When I was in graduate school in the university, my clinical psychology professor required the students to keep and submit a personal journal. Every two or three weeks, she’d read her students’ journals and jot down her comments on them. With such interaction with the professor through my journal, I received academic and personal support.
That time in my life, little did I realize that this journal which I wrote for that academic course will become a most effective method of self-analysis for me in discovering some hidden parts of my self. The exercise of journal keeping helped me discover the totality of my personality as I developed clinical therapy skills and counsel my self to become more personally and professionally effective.
A number of literary giants, including Albert Camus, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, among others, kept journals as a way to maintain their “sanity.” Psychologist Dr. Carl Jung was the first to recognize the merits of the diary in therapy and counseling. For Dr. Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, his journal becomes a place for him to pour out his heart. It’s a place for exploring his hidden motives, unconscious desires, and unprocessed pains.
Indeed, aside from a therapist, friends, or family, the journal can be a comparable source of support for our healing and growth. We all need a place we can go to cleanse ourselves, to talk through our wounds or issues, and to get our mental and emotional functioning tuned up. The journal allows us to do these for our selves.