BALDWINSVILLE — Writing has long been considered a healthy way to work through difficult feelings and experiences. Therapists suggest journaling, telling a story or just plain freeform writing can help you understand whatever you are struggling with.
You might be saying that writing about your situation is difficult or you do not see yourself as a writer. You can express yourself in print as if you were talking to a friend to help to soften the intimidation. This writing is not meant to be published, it is meant for you to walk through the experience and learn from it in a way that is not threatening.
The American Psychological Association suggests that there are physical benefits to expressing yourself through writing. Research psychologists James Pennebaker, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin and Joshua Smyth, PhD, of Syracuse University have studied patients with terminal illnesses or chronic pain and have found that writing about the experience helps build up immune functioning, contributing to wellness.
The key to writing for therapy is to use the experience of writing to learn from it. In other words, just writing down how you feel is not going to necessarily help but understanding more about yourself and what you are going through can be the most beneficial because it can help you organize and compartmentalize your experience.
To read more about the benefits of therapeutic writing, search using terms like healing writing or therapeutic writing. The American Psychological Association article will pop up in the first few results.
We have books at the library that can guide you into writing for therapy like “Writing from the Heart: Tapping into the Power of Your Inner Voice” by Nancy Slonim Aronie and “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” by Diana Raab.
Others include examples from bestselling authors who have written about their own lives and how it helped them. “The Comfort Book” by bestselling author Matt Haig reveals difficult and enduring truths he found in writing. Jami Attenberg wrote about how writing saved her life in her memoir, “I Came All This Way to Meet You.”
There are writing groups all over Central New York and there is bound to be one just right for you. Baldwinsville Public Library has a supportive writing group that meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on Zoom. They discuss not only the particulars of writing but also what makes it difficult to write. Contact the library or check the library calendar to register. All are welcome from teens on up!
The Baldwinsville Public Library is located at 33 E. Genesee St. in the village of Baldwinsville. To learn more or to register for programs, visit bville.lib.ny.us or call 315-635-5631.