Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Journaling Sparks Creativity in Therapy

Journaling is a channel through which a person can process their emotions in a healthy way, the director of the Counseling Center said.

“Getting out our feelings and having the opportunity to express and process is very important,” Dr. Candace Layne said. “Doing so visually can be very hopeful to read, process and also helps to keep track
of progress and goal setting.”

Write It Out is a new therapy group on campus that allows students to become more comfortable with their emotions through journaling and group discussion.

“This is our first time having this group, and we’re excited to see if there is interest,” Layne said.

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Inspired by a similar group at Cornell University, Ashley Coon, mental health specialist and leader of Write It Out, said, “I just thought it sounded like a really good, innovative and more exciting kind of group, so I thought it was a good one to try to get off the ground here at Marshall University.”

A typical Write It Out meeting, Coon said, begins with psychological background and open discus-
sion of the topic; for instance, the topic of the first meeting (held on Tuesday, Jan. 23) was understanding and coping with emotions.

Next, participants write about the topic in their journals for five to 10 minutes. The Counseling Center provides the journals to the group members.

Coon also provides prompts for students to write about, but she does not discourage creative liber-
ties in their writing.

“This is not strict or rigid,” Coon said. “This is more about self-exploration and getting to know yourself better, so I definitely support creativity.”

After writing down their thoughts, students should be prepared to participate in a group discussion, if they feel comfortable sharing their feelings.

“I will not make anyone speak if they’re not comfortable doing so, but I do think that group settings
can be more beneficial when there is more of an open conversation with the group members and the leader,” Coon said.

Once the meeting concludes, Coon said she gives participants one journal prompt to complete before the next meeting so their skills can be utilized outside of the session.

The practice of journaling is on the rise, as Apple recently added the Journal app to iPhones updated to iOS 17.2. Layne described the app as “an excellent tool.”

Regarding why Apple manufactured the app, Layne said, “I feel there’s a push for many strategies that can assist one with overall mental health and wellness.”

“I think the push is for improved mental health and wellness, reducing the stigma and opening the conversation about mental health, self-care and overall wellness,” she said.

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