Therapy journal?

By Gabi Buday On August 19th, 2013

How to write a therapy journal?

Many people use journal writing as a coping tool, in effect it becomes a journal which is therapeutic by its nature. Some people report this to be utilised on and off in their lives, other people are inspired to experiment with it when they start counselling, as an additional way to manage difficult times.

The most important facet of a therapy journal is that it is a personal journal, therefore it is purely for your benefit. Personal to you, so you are free to choose the format, how often and where/when to write it. You may choose to draw or doodle rather than write at times. You may choose to do voice recordings, most smart phones might allow you to do this. It is yours and you don’t have to share it with anyone, not even with your counsellor, of course unless it is you wish to do so.

Most people choose to write/draw/doodle about something what is meaningful to them. Maybe you learned something new about yourself in therapy which you want to capture. Maybe something your counsellor said made sense for you, or something you have felt in therapy is meaningful to you and you would like to remember it. Other people may just write about what happened outside of therapy – where you might notice the therapeutic effects of counselling. A journal could be a place to bracket off painful experiences, a place to offload stress or a place to park your concerns or questions for your next counselling session. Some people just write and write and as they write, they come to find their own insight into their own internal world. Your own way is the best way for you, there is no right or wrong way of writing a journal.

If you's like to experiment with journal writing and not sure where to start, these following questions might help you to start to experiment and play with journal writing:

·    What stands out from your last counselling session?

·    What did you learn about yourself and your world?

·    What made sense?

·    What feelings were present?

·    Did their intensity change over the time of the session?

·    If that was helpful, what worked for you?

·    What are the things you wanted to say and could not?

·    What was stopping you?

·    What do you need from your counsellor to help you to say those things?

It can also be used as a tool to practice mindfulness: ‘bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis’. It is often a way to reduce the distance between your operational self (the part that go about their business every day) and your core self (the not doing but being self). Getting closer to the centre and to your core parts might not always be easy. Meeting your own self and everything inside you just as they are is the greatest challenge and gift of therapeutical journal writing. You might be pondering ok but how do I do this?

Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to develop a helpful ways of meeting 'all you are'. If you interested, please read my next blog about how to develop your compassionate mind-heart set to write your therapy journal.

Please do contact me if you wish to find out more, or to explore how counsellign could help you please read more at , or contact me on 07917 583697 or

Happy writing!

Self-compassion or self-confidence?

By admin On August 5th, 2013

Which one would you choose?

Welcome to my blog, where I will discuss topics relevant to the field of counselling. I wish to offer you insight, raise your awareness and offer you an opportunity for you to ponder about some interesting ideas.

This week I would like to discuss the difference between self esteem and self-compassion.

First, let’s explore what is the meaning of self esteem or self confidence. When we are doing well or we have achieved something amazing we feel confident. Self-esteem is often about how well we are doing in comparison to others or to other times in our life. When our self-esteem is low, we may feel inferior to others, and we judge ourselves. We often end up chasing our self-confidence, trying to keep it high, which is really hard work.

Do you think it is possible to keep self-esteem high?

We might be setting ourselves an impossible task when we focus our energies and efforts on building self-esteem. It is very much a fluctuating phenomenon for most human beings. Especially when we faced with pain, losses in our lives life our confidence tends to feel low and very fragile. Pain is part of our common shared humanity, at times sadly unavoidable.

On the other hand Self-compassion is a skill we can all learn to practice even if we never ever have done this. Tibetan Buddhism defines compassion as sensitivity to the suffering of self and others with a deep wish and commitment to relieve the suffering’. Self-compassion stems from the intention of wanting to help ourselves, and I never met a client who did not have this natural desire and help themselves, with deep intention to alleviate their own suffering.

Self-compassion is a mind & heart set; it is more than a set of beliefs or attitude. It is most helpful in times of distress and in times of suffering. When we face hurt, upset, sadness it is an opportunity to offer ourselves compassion. It does not depend on how well you are doing, it is there for you especially when you feeling low, upset, angry. It recognises that we all share a common human experience, which brings emotional reactions not always comfortable.

Developing this mind/heart set gives us permission to no longer hide our vulnerable side and our inadequacies. It is a good starting point to just check in gently with yourself, without being critical. You can test how self-compassionate you are using an online tool developed by Dr Neff. Or just let yourself think of the answers you would give.

If you’d like to watch a video explaining the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion more in depth please watch Dr Neff, who researched the benefits of self-compassion on wellbeing.

Any living being who faces pain and suffering is worthy of compassion, and so are you; for the simple fact that you might also struggle at times.

If you think that ok, this all sounds good, however you know that have always struggled to turn compassion towards yourself. You might also notice some lingering self-critical thoughts in your mind, with a deep sense of not being good enough or not-deserving self-compassion. Or you might have had experience , when you understand that something you may have blame yourself for was not your fault; however you struggle to really feel this, logic and an alternative way of thinking just does not manage to reassure you.

Counselling using Compassion Focused Therapy might be really helpful for these struggles and to help you to understand your own blocks to this. Please do contact me if you wish to find out more or you are interested in finding out more about counselling , 07917 583697 or

So which one would you choose? Self-compassion or self-esteem? Think of someone who really knows you and cares about you , which one would they choose for you?