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Expressive writing question

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Cara, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Cara

    Cara Peer Supporter

    Hi all,

    I'm reading stuff from Dr. Hanscom now. I haven't for the last few months done a good job sticking with the journaling strategies. I don't feel like they pulled up repressed memories or anything profound. Then I read Nicole Sach's book and journaled for a while, but I didn't feel like I was being passionate and "truthy" as much as she suggested. Hanscom seems to suggest that just writing my thoughts could be helpful. Is this true? But he also says that "issues" may emerge and that I should not try to solve those issues. Perhaps because I believe in the write-to-learn theories of education or maybe because I used to write daily as a teen and would work through my "issues" then, I find myself writing my way through my issues and coming up with some conclusions/answers/solutions. Hanscom, if I'm reading him correctly, seems to imply this is reinforcing the pathways I'm trying to deconstruct?

    What do you think? Which rules and guidelines do I need to be following for this to work? Would it be enough for me to just write whatever I want to write about my thoughts and feelings and my life and then rip them up, even if that doesn't include lots of emotions and swearing and even if it does include some rational thinking-through of issues?

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. PainNoMore

    PainNoMore Peer Supporter

    hope you get some replies. i'll be watching.
  3. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    The concept of TMSing is that it involves something you can obsess on whether it is the physical body sensations, alcohol, exercise, cleaning, phobias, or even journaling. Journaling is only one tool that can aid in the release process. It becomes part of the problem when people shift their focus to writing; worrying if they're doing it correctly, accurately, often enough, etc. It then serves to stifle healing because it's now part of the TMSing trap.

    Dr. Hanscom has stated that there can be no healing without journaling. But I never journaled to heal, I spent 10 years working with people who healed before I met one who journaled. I work with people every day most of whom never journal to heal. You don't have to journal to heal. However, I have seen people who it has helped greatly. I'm neither an advocate or opponent of it. I'm just saying to be careful with it, and for the reasons you are doing it. Are you doing it to uproot and identify possible causes? Or is it a method by which you can further avoid your feelings by obsessing on the details of the process?

    I've found that those sufferers who worry about the details of the journaling process have fallen into the TMS deception. It is a new worry that your brain is trying to create (through obsession). The "proper" way to journal is to just start writing, whatever comes out is what is trying to surface. I spoke to James Pennebaker and studied Ira Progoff. The only thing that seems to hold as common is that you need to focus on how you feel now, and not dwell in the past. The rest should be free flowing. What is not thought through is less likely to be formulated and encapsulated in the lie that superego desires to remain in tact. Thus, Freud's free association.

    balto and Cara like this.
  4. balto

    balto Beloved Grand Eagle

    Just like Steve, I rarely see journaling helped anyone with tms/mind body syndrome. Some even got worst because their journaling forced them to re - live some traumatic or sad past events.
    Going into journaling we have to have a clear goal. Journaling is a kind of Exposure therapy. We want to use journaling as a tool to desensitize mind from past bad memories. We journal with compassion and forgiveness. We want to forgive that bully in high school. We want to forgive the adult that abused us when we were a child, we want to forgive the love that walked out on us, we want to forgive and then forget and then move on. We want to understand that Memories are just memories. They only live in our mind and they can only hurt us when we allow them to. So forgive, forget, and move on. Life is beautiful ahead of us.
    Cara likes this.
  5. Alex1991

    Alex1991 New Member

    Intresting i am doing the "unlearn your pain" workbook. And i am journaling like sending unsent letters do other people in my life from th3 past or to some part of me (like my inner child). And sometimes i think like i get to the cure of my problem but my pain not going away. There is changes though sometimes i barely feel pain after journaling and sometimes i think it just get worth.

    Btw my bad TMS started in the middle of a therapy. Its like the therapy started the TMS to become stronger.. And therapy sessions its like journaling you go deep inside your past and yourself.

    Intresting by steveo maybe journaling not that good i am not sure already
  6. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    I have seen journaling help some people, so it definitely has some place in healing. I'm inclined to believe that it depends on how that person learns, or sees the world. I always laid my own thoughts out in my head all throughout my days. I ran through the big picture often, causes and effects, how I was reacting, and not reacting, what was going on, etc. So when I began to journal it was like doubling down, I was writing about things that I already saw clearly. I suppose journaling might work better for people who haven't taken the time to slow down and to see things as they are, their life might be moving too fast. I don't know, but I know it works for some people.

    But for most I would say it's yet another distraction, an avoidance mechanism, depending on how it's done, or perceived. I desperately needed to un-structure my life from all those types of things like daily programs and writing, etc. I had overburdened my life with those types of mind-numbing tedious responsibilities and needed to throw away the added work of writing my thoughts out. At one point, I suddenly realized that I was writing, and moving, and breathing and whatever I was doing daily, and asked myself why I was doing these things? And the answer was "to heal." But there wasn't anything to heal, the body is ok with TMS. So everything I was "doing to heal" was more deeply integrating that something was wrong with me, when there was not. These things are often the symptom imperative shifting, or better yet extinction induced variability. I still see that trying to heal is the #1 mistake in healing. There's nothing wrong, so what are you trying to heal? As Balto has said "forgive, forget and move on. Life is beautiful." Well said, and well seen.

    I understand that the process may be trying to extract a feeling, or ignite an awareness, That's all good and on the right track. But what about those people who have done these things mentally? Does the hand outweigh the mind? Mozart saw the music in his mind before he put it on paper. He said, "You know that I immerse myself in music, so to speak, that I think about it all day long, that I like experimenting, studying, reflecting."

    I freed myself from structured healing and began living more mindfully in the present and I immediately healed. I let it all go and became happy as a free person; free from trying. I remember the exact spot I was standing when I had my last pain symptom. I suddenly realized that I was already healed. At that point I began moving away from intellect and into the heart and have been much more successful in helping others heal, and in my personal life.

    Journaling might help if it tries to connect head to heart, but it might just add more anger and distraction. Remember, Dr. Sarno stated rightfully on many occasions that "it is the self-imposed demands that cause TMS." If journaling is seen as a new demand it could be counterproductive, if someone enjoys sitting and writing then it may be helpful; to each his own. Also, the emotional pain may be too deep and so the person may need it portioned out in smaller increments through such means as daily writing. It's worth trying. But don't believe people who tell you that you have to journal, or that it's the only way. It's just one tool, at the right time for that right person. If we could forgive we would never need anything, and there would be very few health problems. But ego is the most destructive force in life.

    Ines, Ellen and Jacqui9 like this.

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