I Replaced My Therapist With A Journal
Therapists are often helpful and necessary ‘editors of our story.’ They encourage and lead us to find the keys to the doors we have kept shut for so long due to trauma, emotional turmoil, and related repercussions. Therapists will question the existing story you tell yourself and will encourage a new frame of reference. For many, they are an integral part of a person’s journey to self-acceptance and healing; however, each experience is unique and mine is no different.
I found this healing in solo practices
I grew up in a pretty complicated household; My parents were navigating a long-distance relationship as a result of my dad’s work, my sister and I butted heads on a regular basis, I had very few friends, an acute cutting addiction, and my mind needed a little work (to put it mildly). My parents took the generic approach of enrolling my sister and I into family counseling, complemented by a few one-on-one sessions throughout the week. I spent hours in front of a stranger, who I wasn’t convinced cared, and was pressed to break the walls I had so meticulously built up around me.
I had trauma to address and it seemed everyone knew this but me — trauma I have yet to recall in some aspects.
I remember the majority of my sessions would consist of me staring blankly into the face of the therapist, she asking me a question, and I — remaining silent. She would say things like, “You need to talk about it. It’s okay to talk about it” and I would purse my lips even tighter at her remark. I avoided opening up at all costs and would take to my notebook the moment I crossed the threshold of my bedroom door when I returned home.
The more I went, the less I spoke, and the deeper the words in my journal became.
For years, I would take the same approach to sessions and each time I grew less convinced that she was there for me. I realized that the more I wrote without the feedback of others, the easier it became to make sense of the way I was feeling. I would write about things I hadn’t been able to recollect until I felt it being drug out of me by a complete stranger. I would work off of the frustration and rebellion I experienced each time I would choose silence over answers.
I began this process as a child and have carried it into adulthood. By this point, the words flow so freely from my mind to my fingertips that I rarely keep at the pace of its creation. It isn’t until my entry has reached completion that I will go back and re-read the thoughts my subconscious was eager to get out.
In my writing, I have found clarity and opportunities for further searching. If each of us set aside a few moments at the end of every day to jot down the events, the emotion impact, and the response our best self desires to give, we can find growth. I am a believer in my decision to negate the standard for therapy in order to carve out my own niche way of finding progression and to this day, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
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