Tag Archive | center for journal therapy

Meet the Author Interview with Kathleen Adams


“Ms. Heddy Through it All” Chapter 5 How Sweet It Is


The smell of bacon, and fried potatoes and onions came up through the vents and cracks waking me up early the next morning. Janet had come home and was cooking breakfast. I was so happy to see her. She stood about 4’9” inches tall and was spunky.  She’d tackle anybody no matter how big they were. She’d say the bigger they are the harder they fall. Janet wore her dark brown hair in a short bob with a bang combed to the side. She had a pair of gorgeous round brown eyes that she used when expressing her thoughts and feelings. I remember her favorite phrase was “Nigga Please” The way she said it made me crack up—it was so funny. Janet was frank she called a spade a spade and walked with plenty of self-confidence and pride. And I loved her like a big sister.

After eating the kids went outside to play. Janet washed the dishes and I dried them and put each plate carefully in the cabinet above the counter. I knew Leon was coming over again that night; I had to tell her that I had met a boy. So, I told her about Leon and how we had met in the park and asked if he could come over. Janet stood at the kitchen sink washing the pots and pans and asking me a zillion questions like:

“Where does he live, Heddy?”

“He lives over by the park on Columbus.” I wiped the table with the wet dish cloth that was on the kitchen counter and sat down at the table.

“Where does he go to school?”

I was getting more and more uncomfortable with every question. I rested my elbows on the table and put my head on my hand; then I looked up at her.

“He goes to Garfield High School.” Janet returned the plastic milk carton to the refrigerator.

“Where did you say you met him?” she asked.

“I met him at the park down the street.”

“Who are his parents?”

“I don’t know his parents.” I knew I didn’t have all the answers. Actually, I didn’t know much about him at all. I guess I was too busy looking at him and wasn’t paying attention when he was telling me about himself. Janet turned and looked me in the eye.

“Heddy, I’ll have to know more about him before he can visit.”

I didn’t tell her that he had been over many times to visit. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to have company, but I should have known. Mama never let me have company unless she was there watching every move and listening to every word like a hawk.

“He’s a really nice guy, Janet.”

“I’m sure he is, Heddy, but I need to know more about him.” She walked out of the kitchen heading towards the upstairs.

Later that day after calling around and doing some checking, Janet finally said he could come over. It was still daylight when the door bell rang early that evening. It was Leon, I ran to the door. He was wearing a black waist length leather jacket and black pants. I could smell his cologne before I reached the door. I guess black was his favorite color. He looked so handsome standing there smiling at me. A white two door Pontiac Grand Prix,  parked in front of the house waited with the motor running.

“Hi, Angel, I came to let you know, I can’t come over tonight. I’ve got to go to Cleveland, but I promise I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” I was sadly disappointed I had spent half of the day trying to convince Janet to let him come over. The other half I spent hoping and praying that she would say yes. Just when she agrees to let him come over—he has to go to Cleveland! I couldn’t believe this was happening. I stood there stunned and paralyzed from the mouth down.

He gave a slight grin and waited for my response, but I just looked at him and said; “Oh, okay.” Yes, I was disappointed, but what could I say? I had a bad feeling, as I watched him step off of the porch, walk down the sidewalk, get into that Grand Prix, and ride off. I watched him until I couldn’t see him anymore.

Benefits of Expressive Writing

Cases of PTSD and Severe Depression Among U.S....

Cases of PTSD and Severe Depression Among U.S. Veterans Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan Between Oct 2001 and Oct 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Expressive Writing

Expressive writing has long been used as a preventative tool to wellness it has positive and healing effects on an individuals’ physical and mental health. For writing to be therapeutic, participants must be willing to write openly about their thoughts, emotions and experiences. This allows them to bear witness to their story, reflect on their experiences and explore their thoughts and emotions.

Twenty plus years of research have found that expressive writing…

  • Increases the immune system’s functioning
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Normalizes sleep and eating habits
  • Reduces symptoms of a chronic illness
  • Improves one’s memory
  • Decreases feelings of anxiety, anger and depression

Writing in a journal is a powerful means for personal growth, self-discovery, life management and creative expression. The Journal to the Self®workshop transforms the traditional journal into a genuine, unique method that offers cost-effective, holistic self-discovery and becomes an ongoing trusted companion and guide.

Multiple studies have found that writing, in the form of story or an expression of emotions (expressive writing), is healing for various conditions and diseases. The act of writing is stress-reducing and translating the emotions, memories, and images into words changes the way the brain understands, and analyzes information. This allows healing to begin.  Dr. James Pennebaker found that a group who wrote for only 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days increased their immunity for six weeks!

Psychologists, counselors and support-group facilitators understand the power of journaling as an adjunct to therapy in the treatment of depression, anxiety, grief, PTSD, anorexia, cancers, smoking cessation, substance abuse as well as many other disorders.

Why Write a Journal?


Diary (Photo credit: Barnaby)

Health (journal)

Health (journal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People who write Journals can benefit several different ways. Discover the writer within you. Journal writing is an inexpensive  way to achieve personal growth. “If you’ve told yourself for years that you can’t write give yourself one more chance. When you replace a ‘performance’ expectation with a ‘enjoyment’ expectation you’re likely to surprise yourself at how much better you like what you write.”

Journal to the Self techniques help journal writers expand their horizons and flush out the valuable content in their minds. It is a wonderful way to access content for life stories, or keep a record of how your life unfolds. “There is something magical about going back into your life and observing it from the vantage point of a month, a year, or ten years later.” Your journal will chronicle your dreams, your hopes, your ambitions, your sorrows, your fears, your serendipities, and your growth. Many business people keep a business journal to document their business peaks and slump times. They use this information when sales fall off, they refer back to their journal to see what they did before when sales were low.

People also use journals to take advantage of a valuable tool in the therapeutic process. When Kathleen Adams conducted a study in 1987 on writing  journals as a therapeutic tool, Adams found that 93 percent of respondents said that their journals were valuable tools for self-therapy. They were able to talk to themselves on paper and work through problems. Eighty-seven percent of responses described their relationship with their journals as friendly or therapeutic.  Confidant, companion, sounding board, and friend were specific words used to describe their journals. Other words described the qualities of the journals as: close, intimate, trusting, honest, caring, and nonjudgmental.

You can use your journal to heal relationships. Your journal can provide a safe place to vent your thoughts and feelings that can not be expressed directly. This can help discharge your emotions and leave you sane enough for the real conversation to take place later. “If you’re haunted by what Elizabeth Kubler-Ross calls ‘Unfinished business,’ with someone who is no longer available to you, (through death, abandonment, or simply moving on), your journal can help you sort through the conflict and pain.”

Use your journal to explore your creativity.  Your journal is a canvas for creative expression and imagination, you can write a poem, doodle a short story, or paint a picture with words. You can also use your journal to track the cycles, patterns, and trends of your life.

Journal writing can also help reduce stress and therefore minimize health risks and reduce health issues or eliminate them all together.