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Can Keeping a Journal in Rehab Really Lead to Better Counseling?

So you’ve started rehab, and your counselor has asked that you keep a journal—but why? What’s the point? Will it really help with the counseling itself?

Often times patients are asked to keep track of their recovery by journaling their efforts, their goals and their struggles alongside their achievements and their emotions. This is a transitional time period that will lead to lifelong change—and keeping a journal to reflect back on can be highly beneficial both for the patient and for the counselor that is working with the patient.

How Journaling in Rehab can Help to Improve your Sessions with a Counselor

Someone who begins journaling during treatment often experiences better counseling sessions with their therapist for a number of reasons including:

  • The patient is more aware of their situation and can engage more easily with the counselor.
  • The patient has thought about their situation and, ideally, what they would like to say or address during counseling.
  • If the journal is shared with the counselor, the counselor can better understand what the patient is thinking as well as point to specific phrases in the patient’s own words when treating them.
  • The counselor can see the patient’s progress in another way, getting to view thoughts they may not be ready to say out loud.

Even if a person doesn’t write well, they can easily get their thoughts across this way, which can be very helpful to both the counselor and the patient.

What to Include

Journal in Rehab

Keeping a journal in rehab can clue you in to your relapse triggers.

Your journal is up to you. You can include anything that you wish to include, but we recommend that you consider the following topics:

  • Goals
  • Updates on how you feel each day
  • Updates on any struggles you have (and what you have done to cope with them)
  • Updates on your counseling sessions and any “light bulb” moments
  • Achievements
  • Relapses

If you relapse, you may wonder why you would possibly want to talk about it and keep a note in your journal about it—but here’s the thing: If you journal actively, and discuss your goals and your struggles, and then you relapse, there’s a good chance that the answer to your relapse, the reasons behind the relapse and a proper coping mechanism for the relapse are all in the journal.

Furthermore, keeping track will help your counselor to help you get through the situation and move forward in recovery. To learn more about counseling in rehab, or for help finding the right rehab for you, call us today at 800-481-6320.

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