Why Writing is Therapeutic
Writing is therapeutic to an extent never recognized in our culture. Most people don’t do it anyway because they are under the spell of school teachers’ worldview that creativity is only for some select few who have ’special talents.’ But fact is that for enjoying the therapeutic effects of writing, you do not need to be a writer, you do not even need to have the gift of gab.
You can use writing just as Gestalt therapy uses spontaneous art for self-expression. Instead of enjoying forms and colors drawn on a sheet of paper, you take a pen and write what comes to mind—anything. You just let out steam. Whatever it is, get it out! Do not worry about style or orthography, just express yourself in the words at your disposition here and then—hic et nunc.
Why is it that writing is therapeutic, that it brings relief from pain, from depression, from obsessions, and from negative memories?
We can only speculate so far, but in my view the reason is that writing brings order. As when you unclutter your living space brings you a sense of composure, writing unclutters your inner world, your mind, and your soul.
Writing puts words on things, on sensations, on memories, on certain recurring thoughts, on emotions, thereby humanizing all you experience in your inner life. In easier terms, writing makes you bond with yourself, your own self, it makes you a friend of yourself. This is really amazing to observe once you practice it on a regular basis.
Experience shows that many famous authors write because it’s a medicine to counter deep conflicts within the personality. And conflict, we all have got, everyone their little part of it. And there is more.
Emerson says in his essays that the soul of the writer precedes his wit, and comes out from the pen before actually the very qualities are built in his soul that are yet present in the writing. For example somebody might write a brilliant page about human justice while being the most unjust individual. Yet his writing precedes his development into a more fair and correct person. Thus there is something precognitive about writing, so to say. It’s something really magic. It’s the power of the word. This power is one of awareness.
Writing is a consciousness-building process in that it links the conscious with the subconscious mind; that is the reason why writing can help with sexual urges, for example, because it impacts upon the unconscious. All urges are drives in our unconscious and they *drive us* if we do not render them conscious and project upon them the light of awareness.
This effect of writing is probably triggered by the fact that when you write, you confront your inner images; these images come up spontaneously, unasked for, and they inspire your writing, whatever it is. These inner images are located in your imagination, your subconscious mind, your right brain; but the area that is responsible for writing is in your left brain hemisphere. Thus writing in a way coordinates the brain hemispheres and makes them work more in sync.
Writing may be a vocation for somebody and that person may be very unhappy if they are not aware of it, for they will not even know why they are unhappy. But for most people, those who are not born writers, so to speak, can use writing for the purpose I try to explain here: for self-composure, healing, and the development of personal creativity. For that purpose of writing, you do not need to bother what kind of personalities professional writers are. For them, writing is more than healing, for them it’s like breathing! If if they don’t write, they suffocate.
You should not bother about that level, and be content with what you produce in terms of output. Do not be judgmental with yourself, but accept any level of text you create. The most important for this purpose of writing is that it’s as much as possible spontaneous. It’s also called ‘flow-of-consciousness writing style.’ You write as fast as you think, in the ideal case. Then you go with the flow and then real surprises can happen, spontaneous insights and a change of your inner programming, your inner scripts.
Success is largely but the investment of as much as awareness as possible, the conscious facing of everything within us, and around us. To face our inner trials is much more important than going to workshops, or being entertained, and even more important than reading books. For when you meet yourself, you activate your inner guide. This guide is real. It brings order where there was chaos, and relief where there was pain. It brings healing where there was sickness and hope where there was despair. Experience it!