Sentence Stems for the New Journal Writer

 

If you’ve suggested to your client that journaling would help them process their feelings and you’ve been met with a look of bewilderment, it might be a good idea to offer prompts to get them started.

The simplest and most structured form of journaling prompt is called the Sentence Stem. Give your client four or five sentence stems to get them moving in their journals.journal

Here are 10 to use as examples:

  1. Journal writing makes me feel…
  2. Right now I’m feeling…
  3. I wish I could…
  4. The person I want to be is…
  5. If I could change one thing about myself it would be…
  6. The person I am most annoyed with is…
  7. When I think of God I…
  8. The scriptures that help me most are…
  9. My mother is/was…
  10. My life has been a…

 

Once your client starts to feel comfortable with the sentence stem structure, have them come up with 10 of their own to use each time they sit down to write. Sentence Stems are useful for those individuals who may be reluctant to write, as well as those who you think might need some boundaries around their writing.

If your client is suffering emotionally, having boundaries around their writing will help them feel safe and less compelled to venture off into scary territory. It can also be helpful to tell your client to write for only five minutes at one sitting. In any case, the more boundaries you put around their writing, the safer they will feel.

Let me know your thoughts on this and your experience with this type of structure. 

Feel free to reprint this article.  Please include our website and authorship information. 

Kathy Bornarth, MA, LPC

www.nacjw.com

www.journaling4faith.com

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