Friday, April 29, 2011

What's in a Word?

Journaling is noted by many in the medical profession to be a helpful tool for soul care and healing. This is beyond the simple "dear diary" entries that are associated with teenage girls. The journaling that is proposed as being especially helpful is done with a specific purpose in mind.

Backus and Chapian suggest in their book, Telling Yourself the Truth, that journaling can be used for the specific purpose of identifying and correcting misbeliefs. It is a way to identify and apply truth to one's life. The first step they suggest is to locate and identify the misbelief. This might be something as like this, "People really don't change." The second step in the journaling is to argue against the misbelief. The counter to the belief above might be, "People may not always change in the way I'd like them to, but they do really change. I know I have changed, so it is possible for others to change as well." Thirdly, the key to the journaling is to replace the misbelief with truth. Sometimes the argument incorporates the truth. However, to expand on the first two examples, the third might look something like this, "People do change and are changing. I have been changed. Sometimes it's been slow and painful but I have seen change in myself. I know that God can change anybody. My responsibility is to love this person.

The concept of journaling is not a new one. It is found in many forms of therapy, especially Individual therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and many more. It is not unreasonable to think that it would be just as useful in the Christian counseling session. I know I personally don't do enough journaling, but when I do this type of focused journaling, I am able to acknowledge my own errors in thinking and replace it with truth.


  1. good post Rachel, I agree with you. I love journaling. I can't agree more with saying that it is a way get correct and identifying those misbeliefs. You will be amazed at how many misbelieves you actually have when your write out what you thing and what you feel. Most if not all of what you feel is guided by misbeliefs about yourself. Thisis something I think everyone should so regularly!

    Good post!!

  2. Great post Rachel! All the times I have journaled it has always helped and is also good therapy. It allows me to get my feelings and cognitions out even though no one, but me and God sees them. It also helps with distractions. I like to journal my prayers to God because I easily get distracted while I'm praying (my mind tends to wonder everywhere), but when I journal my prayers to the Lord, I tend to stay focused. Plus my journal notes are a record of the good and bad times that the Lord has brought me through. One cannot go wrong with this simple technique.

  3. I hate to be one more agree-er but, must concur! Journaling, especially a few years ago, really helped me work out and work through many personal problems. Journaling helped me visualize and physically see my thoughts on paper (or on a computer screen).

    While journaling often helped and helps me organize my thoughts/beliefs I believe I need to take it one step further. As you mentioned above, I must learn to not only seek the truth about what is going on inside me, but I must also intentionally challenge those thoughts. Truth must be the ultimate measure as I examine my internal workings.

    As I side note, I also find that it once I have my thoughts down on paper it is helpful to share them with a trusted and wise friend. This often can bring perspective that I am may be blind to.


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