Therapeutic Journaling Therapy for Preteens—
Journaling, for many people, is as personal and therapeutic as lying on a couch and talking to a therapist for hours. Once the pen starts gliding over the paper, the mind starts to dig deeper and deeper into thoughts, memories, dreams, curiosities, and fears that are far from the surface of the mind. This is why many journal keepers are often surprised at what comes out during some writing sessions. This therapeutic nature is what makes journaling so important.
The preteen years can be a volatile confusing point in a child’s development and some children, sadly, do not have adults that they trust enough to open up to and ask for help. These children keep a lot in and stuffed down, which can cause a lot of anguish and hardship that could be avoided if a child just had some way of digging deeper into their own minds, their own dreams, and their own ambitions.
Keeping a journal is a powerful therapeutic tool. It can become even more powerful when journal entries are shared with others a child trusts. Young journalers can help one another through problems and learn to become better at journaling when they share their journaling endeavors with one another or perhaps with a trustworthy, caring adult mentor. Of course, for some kids, the thought of shared journaling just isn’t a comfortable idea, and in this case, the child should definitely be encouraged to keep a solitary, private journal.
Tips on How to Journal for Therapy
Parents and teachers can bring journaling into the lives of youngsters quite easily. Here are some basic tips to help you get the child in your life started with some type of a therapeutic journaling program.
How to Journal for Therapy Tip #1 — Make all needed supplies readily available so kids do not have any obstacles to getting started with their journaling. The basic supplies include ink pens or pencils and some form of notebook or paper pad. Be sure to provide creative supplies for those with a more artist flare.
Therapy Journal Tip #2 — Many people who enjoy journaling feel more comfortable with a specific type of notebook or special journaling book. If you have the ability to let your child select their own journal, they just might take to regular journal keeping more quickly.
Tip #3 — Journal keeping doesn’t require any specific format. Simply encourage your child to start writing whatever is on their mind. If they write in one block of text or many paragraphs, cursive or print, none of it matters. They just need to get comfortable opening up in their journal writings.
Tip #4 — Set a timer and encourage your kid to keep their pen or pencil moving until it goes off. Start with 10 or 15 minutes and increase the time as your child become more comfortable with their journaling. Longer sessions will allow deeper processing of their thoughts on the page.
Tip #5 — Make sure your child knows they can always choose to keep their journal entries private. One idea is to have them fold the private pages in half inside their journals, so they can be flipped past without seeing the page. This sense of privacy will help them unveil the more pressing issues on their mind. Even if no one else ever reads it or helps them, they will get it off their chest just writing it out.
Journal for Therapy Writing Prompt Ideas
Share this list of writing therapy ideas with your beloved child and help her gain the benefits of journal keeping for self-therapy.
- What are you struggling with right now?
- Is there anything you could do to eliminate one or more of these challenges?
- What does help with this issue look like to you?
- How do you feel today on a scale of 1 – 10 and why?
- How do you practice self-care of yourself on a daily basis?
- What does it mean for you to have a “safe space”? How could this be beneficial to your mental health?
- What thoughts are the loudest in your mind right now? Which ones are the quietest? What does this tell you about yourself?
- List 5 things you love about yourself.
- List 5 things you love about someone you love.
- What can you do today to help improve your mood and make yourself feel better?
Journal keeping is a great self-care therapy tool for kids in our modern, high-tech, low-touch society. It is also a fabulous tool to help kids deal and process problems and issues they may not want to talk to others about. Therapeutic journaling might also become the doorway that allows your child to talk about pressing issues because, for some children, it may be easier to show their journal page to a trusted adult than it is to speak their thoughts and feelings out loud.
Until next time, write on…
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