Writing as a Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

Writing as a Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

by Aishwarya Gaikwad

Writing can be used as a healing instrument, and it is proved by modern studies. For example, you can find a relevant study in Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 150, Issue 3, 25 September 2013. A study made by Katherine M.Krpan, EthanKross and others, confirm that “The benefits of expressive writing have been well documented among several populations, but particularly among those who report feelings of dysphoria. It is not known, however, if those diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) would also benefit from expressive writing.”

In short — People diagnosed with MDD in the expressive writing condition showed significant decreases in depression scores. What is even more impressive, this effect stayed for about 4 weeks after the experiment was finished. Based on this and other peer reviewed studies, we have made a list of affects expressive (or freewriting) can have on patients with MDD or anxiety:

  • Tuning down negative emotions, including strong ones
  • Getting rid of a bodily symptom
  • Having a dialogue with inner subpersonalities
  • Getting rid of obsessive thoughts
  • Staying in touch with true feelings
  • Writing out a stream of thoughts for later awareness

It is not an exhaustive list of positive effects, but these are the most evident and proven. In this article we want to elaborate on two major types of healing writing — expressive writing (freewriting) and fairy tale therapy. 

Expressive or Freewriting In Therapy for Depression and Anxiety

In its classic form, freewriting is to write down the thoughts that come to mind without correcting them. The term “freewriting” was invented by the writer Kenneth Macrory, but there is no information about who first began to use freewriting to solve creative, let alone psychological problems.

Freewriting is a tool of psychological self-help designed to help you understand a difficult situation, dispel doubts, understand yourself or unravel the tangle of thoughts and events. With the help of freewriting, you can, for example, talk to a person with whom a conversation is impossible. Or if there is a need to write a neutral letter to a person for whom the person has strong feelings, is in an unstable emotional state. Freewriting can help free yourself from interfering emotions. And although its effectiveness has not been studied enough at the moment, it is often used not only as self-help but also in psychotherapeutic work.

This is what authors of popular articles see the benefits of freewriting:

  • Improves and activates the brain;
  • It opens up hidden resources of thinking;
  • Frees the head from unnecessary thoughts;
  • Opens up to novelty and new ideas;
  • Develops writing skills;
  • Can be partially used as a method of self-therapy;
  • It can be used as a way of self-knowledge and self-development.

Freewriting is a very easy to learn and use tool. To use it, there are either no rules that limit the process, or there are few of them and they are simple. All you need is paper and a pen, and the ability to express thoughts in writing. Everything else is optional: the presence of silence, a timer, the amount of time allocated for the process, the need to re-read or, on the contrary, destroy what was written. All this and much more varies in different sources, the recommendations are not universal. 

Free writing can be also recommended as a tool using which students can make their essay writing better. It both relaxes your brain, which in the end helps you concentrate on important things, not distracting ones, and helps to build up writing experience. If your anxiety levels are through the roof and you are not sure you can finish your paper on time and professionally, it may be a wise choice to address a reliable essay writing company, such as Smart Writing Service. Ordering process takes just minutes, and right after you pay for the essay you need, the most suitable academic writer jumps into action. You can use this option as a plan B, especially for urgent college writing assignments.  

Fairy Tale Therapy Fights Anxiety among Adults

Fairytale therapy is a fairly new and very promising trend in psychotherapy. It may seem to many by the name that this direction is focused only on children, but this is not at all the case. Indeed, in every fairy tale that our parents read to us or that we ourselves read to our children, deep meanings and images were laid. It was these images that often helped to understand what was good and what was bad, suggesting how to find solutions in the most desperate situations!

And despite the fact that over time most of us stopped reading fairy tales, we still need these magical worlds. Fairy tales can help us reveal our emotional potential, find inner harmony, and learn to better understand ourselves and those around us.

Accordingly, fairy tale therapy is aimed precisely at getting to know oneself better through writing one’s own fairy tale, looking at many of one’s problems from the outside, learning to find the resources in oneself in order to cope with difficulties and overcome obstacles on the path of life.

The fairy-tale characters we create are able to help us see all the facets of the problems that we face during our lives. Reading or creating our own fairy tale, we do not face these problems one-on-one – we just observe the life of the main characters. It is this position that allows us to consider all options for solving problems, including those that we have not even thought about before.

Even if you were not diagnosed with psychological disorder, don’t feel down or anxious, you may benefit from using these practices. There is no way of telling how useful they are specifically for you, you just need to try. 

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