Dr. Vince Felitti and the roots of the ACE Study; Expressive writing; Interactive Journaling; Pen, pencil and paper planners
Dr. Felitti’s presentation
A couple of weeks ago an article by Sammy Caiola, Health Reporter for my local Sacramento Bee (SacBee) newspaper caught my eye. The headline read: “Is the pen still mightier? The pros and cons of loose leaf vs. laptop“.
Sammy’s SacBee article
Sammy talked about how “writing on paper has a long list of benefits that have largely been forgotten in the age of laptops, iPads and tablets…Journaling has been shown in multiple studies to improve aspects of mood and health, including reduced blood pressure and stress hormone levels, fewer physician visits, improved memory and better eye health.”
Use expressive writing and journaling in the treatment of trauma
Sammy interviewed Jan Haag, a professional creative writer and chair of the journalism department at Sacramento City College for the article. “Regardless of the medium, the most important thing is that people continue to write expressively in whatever way is comfortable…..That’s especially true for people who have experienced trauma, she said, which is why hospitals and therapy groups have long relied on journaling as a tool for coping with stress.”
“Talking about things is therapeutic and helpful, but writing about it and watching grief become art under your hands is a huge and inspiring feeling,” Haag said. “Translating that pain into art is one of the most important things. If nothing else, you’ve gotten it out of you and on the page so it’s not festering inside you. It’s the same thing with real joy.”
In the October 2010 edition of Tips & Topics, I excerpted a Wall Street Journal article by Gwendolyn Bounds: “How Handwriting Trains the Brain Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas”. (The Wall Street Journal. October 5, 2010.) She articulated how writing by hand is more than just communication. It engages the brain in learning and has a unique relationship with the brain in composing thoughts and ideas.
October 2010 edition
Use Interactive Journaling ® as an Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) to enhance person-centered change and trauma-informed care
“Interactive Journaling (IJ) as a clinical tool combines elements of bibliotherapy (the presentation of therapeutic material) with structured reflective writing” (Miller, 2014). Interactive Journaling is on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
In 2014, I wrote an article about Interactive Journaling ® (IJ) that explains how IJ finds the right balance of the structure of EBP with the central importance of the therapeutic alliance to enhance positive self-change.
Interactive Journaling article
In the May 2014 edition of Tips & Topics, Interactive Journaling ® was the focus and how to use IJ in Impaired Driving classes, addiction treatment and mental health settings, as well as with criminal justice populations.
May 2014 edition
For trauma related Journals, here are what The Change Companies has for your consideration:
* “Trauma in Life – Women”: Trauma in Life Journal
* “Traumatic Stress & Resilience – Men”: Traumatic Stress & Resilience – Men
* “Perspective” (Claudia Black):
* “VOICES” (Stephanie Covington):
* The MEE Journal System – the practice of Interactive Journaling® is supportive of trauma informed care in many aspects, including IJ’s reinforcement of personal empowerment and its ability to provide a safe vehicle for communication and self-expression.
MEE Journal System
We use journaling in two ways:
1. BE WELL
We use My Personal Health Journal to enhance students’ ability to make positive, lasting change in their own wellness.
Journaling corresponds to four (physical, nutritional, financial, and emotional wellness) of the ten units on wellness in the online component of the course. For each of the four units, students complete all the activities in the journal on their own and then participate in online discussions with other students about their journaling experience.
Survey Question #1
In a recent survey, we asked students to rate the value of journaling in their own lives. The results were overwhelmingly positive. (See next page for survey results.)
In response to the following questions, “What would you tell people about what you got out of journaling, or the potential benefits they may get out of it,” students reported the following:
Results on Question #1
* “I would tell them that it was a life changer and I feel better as a person now.”
* “Journaling helps you put your thoughts into words, helps you think through the options you have/options you can create for yourself, and it makes it nice to see everything laid out in front of your eyes.”
* “I would tell them that I learned that small steps can have a big impact. For example, every time I pass my locker, I take a deep breath. This helps me de-stress throughout the day.”
* “I would tell them that awareness is everything in accomplishing their goals and this program definitely fosters awareness.”
* “I learned that change doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be easy if you incorporate making changes into your daily life.”
2. DO WELL
The second way we use journaling is to train students to lead group journaling sessions. Students are trained through live skills practice and rehearsal (“real play”) during weekly teleconferences.
Our graduates lead “Journal Clubs” using My Personal Health Journal and several titles from the “Keep It Direct and Simple” series in a variety of settings, including houses of worship, high schools, and public-health agencies.
Survey Question #2
Please rate (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree) the impact of journaling on your self-change process.
1. “Helped me think about my overall wellness.”
2. “Gave me valuable insights into the self-change process.”
3. “Enabled me to set goals that are important to me.”
4. “Gave me new strategies to help support behavior changes I wanted to make.”
5. “Helped me appreciate how small steps can lead to big changes.”
6. “Led me to make behavior changes that have “stuck.”
7. “Overall, I found interactive journaling helpful.”
On average, participants endorsed a level of agreement that favored the “strongly agree” side of the scale.
Here is the latest information on IWE’s wellness coaching courses
Institute for Wellness Education – Wellness Coaching
|My trusty weekly planner|
Here are a few reasons I like to write with my pen or pencil in my paper planner:
- I like to use a pencil for tentative appointments rather than writing in pen. I can immediately see it is a tentative appointment waiting confirmation. (I know, I could type in a digital calendar in a different font or color to indicate a tentative appointment, but how is that any less work than just using my pencil?)
- When I am on the phone planning an appointment, I can keep talking while I grab my planner and leaf though the pages of weeks looking for an open spot. No need to place my cell phone on speaker mode while opening the digital calendar, swiping through the weeks to find a date and time. Just see-at-a-glance while talking.
- If I want to check back on what airport or airline I used for the same location six months ago or even last year; and which hotel I stayed at, all that is right on the page to see. I know I could copy and paste that information into the digital calendar too, but I think the time to do that is not much different; and I think, harder to retrieve quickly.
|Pen, pencil, planner|
When it comes to “To Do” lists, no Wunderlist or digital reminder apps for me. I have a page in my pocket paper planner to write on my “To Do” list as tasks arise. Then from that general list I make my daily list of things to do specifically that day. It is such a satisfying feeling to take my pen and scratch out each task as it is done.