We have no second thoughts about asking our clients to journal for a deeper understanding of self and their behaviors, but how often are WE journaling?
If you are asking your clients to journal, what better way to understand the process then to engage in reflective writing yourself?
Let’s look at the benefits to using journaling for self-supervision:
- Self-Awareness: Journaling as a regular practice can assist you with your own life and help build an awareness of self that can positively affect your ability to be a productive counselor or health practitioner. Even though we are helping professionals we are not exempt from our own trials and limitations. Just as those we help are broken, we too are broken. Journaling can help keep us grounded and in regular contact with the One who can heal our own pain.
- An Evaluation of Your Skills: If you are working with clients, keeping a journal can be a place to analyze how you’re doing in each session. Answer these questions: How did I feel after the session/meeting? Did I say what I wanted to say? What did I neglect to say or do? Did I assess the situation accurately? What obstacles from my own life may have gotten in the way of helping this person?
- Come up with your own list of questions to get you thinking about your effectiveness during your sessions. For instance, if you are a life coach you may want to focus on the topic of your coaching specialty to design the questions. The same is true for any other profession. The bottom line is that journaling your feelings before and after sessions can increase your awareness and effectiveness as a helper.
- Self-Care: Using your journal to monitor the quality and quantity of your own self-care will help keep you more refreshed and effective in both your work life and personal life. You could even keep a journal specifically for self-care, especially if you discover a tendency to give too much, too often.
- Reliance on God: Journaling can enhance your connection with God and your dependence on Him for everything in life, including your professional life. Try recording a short prayer in your journal before and after your supervision entries. Ask God to keep you focused on Him as the source of strength and effectiveness in helping others.
Journaling for self-supervision, regardless of your profession, can keep you connected to your own feelings and thoughts, provide a way for you to delve more deeply into connections with others, and strengthen your relationship and dependence on God.
Kathy Bornarth, MA, LPC
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