Tag Archive | Therapeutic writing

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.

The Science of Dreaming

Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 2012

Are you fascinated by the nightly parade of visual images that march across your mind? Working with your dreams in another way to understand the hidden-away parts of yourself. Dreams are direct communication from your unconscious parts of yourself. The images and patterns presented in your dreams have some basis in reality. Your dreams are a gold mine of information for you if you are receptive to taking the time to understand them. Here’s what my friend John Freedom said about dream interpretation to harvest important information about yourself:

“Dreams are direct reflections of what our subconscious minds are thinking and feeling. They are symbolic attempts at representing and problem-solving the deep issues of our lives. Understanding your dreams is a powerful way to understanding and knowing yourself, deeply and intimately. Interpreting your own dreams can be revealing, enlightening and fun. You know your own self best and you can best interpret your own dreams.”

Bob Hoss, another friend of mine, founded the DreamScience Foundation which sponsors research on dreaming. Bob is a former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and is on the faculty of the Haden Institute and a Director with the Soul Medicine Institute. Hoss has many resources for people interested in working with their unconscious mind and their dreams. There are fourteen radio shows on the science of dreaming which can be accessed through his web site athttp://dreamscience.org/.

What Does My Dream Mean?

Hoss’s dream guide worksheet can be downloaded in a pdf file athttp://dreamscience.org/idx_dream_language.htm

Step #1 – Record the Dream: tell or record the dream as if you are re-experiencing it (use first person, present tense). Give the dream a short meaningful name, one that spontaneously comes to you.

Step #2 – Life Situation: record any emotionally significant situation that is going on in your life at the time.

Step #3 – Metaphors in the Dream Story: Look for phrases in your description of the dream, or activities in the dream, that also sound like a figurative description of something going on, or a way you feel, in your life at the time. Describe the situation, who was involved and how you felt at the time. How might this life story relate to the dream story?

Step #4 – Work with the Dream Imagery using the “6 magic questions”:

a) Pick one or more dream images (things or characters) that you are “drawn to”, seem important, curious or emotionally significant to you. You might try picking a colored dream image so that you can work on both the image and the color.

b) Let the Image Speak – Go back into the dream and bring the image (that thing in your dream) to your mind’s eye. Take three deep breaths, bring the image closer and on the 3rd breath imagine yourself as that thing in your dream. Now speak as the dream image would. You can try a simple approach and just state what you are and how you feel in that role in the dream (this will provide some basic associations). A more comprehensive approach is to answer the following 6 questions and record your statements. Speak in the first person present tense, using “I am” statements. If “becoming” the dream image is too difficult then imagine yourself asking the dream image these questions, and imagine what the answer might be.

1. Who or what are you (describe yourself and how you feel): “I am ______”
Alternatively – if the dream character is someone you know, then as that person:
a. describe your personality;
b. in what ways are you like the dreamer;
c. in what ways you are different.
2. What is your purpose or function (what do you do)? “My purpose is to _________”
3. What do you like about being that dream element? “I like ____________”
4. What do you dislike about being that dream element? “I dislike ____________”
5. What do you fear most as that dream element? “I fear _____________”
6. What do you desire most as that dream element? “What I desire most is to _________”

Step #5 – Relate to a Life Situation: Now look at the statements as if it is YOU speaking them about YOUR life. Do one or more of the statements sound like a way you feel or a situation in your waking life? Do the “I am” and “My purpose” statements sound like a role you are playing in waking life? Do the “I like” versus “I dislike” statements sound like a conflict going on within you? Do the “I fear” and “I desire” statements sound like waking life fears and desires, perhaps feeding the conflict? If the dream character is a person you know, do one or more of the personality statements relate to a manner in which you are approaching the waking life situation? Or alternatively, does this dream character have a personality trait that you admire or wish you had more of, in order to better handle this waking life situation? Describe the waking life situation and any new feelings or awareness’s that the dreamwork has revealed.

Hoss also has instructions on how to use color to assess your dreams and how to use your dreams to enhance your life. In addition, he and his wife Lynn, have a technique that combines The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) with finding the meaning of your dream and using tapping to release uncomfortable dream content. See the Energy Psychology link at his website to get these instructions.

Want to understand more about your dreams or the science about dreaming? See Hoss’s book Dream Language: Self-Understanding through Imagery and Color.

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.