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The Role of Journaling in Trauma

Updated: Mar 23, 2020


Dr. Mike Lau's Research Corner


Learn the importance of telling your story.



What is Journaling?


Journaling is a form of qualitative research in which an author will use self-reflection and writing to explore anecdotal and personal experiences and connect autobiographical stories to a wider meaning and understanding in his or her life.


Historically, journaling emerged from a form of philosophy in which the dominance of traditional science and available research is questioned. It then attempts to capture the many ways in which knowing and experiencing are used.


The Benefits of Journaling/Narration


An individual’s life is chronological only if we think of it in terms of age. Life approaches and comes at us in waves, tides and sometimes tsunami’s – often times re-emerging when we are not even aware. Storytelling enables an individual to reformulate life’s events and helps us begin to sort through the remaining rubble of trauma.


An individual’s current experience will often begin a type of reverberation which serves to unfold and promote a past trauma. As human beings we can’t separate our past, present, or our future; they become inseparable. Storytelling helps connect these events and times. Individuals who have experienced a trauma or multiple traumas are caught in the undercurrent of incredible emotions and often feel less than or different from others.


The hidden power of words, through storytelling, can provide balance, unity, coherence, and a type of clarity to past events. Through storytelling, these traumatic events don’t shape the traumatized individual; the individual begins to shape the way they view and interpret traumatic events and begins to re-gain control, change their beliefs, and his or her own judgments and feelings. A rediscovering of hope and courage emerges as the narration continues through pain, fear, loneliness, chaos, confusion and self-doubt. A restoration and restoring of life begins.



Get Writing!


We all possess the incredible ability to choose to restore and instill hope even while working through the chaos that is trauma. We all decide to live on our own terms and not the terms set forth or proposed by others.



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