Sunday, June 2, 2013

Writing Therapy for Troubled Teens

From Kathryn Rudlin, LCSW
Therapeutic writing includes poetry, storytelling, narratives, dialogue, humorous stories and journaling as a way to help relieve stress, figure out problems, work through painful feelings, make connections between feelings and behavior and much more. It can be easily adapted to any problem or situation a teen is dealing with.
Research has shown that this type of expressive therapy is effective in improving both mental and physical health. Writing therapy is often used to enhance individual and group therapy sessions by having the teen write about issues that come up in therapy or painful experiences that are difficult to discuss.
Examples of Writing Therapy
In this type of therapy a teen can freely express whatever comes to mind or focus on certain problems or feelings. There are a number of ways writing therapy helps teens heal, to include:
  • Writing about a specific theme, such as describing what their depression feels like
  • Writing a letter to someone the teen is angry with
  • For teens with drug problems, writing a letter to the drug they have been using describing how important it has become to them
  • Tracking new behaviors such as not using drugs or notcutting
  • Letting off steam by exploring and expressing the anger
  • A daily diary to confide in and sort out feelings
  • Gaining self-understanding by reading writing entries over time  
Teens often feel overwhelmed by their emotions or uncertain about how to deal with difficult situations. Writing therapy can help clarify what they are feeling and identify ways to cope. Teens most likely to benefit are those who are introspective and enjoy writing. Any type of teen problem can be addressed through the process of writing therapy. 

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