Category Archives: Wellness Journals

The Zombies Ate My Brain… Again

Zombies ate my brainI was talking to my wife the other day, as she was reminiscing about one of my middle sons.   He used to have a stuffed Eeyore which he would drag everywhere.   We have a lot of great stories about him and his Eeyore which we can’t wait to tell his future wife. *giggle*   But I was kicking myself at the same time.   Why can’t I remember these wonderful, terrific, heartwarming stories when I am down and struggling with depression?    The answer is depression.   My wife is constantly reminding me that when depressed, I can’t remember the good times; instead all I can remember are the bad, the bleak, and the hopeless.

Depression is like the Zombies.   They eat your brain or rather leave you unable to remember the positive things that happen in your life.   This is why it is so important to include positive memories in your wellness journal.   Each time you remember a positive memory such as the one about my son and his Eeyore, take a few minutes to write it down in your journal.    The memories don’t need to be incredible or amazing, but just simple, happy memories from your past.

Here is another example of involving another of my sons:

“When one of my sons was just two years old, and after I had left for work, my son walked around the house looking for me and calling my name.  After a few minutes he found one of my shirts, cuddled up with it on the floor, and fell to sleep.  It makes me feel good to realize how much my kids love me.”

If you are currently depressed and down, you will respond by saying something like “but I don’t have any positive memories.”   Indeed, the Zombies have eaten your brain and you can’t remember the positive memories.   Give it time, and pay attention.  When someone says something to trigger one of those positive memories, write it down before you forget it again.

Keep working towards wellness.

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Letter Requesting a Letter of Love or Support…

Love Letter or Letter of Support from a Wellness JournalIn past posts, I have talked about requesting “love letters” or letters of support from family, friends, and sweethearts.  These letters should be added to a wellness journal, to be reviewed when you are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness.   I have included an example of a letter to give to your support person.   Keep in mind that sometimes you may not get your letter back for quite some time.  If you provide your loved ones with the paper and a stamped envelope, you may have better luck in getting it back.

Dear [sweetheart, family member or friend],

I have been working on creating a “Wellness Journal” to help me in treating my depression.    A Wellness Journal is a compilation of self-affirmations, positive memories, goals, tools, and letters from people who love and care about me.   I would like to ask you to assist me on my path to wellness and happiness.

One of the key components of a wellness journal is letters of love and support from people like you, people who love and care about me.   To this end, I would like to ask if you would be willing to write an honest, truthful letter outlining the positive things that you like and appreciate about me.

I will be reading the letter when I am struggling with feelings of depression and loneliness.  Memories and examples are often a terrific addition to the letter.   The letter does not need to be long, but it does need to be heartfelt.   Also please handwrite the letter, instead of typing it; there is something powerful about a hand written letter.

Once again, thank you for helping me to treat my depression and to navigate my path to wellness.

Love,  [your name]

Hopefully this example will help you in requesting letters of love and support from your family, friends and sweethearts.

Keep in mind that this only one part of the Wellness Journal, and is only one step on the road to mental wellness.

Your comments are appreciated

Tagged , , , ,

The Whole is Greater Than Its Parts

Treating depression using wellness journals

Doodle Page from a Wellness Journal

The phrase, “The whole is greater than its parts,” is especially applicable when talking about a wellness journal for treating depression or other mood disorders.   Depending on the individual, a good wellness journal contains about  twenty or more sections or parts.   Each one of these parts by itself is a too. However, each one of these tools has limited use.

You will begin by adding the small “parts” of the journal to create a greater whole. It is only when you combine the parts together that the journal can help you the most.   Each of the separate parts is simple, and on its own, it is easy to discount its value.   It is only when you combine your positive affirmations, your spiritual affirmations, your loved one’s affirmations, your goals and dreams, and your memories that the journal truly becomes something that can make a difference in your life.

By combining all of these positive affirmations in one place, you may begin to recognize patterns of truth in those affirmations. It becomes harder to discount the words of one friend because you have many friends or family members making similar statements.

The next step is to add the wellness journal “part” of your treatment to the rest of your treatment tools in order to create the greater whole of your treatment plan. Depression, bipolar disorders, and borderline personality disorders are not simple problems.   Therefore, the treatments of mood disorders are not simple fixes. Wellness journals alone cannot fix complicated problems. Once you have created a wellness journal, you can start adding this powerful tool to other powerful tools, including medication, spirituality, counseling, exercise, support of sweethearts, and education, among other tools.

As you create your wellness journal, don’t get over concerned about the level of effectiveness of any one part.   Focus on the understanding that it is only one part of the whole, just as creating a wellness journal is but one part in your path to wellness.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Love Letters…

Wellness Journal Love LettersI know that this might initially sound a little bit odd, but I think that it is important to collect love letters when creating a Wellness Journal.   No, I’m not talking about old ones from your high school sweetheart, but love letters from your current sweetheart, your mom, grandma, father, sister, and best friend.

Let me explain by sharing my own experience.  Years ago, during a particularly grey period in my life, my wife wrote me a love letter.  It told me how much she loved me, listing my admirable qualities and telling me how grateful she was for me.  I kept this letter in my top drawer next to my bed and then, when I was feeling down, I would go back and read it.  This became a valued possession.

As a counselor, many times I have listened to my clients as they have told me how they missed the warmth and support of their grandmother, mother or close friend.   It made me realize how nice it would be if they too had a “love letter” from this special person, something that they could turn to and read even when their loved one was not available.

Since then I have encouraged clients who struggle with emotional dysregulation to ask their loved ones to write them a love letter, and to include it in their wellness journal.   I give my clients a couple of guidelines.

1)      The loved one must be permanent.  (Not your current boyfriend that you have known for a week.)

2)      Explain to your loved ones, the purpose of the letter.  Even if they are “skeptical” of our mental illness, they will generally understand the purpose of the letter, and be willing to write one.

3)      The love letter must be hand-written.   It means so much more if it is hand-written.

4)      Get one from your parents, even if you are currently mad at them! (If possible).

5)      Provide your loved one with paper, and a stamped envelope.  (Usually paper just smaller than your journal, so you can paste it in.)

6)      Remind your loved ones regularly.

I have found that this tool is especially effective with individuals with borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder.    I usually suggest that my clients try to get two or three letters.

I welcome your comments.

Tagged , ,

What is a Wellness Journal, and why should I create one.

Wellness Journal for treating Depression

Wellness Journal

A Wellness Journal is a simple tool which contains coping strategy used by individuals who suffer from depression, bipolar, or other mood disorders to help keep themselves healthy.   It contains about twenty different sections that are created when you are in a good mood so that you can use it to prevent or get out of depression.   It is a tool that does not replace medication or counseling, but augments existing treatments.

A good Wellness Journal is like creating a savings account.  When you are feeling well you contribute to your journal.  Then when you are down, or are seeing warning signs that you may be entering a down you make a withdrawal from your journal.  However unlike a financial savings account, a withdrawal from this account does not reduce your savings.  One entry can be withdrawn hundreds of times.

A Wellness Journal is powerful and proactive yet it is simple enough that anyone can do it.   Even people without depression can create and benefit from Wellness Journals and most people can see how they are beneficial.    Some of the individual parts of the Journal have been well researched to yield positive results, others I have learned about through speaking to other therapists, or through firsthand experience.   A wellness Journal is a constantly evolving tool, which is unique to the individual, and addresses his or her personal challenges.

I encourage my clients to create wellness journals because I want to encourage self-reliance.    I want people to have the tools necessary to succeed without me.   I don’t want them to need me when they are in a crisis.  I don’t want to be their therapist forever.  I want to give individuals tools that help them move on with their life.

Wellness journals are not time consuming, and can be integrated into your daily life with ease.   If working on it by yourself, you can spend as little as five minutes a day writing in it.   If working with a counselor you can spend part of your session each week working on it, in addition to the time spent on your own.   Poor reading or writing skills, penmanship, concentration, or finances are not barriers to creating an effective and valued wellness journal.

When loved ones see your consistent dedication to working on your wellness journal they often recognize your efforts and become reinvigorated in supporting you in your journey towards wellness.  Therefore I recommend that people don’t keep the journal hidden from their loved ones.  It is not something that needs to be hidden from prying eyes, as it contains only positive things.   If someone were to happen upon it they would find nothing that would embarrass you.  My children regularly read my Wellness Journal and comment when I am not following through with things, such as my Wellness Plan.

It is so simple, but so powerful.  In my journey towards wellness my Journal has been an integral part of keeping myself healthy.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Having depression is like having a pet Zombie … it eats your brain.

Wellness PlanHaving depression is like having a pet Zombie … it eats your brain.

Of course there are a lot of clinical explanations to what depression is, and its symptoms.  It is hard for people who have not experienced depression to understand how depression steels your ability to think.   Depression is like having a pet Zombie. . .  Sometimes it gets out and eats your brain.

When you are depressed it feels like you are thinking in slow motion.    Doing anything requires effort even things that used to be easy.  Talking to people, deciding what you want to do, anything requiring mental ability is just hard.   Crazy thing is that you can still follow instructions, but it makes you angry when you do.   Your sweetheart can tell you to get out of bed, and you can do it.  You can follow instructions but you just can’t think for yourself and you can’t make any decisions.   All options seem bad.   Performance at work and at school plummets often because you can’t decide what to do next, or can’t concentrate on what you are doing.

Sometimes you even physically feel tired or have pain.   It doesn’t make any sense.  You know that you have slept for 9 hours, but you are still tired.  You know there is no reason for the pain, but it is still there.   Over time you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.   You just want to be happy, to be normal like everyone else.   You secretly hate the bubbly woman in the cubical next; talking about everything she did over the weekend.  You could have done all that stuff if you weren’t so tired and depressed, and dang it does she really have to be so annoying.

This is why you need an artificial brain.   You need to have made decisions for yourself when you still felt normal.  You need a Wellness Plan, or a plan of what you are going to do every day to keep yourself working even when you can’t think.  It is a list of everything that you should do on a daily basis, a weekly basis, and a monthly basis to keep working.   It lists things like taking your meds, going to church, calling your sister, seeing your therapist, exercising, everything that you have committed to do to keep yourself working even when depression has stolen your brain.

When you are depressed you simply forget to do the things that you know you should.  The more things that you forget to do, the more depressed you become and the more the situation starts feeling hopeless.  You begin to feel helpless to do anything to get out of your slump and abandon yourself to be ravaged by depression.   A wellness plan is absolutely critical in keeping yourself whole.  So get that Zombie back in it’s cage, and make yourself a wellness plan.

Tagged , , ,

Creating a Blue List

Wellness JournalsDepression feels like someone came and shoved out your brains.   You can’t think; instead you sit in a stupor, head in your hands, shoulders slumped forward.  All of the energy has somehow been drained out of your body; your arms are heavy and your chest is heavy.   All you can do is sit there and think about how depressed you are.  Sick and tired of being sick and tired.   Despite being hypomanic the week before last you can’t remember the last time you felt happy.  Worst of all, you recall distinctly telling yourself last time this happened that it would never happen again.  You would take your meds, exercise, eat right, and use your coping strategies.   This wasn’t supposed to happen.

You try to think of your coping strategies, the things that you had discussed with your therapist, but you can’t.  You’re too tired to call anyone.  You’re too tired to get out of bed; instead you sit and criticize yourself for how terrible you are, what a loser you are.

This is one of the problems with depression; it robs us of our ability to think, to make rational decision.  It robs us of our motivation and makes us feel hopeless and helpless.  This is a difficult concept for many people who have never experienced depression to understand.

However, there is a strategy that works for many of us.   This strategy makes up part of what I call a Wellness Journal.  In short, we make decisions ahead of time and write these decisions in a positive journal, so that we can use it as our “brain” when our brain is being sabotaged by the illness called depression.

The strategy that I’m referring to is a Blue List.   A Blue List is a list of things to do when we are feeling blue or depressed.   It’s very simple.   When you aren’t depressed, remember you can’t think well when you are depressed, you make a list of positive activities that you enjoy, and write them in your journal.

My Blue List contains the following:

  • Bake Rolls
  • Walk to the convenience store and buy a soda
  • Play on Pinterest
  • Read a book
  • Tinker in the garage
  • Doodle
  • Read my Patriarchal Blessing
  • Go running

Last time my family was out of town, I started seeing my warning signs of problems.  I found myself slipping into depression.   I pulled out my Wellness Journal, turned to the Blue list, and started doing those things that I had written on my list.   I’ve learned from this and previous occasions that you can’t always do everything on your Blue List, so it needs to be diverse enough to help you in lots of different situations, but I have also learned that it can be a life saver.  Each time I used one of those strategies, I was able to make it through another few hours and eventually days, until the hold of depression loosened its grip.

Tagged , , , ,

Red List: What to do if I feel like self-injuring

When I ask my clients to create a Wellness Journal to help treat their mood disorder, I often ask them to include a “Red List.”  The red list is different dependent upon the client.   For individuals who have anger issues, the red list is things to do when they are angry.  Likewise for anxiety.   However for many of my client’s the red list is what to do when they feel urges for self-inflicted violence, most commonly cutting.

I worked in the Emergency Department of a local hospital for five years during which time I learned that many professionals do not understand the urge for self-injury.   The advice they give is frequently horrendous.   Often well-meaning medical staff treat “cutters” with cruelty.   They can be cold and distant when treating self-inflicted cuts.   I unfortunately have seen physicians staple or stitch up cuts before the numbing shots fully are in effect.  Worse than the physical pain they cause is the emotional pain, making the individual who has inflicted self-violence to feel belittled.  I have also been fortunate to see that with a little education these same professionals can be kind and understanding to “cutters.”

My experience in working with individuals with urges for self-inflicted violence or cutting is that more than anything they need love and understanding.   The first step is to plan in advance.   I encourage the creation of a red list, or a list of what kinds of coping strategies can they implement when they feel overwhelmed and want to self-injure.   I remind them that cutting is a coping strategy…. not one that I encourage, but indeed a coping strategy.   Instead of putting down their coping strategy I want them to find better ones.

Many times the urge for self-inflicted violence is paired with depression and anxiety.   Unfortunately depression seems to cause memory loss and we completely forget our coping strategies.   This is why a red list is so valuable.   In the list we have written down advance instructions for ourselves.   Unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” list.  Each person must create their own list.   Also unfortunately we usually discover what strategies work and what strategies do not work through trial and error.  This is why it is so imperative that when someone we work with, love or care about does self injure, that we do not put them down.   They did not fail, but just found another coping strategy that didn’t work, and now it is time to work on finding some new, better ones.

So…  What is on your red list?

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Gratitude List: an integral part of a Wellness Journal in Treating Mood Disorders.

Wellness JournalsCreating a gratitude list is a key component in Wellness Journals. Creating a gratitude list forces the individual to start looking for and seeing the positive. Journaling gratitude creates a paradigm shift for the individual. When creating a gratitude list, there is only one real rule… it must be positive. I also suggest that people avoid repeat things, but this can be very difficult. On numerous occasions I have read back in my gratitude list, and found repeated entries.

There are impressive benefits to writing down things that you are grateful for including greater physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, less depression, reduced anxiety, and a more positive relationship with family and loved ones. I recommend to my clients that they come up with at least three unique things each night that they are grateful for.

In my experience it is easier to do this if you add the activity to an already established habit. I have had good results in suggesting that individuals with spiritual beliefs write in their gratitude list each night before saying their evening prayers, including the things that they are grateful for into their prayers. Alternatively I encourage those individuals who regularly mediate to write in their journals before meditating. Look for some activity in which you engage on a daily basis, it will make remembering to write in the journal easier. It does not matter what time of day that you journal what you are grateful for. Whenever is easiest for you.

Remember not to get too picky about spelling, grammar, and how your handwriting looks. It is more important that you do it. Some studies have shown that doing it two or three times a week is as effective as doing it every night, so don’t worry if you forget a night.

Tagged , , , , ,

Why not just pop a pill?

Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_11326639_old-book-quill-and-black-ink.html'>viki2win / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Journaling

Many times Mood Disorders such as Depression, Bipolar Disorder, or Borderline Personality Disorder cannot be treated with a simple antidepressant.  In my experience mood disorders usually need to be treated from a multidimensional approach.       The problem with trying to treat depression from such a simple perspective, is that the cause of depression is not simple.  More often than not depression is “caused” by a variety of factors all acting as a catalyst for each other.  Biological factors worsen the effect of environmental factors, and vice versa.

Correctly treating mood disorders often requires a combination of medication, environmental changes and cognitive changes.   Medication must be prescribed by a primary care provider or a psychiatrist depending upon how serious the mood disorder is.   Extracting yourself from negative environments may also be required.  Finally changing the way you think is critical.  Changing the way you think is often facilitated with the use of a counselor, social worker, or psychologist.   A wellness journal is a tool that can also be used to facilitate the change in your patterns of thought.

Therefore despite the significant benefits of antidepressants and mood stabilizers in the treatment of mood disorders, it usually must be accompanied by other changes both environmentally and cognitively.

Tagged , , , ,

The Joy of Journaling

There can be great comfort and tranquility resulting from a few minutes spent reading past entries in a journal.  The smell of a leather bound book, the look and feel of worn pages, the memories of the feelings that have bound themselves to the book.   Curling up with memories in the shade of a favorite tree, or on a comfortable couch is quite the different experience than sitting in front of a computer screen.  Even though I type well and enjoy computers, blogs cannot replace the unique experience of reading a hand written journal.

There has been a time when I was too critical of my own handwriting, or my own artistic abilities to write in a journal, yet now that I have a few more years of experience I recognize that the poor handwriting, and questionable artistic ability is part of who I am, and part of what defines me.  The more I handwrite notes and write in my journal, the more I enjoy it.    In addition my handwritten journal is portable, never runs out of batteries, never crashes, and is very stylish.

In my life I have found that my journal, something which has evolved, and I now call a wellness journal is one of the best treatments I have for my depression or mood disorder.    It is difficult to determine what is more beneficial to me, the time I spend writing in it, or the time I spend reading it when feeling down.  Journal writing has become an integral part of my practice in treating mood disorders, and is something that I encourage all of my clients to do.

My advice to journal writing, especially Wellness Journals is fivefold:

(1)    Select high quality materials.  It is important to pick a good journal for your need.   I like to purchase one that is small enough to fit in a small bag (a man bag, not a purse).  I also like it to be leather bound.  There is nothing else out there like the smell of leather.   I am also very particular about my pens.   I prefer a variety of different pens for different reasons.   It is important to me that the pen does not bleed through the paper that I sue.

(2)    Make a commitment to keeping well by using a Wellness Journal.   It may be difficult at first, but over time, you will find yourself able to do it more and more.   Hold yourself accountable for your own wellbeing.

(3)    It is important to pick the right environment for writing in your journal.   For you it may be with other people, or may be where distractions are limited.   Some people might prefer a local coffee shop, for others this may be too distracting.   I prefer to listen to music without words when writing.

(4)    It is important to me NOT to worry about spelling or punctuation.   This is not an exercise in perfect grammar.   This is for you, not your English professor.  It is important to tell yourself to write imperfectly, to allow yourself to be yourself, to be honest and human.   Show your flaws.

(5)    I love doodling in journals, and find that it is important to many of my clients.    Add pictures, stickers, drawings, etc.  Be creative.

-Corey

Tagged ,

How Wellness Journals are Helpful when emergencies arise.

Individuals with mood disorders occasionally find themselves overwhelmed by their circumstances and find themselves speaking to a social worker in an Emergency Department of their local hospital, or calling a crisis line.  This is usually due to suicidal ideations or self-injurious behaviors or urges.  Many of these individuals have appropriate coping strategies however Depression robs them of their ability to think of and implement these strategies.   People with mood disorders find themselves unable to remember, or implement the strategies that they worked on with their primary therapist.

After finding themselves in the Emergency Department or on the phone with a crisis worker they are often asked by the social worker as to what strategies they have used in the past to deal with their emotional turmoil.  Once again their depression robs them of their ability to adequately recall times when they have successfully dealt with the depression.  If they are asked to think of ways in which they could proactively work towards dealing with their depression and anxiety, they are faced with the same problems.

This is why Wellness Journals are so helpful with individuals with mood disorders.   It allows them to plan for crises in advance.  It allows them to plan on what to do if they find that they are depressed.   It contains positive memories, self-affirmations, and reminders of who they are, and why they want to keep living.  It is the very nature of depression to rob clients of their ability to reason, to remember, and to plan.  It is why I encourage all of my clients to use Wellness Journals to deal with their mood disorders.

Tagged , ,

Wellness Journal List

 Things I like about myself
 Goals
 Positive Memories
 Photographs
 Bucket List
 People who love me
Wellness Plan
My Blue List
 Safety Plan
 Love Letters
 Happy Childhood memories
 My Red List (Self Injury, Anxiety or Anger)
 My greatest accomplishments
 Self-affirmations
 Spiritual affirmations
 My Favorite Things
Things I’m Grateful for

Tagged , , , ,

Using Composition Books as Wellness Journals

I have tried to emphasize the importance of using high quality journals when making a wellness Journal.   I have purchased cheap books in the past, only to have them fall apart.  In addition, a poor quality journal will have little value to the consumer, and the chances of it getting misplaced increases greatly.  Therefore I have encouraged the use of leather bound journals.   Unfortunately these journals are difficult to find for less than ten dollars.   Many of my favorite ones cost up to twenty five dollars.

Many individuals who suffer from Mood Disorders are considered to be seriously and persistently mentally ill, and are therefore unable to maintain employment, and are on a fixed income.  Often they rely on state income such as social security which makes it difficult for them to afford anything more than bare necessities.   In the past I have given those journals as part of the cost of doing business; however this can become quite costly.  An alternate option is to have them create their own journal.

A great option available to our clients is to make a journal using a composition book.   The biggest problems with this idea is the appearance of the books (yuck), and the size of the book, (larger than I usually like).   I have found a great way of getting around both of these problems.

The first challenge is the size of these books.  I prefer books that will easily fit in a purse, briefcase, or bag.  The composition books are larger than I would like.   To get around this, I try to purchase my composition books in bulk, usually around back to school time.   This year I spent 50 cents apiece for 40 composition books at a discount store.  I then took the composition books to an office supply store, and had them cut them down to size.   I had the books cut down to 5.5 x 7 inches.   It cost one dollar per cut, but I could cut three books at a time.  This averaged out to about 70 cents each to cut them.   The entire price for the finished composition books was less than $1.25 including tax.

The second challenge is the appearance of the book.   My favorite way of decorating these books is with spray on adhesive, and either scrap booking paper, cloth, or leather.  I place a large drop cloth on my kitchen table, open all the doors in the house (unless you want a headache), and then use the spray adhesive to spray on the paper/cloth/leather to be attached to the composition books.   I then attach the material to the journals.

If doing this in an office, you cannot use spray adhesive.   The smell is too heavy, and it will cause some serious headaches.  Instead I use double sided tape to attach scrapbooking paper to the outside and inside of the front covers.   Clearly I don’t like this as well, but it is a good second option.

While I am at it, I like to attach some blank paper to the inside of the book, allowing for doodling and coloring throughout the book.  Of course the more colors the better.

Good luck!

Tagged , , , ,

What is a Wellness Journal

Wellness Journals

A wellness journal is a tool designed for the treatment and wellbeing of individuals including those with mood disorders. Generally I like to help the client choose a journal that matches his or her personality. I prefer to take clients to office supply stores to find a good journal. I have found that journals at dollar stores are generally low quality, and tend to fall apart quickly. Alternately you can purchase a composition book and decorate it with the client. You can also find high quality handmade leather bound journals on the internet. I usually elect for something around mid-range. I have a drawer full of journals that I have picked up off the close out shelves at local office supply stores, book stores, or dollar shores (or Poundland if you are from the UK). Do not use a spiral bound notebook, as the client should take the journal with him/her in the unfortunate event that he or she is hospitalized. If it has a spiral binding, it cannot be taken on to Behavioral Health Units.

Finding an appropriate journal is an important part of the process. You want a journal that will mean something to your client, that won’t immediately be lost or thrown on a shelf; hence my appeal for leather bound journals.

It is important to note that this is not a “regular” journal. It is not used for writing our general thoughts, frustrations, etc. It is for the sole purpose of being and keeping ourselves well. Therefore nothing negative should EVER be written in the book. It is a positive journal. Please make the purpose of a wellness journal clear to your client. It is also not a therapeutic journal, as assigned by a counselor or clinical social worker. It is not a daily diary (those are a different section).

The first page will contain identifying information. For me, that means the first page contains an artistic rendition of your name with some basic contact information. If your client is artistic, they should be encouraged to add their artistic or crafty flair to it. Between each section of the wellness journal, there should be pages left blank, so that later on the client can add to the journal.

Spend time to educate your client on the following items:
1.  The purpose of the wellness journal is to help raise or stabilize the client’s mood when he or she is in a down or a slump, therefore no negative things should be written within its pages
2.  For the journal to be effective, the client must commit to be willing to read it when he or she is in a slump.
3.  The journal must be kept in a convenient place, so that it can be found and read when feeling down.
4.  Encourage the client NOT to use it for other purposes, such as keeping track of phone numbers or writing notes to oneself.
5.  Remind the client NOT to use it for homework assignments from his or her counselor or therapist if you are a PSR worker.
6.  Instruct your clients to use some pages for sketching, meaningful quotes, or inserting special photographs into some of the page.
7.  Encourage your client not to worry about grammar, spelling or use of punctuation.
8.  Wellness journals should be taken with the client in the event that he or she is hospitalized.

Tagged , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: