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Can you push journaling too far?

GammaRay

Learning
Really needing a therapist lately, but unable to find one who takes my insurance and offers in-person sessions. So I turned to journaling the last couple of nights. While doing it, I felt like I was unwinding some coils and breathing a bit easier. You know it - the processing feeling. Then last night I described something particularly traumatic in my journal (my computer monitor, actually). I just wrote out a few sentences about it, delineating the facts, words, actions, people involved. It's been intruding into my thoughts a lot, so I wanted to see what would happen if I journaled about it.

So today, I've been feeling a little more stressed than usual. Like some things got shaken up and agitated in there. Now I'm wondering if I should stay the course and keep journaling or not. I know dwelling and reliving is potentially retraumatizing on the one hand, but holding it in when you feel the urge to purge isn't helpful either. Hard to know where to draw the line, I guess. Any methods to make journaling more like purging and less like dwelling/driving it in? Is audio journaling preferable to writing? Anyone tried video or other types?
 
is there anything in this world that can't be carried to unhealthy extremes? in my own case, using my journal as an excuse to isolate is my most common abuse of this elegant and effective tool. as great a tool as jounaling can be, it is no substitusky for a healthy therapy network, both pro and peer. when i am in need of a pro and unable to find one, my peer support network (support groups,etc.) serves as a stabilizer to get me through the stress of searching and waiting.
 
What I'm trying to understand is: how does writing something in a journal compare to saying it to a therapist? Is saying it to a therapist less likely to be triggering or retraumatizing? The reverse? Is there any way to make journaling more purgative and healing and less painful or agitating?
 
So today, I've been feeling a little more stressed than usual. Like some things got shaken up and agitated in there. Now I'm wondering if I should stay the course and keep journaling or not. I know dwelling and reliving is potentially retraumatizing on the one hand, but holding it in when you feel the urge to purge isn't helpful either. Hard to know where to draw the line, I guess.
There is really no difference in the act, the difference is the reflection. A therapist is there to provide the other side to what you write. Journaling needs comments, which is why this place exists, so you journal and bounce things off of other people.

Writing about your trauma will cause symptoms. Going to therapy and talking about it will cause symptoms. The key to all of this is that you have to break down the events and impact to reality, the other side of the equation that your brain isn't looking at.

This is why I say to people to buy a really good CBT book, read it and work through it, as it teaches you exactly these skills to self-help. It helps you be the patient and therapist, then you bounce things around here with others for thoughts and experience. Ask for the tough stuff from people, not the warm fuzzy polite answers... the stuff most people don't want to hear, but maybe need to hear it, just to help themselves find the tough answers and solutions.

Example: when I help someone, bouncing things around with them, I try to piss them off as much as possible to get them thinking about things. Anger often produces great internal reflection, especially days or weeks later.
 
The difference is potentially less in what you’re writing about, and more about the other stuff that a therapist is going to do to help you cope with what you’re processing.

Yes, a T is going to help you think about stuff in ways that you won’t think of yourself, to help you process things in a particular way. And that will vary based on the type of therapy they do with you.

But all trauma-specialised Ts are going to do a massive portion of non-processing stuff with you. To help you cope with the emotional fallout, to help you get on and function (and ultimately, function better) in the acupuncture world you live in.

One of the big misconceptions about trauma therapy and recovery is it’s all about the trauma. Revisiting the trauma, and putting it behind us both cognitively and emotionally.

Actually, trauma therapy is largely about symptoms. And while processing trauma is helpful and important, it’s only one part of a much bigger picture of what recovery involves. Coping with distress, and managing symptoms, that cause us distress and problems functioning, is caused by a traumatic event(s), but the recovery from it is very often in other skills that have little (or nothing) to do with trauma at all.
 
This is why I say to people to buy a really good CBT book
I've come to think CBT isn't the modality for me. I just can't seem to talk or rationalize my way to feeling better.

Coping with distress, and managing symptoms, that cause us distress and problems functioning, is caused by a traumatic event(s), but the recovery from it is very often in other skills that have little (or nothing) to do with trauma at all.
This is the kind of thing I hate hearing, but I suppose you're right. I want to pull the trauma out by its roots somehow. I guess I haven't found coping to be all that helpful. For eg., I haven't found a way to simply switch off intrusive, obsessive thoughts when I need to.
 
The AI might help fill the void of a T, try journaling there.

For me writing is easier than talking to my T and the AI is easier too though sometimes I have to weed through a lot of crud to get through the AIs recursiveness.
 
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