5 Elements Of A Useful Therapeutic Document

therapeutic document anxiety treatmentTherapeutic documents help me remember what people say. But they are so much more than that.

Conversations are easy to forget. I am interested in writing things down that you want to remember. Especially when it comes to helping ourselves dissolve some of the problems in our lives. Writing can be therapeutic in many ways. We can write a therapeutic document about problems to get them out, process through them, and become an audience to our self and our story.

It is not what you look at, it is what you see. ~Thoreau

A therapeutic document is more specific than journaling or writing fiction. They are the document of your transition from a big problem to a preferred sense of self. They can be put into a narrative, like a storybook form for young children, or made up like a list to take home and read over and over. Here are the elements for you to consider including and why:

5 Elements Of A Useful Therapeutic Document

1. Name the problem and how it is affecting your life

It is helpful to include the tricks and tactics of the problem. Problems often sneak around and disguise themselves as us. If we clearly remind our self it is the problem, and not us, this can help us step back and see the big picture more clearly.

2. Write your skills and abilities, even giving examples

This will help keep them at the tip of your mind. They will be more accessible to you when you want to use them if you remember them readily. Include here the history of these skills and knowledge, for example, who taught you them and in what context. This will help you feel even more connected.

3. Write why you want to feel better

What this says about what is important to you in your life. Keep this preciousness visible to yourself as much as possible!

4. Write about how it would change your life if you did feel better

You create your future first by imagining it.

5. Repetition

Read it a few times a day. Especially when you are calm and feeling OK. Don’t wait to read it until you are in a panic or very angry. If you practice when you are calm, then when your emotions are heightened, it will be right there for you. You can refer to it when you are upset, of course, just not ONLY then.

Here’s an example of a therapeutic document:

Tricks and Tactics Of Negative Thoughts

1. Negative thoughts come to my mind many times in the day, and cause me to doubt and judge myself.

2. They try to convince me that I deserve it since I can’t do anything right.

3. They are stronger when I am lonely, especially late at night before going to sleep. They tell me nobody loves me.

4. They try to convince me that they are true by reminding me of old mistakes.

5. They tell me other people’s compliments don’t count.

6. They make it hard to trust myself and harder to trust other people. Sometimes I don’t try as hard because it tells me: “What is the point?”

7. They lie and twist things around until they convince me.

My Skills And Knowledge

1. There are some people that care about me. I care about them, too, and I let them know it.

2. Most people make sincere compliments. There are people that I can trust to tell me the truth.

3. I have succeeded at some things. I have held my job for a long time and did great raising wonderful children.

4. It is very much worth trying. 

5. Everyone makes mistakes, mine were no worse that most, and I learned from them. Nobody is holding them against me.

6. I am ready not to feel this bad anymore. I want to be at peace and enjoy closer relationships, and I want to like myself.

7. If I didn’t listen to the negative thoughts, I would try new things, like join a book club to meet new people. Or travel. Or start a blog.

Here is another example of a therapeutic document we made in our family a few years ago: Shouting Is The New Spanking: How To Stop Yelling In The Family.

Until next time, take good care.

Love, Jodi xo


20 thoughts on “5 Elements Of A Useful Therapeutic Document”

  1. extremely helpful, jodi. and a good follow-up to your post about affirmations. i’m still a fan of pen and paper, so i keep a slightly smaller-than-standard pocket-sized notebook handy. actually two or three. you never know when the mood might strike to write down a helpful thought, or (what happens often for me) take note of a song that inspires helpful thinking. thanks jodi!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Great ideas Liz, I use often have paper and I also use my “notes” app. My son has a fancy notes app that catorgorizes everything. I think its called inotes. It’s awesome!

  2. I also really like the Thoreau quote you used. I have posted things on my wall or filing cabinet or taped them to my computer monitor before to help reinforce certain messages and noticed that I stopped seeing them after a while. Then I put one big piece of paper on my wall, covering up my favorite piece of art, no less, and purposefully stopped and read it every day (it was kind of hard to miss). That worked much better!
    Laura Zera recently posted..Travel: Trinidad and Old FriendsMy Profile

  3. I love the idea of using writing as a vehicle to resolving problems and issues. It reminds me of the therapy I did when going through my divorce. We were a group of six, going through different issues, but we all loved writing, and were given a variety of assignments and fun activities that allowed us to learn through our words. Learn and heal.
    Monica recently posted..Lightning in a Jar: The MisfitsMy Profile

  4. Thank you for sharing this quote Jodi. It is great reminder of something I learned as a child.

    My Aunt Emma was an exceptional artist and vibrant creative spirit. She possessed an exceptional and divinely inspired gift to look at anything or anyone and find its beauty and uniqueness. One day, when I said that would never be able to draw like her she turned to me and said, “Probably not, because I am me, and you are you, but the Good Lord always gives each one of us something beautiful and uniquely ours. “As far as drawing Lish, If you can see it you can draw it. ”

    While I still dabble with drawing, I’ve never become an exceptional artist, however when I began writing, I felt something uniquely mine and divinely inspired. One day after receiving criticism from a teacher, regarding my writing style, I had a long talk with my Aunt Emma. She looked me straight in the eye, smiled and tenderly asked. “Did you forget what I told you?” I responded, “No I did not forget”. She winked,and pulled me closer and lovingly placed her finger on my nose,and then gently pulled it away and asked me, “What did you see?” At first I said, “Your finger on my nose” She smiled again and gently placed her finger back on my nose and said I didn’t ask you to tell me what you were looking at, I asked you to tell me what you see.”

    I paused for moment, sighed, and as always with Aunt Emma, deeply rethought my answer. My response, “I saw your finger on my nose, I saw your smile. I see that you love me and you are encouraging me to become the best writer I can be” She smiled again, took my young hands into her hands, squeezed them gently together and whispered, “Well then, Lish, you got it! Always remember this: If you can see it , if you can feel it, if you can hear it, if you can smell it, if you can touch it, if you can taste it, you can write it.”

    What a powerful life lesson. It is a piece of wisdom indelibly imprinted on my heart. Even though my Aunt Emma is now in spirit, she remains as close as the tip of my nose, and the distance between my fingertips, a pen and paper or computer keyboard. In good times and in bad times writing is my go to survival tool.

    Thank you, Aunt Emma ,for giving me an infinite lens of love to see the world thru. ♥

    Have a beautiful Saturday everyone. See love! Be Love!

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      So beautiful, thanks so much for sharing! What a lovely, powerful woman, I love hearing about her! I hope my neices can one day feel that from me. Inspiriing!

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