monster can all be ways to give these complex emotions form. This approach also allows an individual to further separate themselves from these feelings. This can create distance and give an individual a better way to refer to these emotions and process them in a safe and effective way.

Editing Intentions

Managing one’s emotions is a delicate practice, and writing can allow an individual to edit one’s jumbled thoughts ahead of time. Practicing writing, in whatever form one may prefer, can allow an individual to choose the correct words and tone in which they want to communicate before talking with friends, family, or supports. This ensures that one’s intentions are described to the best of their ability and promotes effective communication skills.

Writing can not only just help an individual eliminate uncertainty or ambiguity in one’s own thoughts. It can also help them communicate more effectively to ensure one’s exact needs and goals are conveyed.

Looking Back on Success and Struggle

Writing and creating one’s own works also acts as a roadmap of one’s accomplishments throughout recovery. Being able to look back on the stresses they have overcome or the skills they developed can contextualize their later successes.

Recovery is an ongoing process. Therefore, stress and doubt can resurface at any point in one’s continued recovery. Having a document of one’s success can be the positive reinforcement needed to empower each individual to see themselves in a fair light for the accomplishments made in their continued journey.

Writing is just one way you can begin to explore your complex journey in recovery, and we at Avalon Malibu are prepared to introduce you to the transformative potential of its practice. Located in Malibu, California, we understand the need to explore as many recovery options as possible to help you create your own core set of best practices and recovery skills. Using the unique healing potential of writing is just the first way in which we can help you in your journey. Your time with us across detox, residential, partial hospitalization, or outpatient care can be customized with a myriad of other practices, from yoga and mindfulness to art, music, massage, and much more, all backed by a supportive community and safe atmosphere. For more information on how we can help you or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (844) 857-5992.

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