Tools For Self-Care – The Therapeutic Letter: A Great Way To Have Your Say!
What are your tools for Self-Care?
If I think of what I find helpful, it is to be reminded of the tools or wisdom I have for my use in times when I need them. So when you’re having a flat day, or an anxious day or any kind of day (or week or month for that matter) it’s good to know that there might be something to do, think or say to yourself that is going to make all the difference. So what are your tools and lifelines?
When clients come to me for sessions; whether it’s a one-off or ongoing, I always give the person a task to do at home; between sessions. The task is usually something that supports the process of therapy at the time. And hopefully, these tools then also become an enjoyable way of self-care and self-expression. So… self-care can actually become an enjoyable way of living.
Just to name a number of such tools:
– Journalling; for emotional expression, greater clarity and other written awareness raising exercises.
– Drawing: just drawing for the sake of drawing. Even doodling…. Or drawing your feelings.
– Meditation: listening to a guided visualization or sitting down for your own practice.
– ‘The Somatic Breathing Exercise’ (in which I instruct every client who passes through my door)
– Dancing: slow and/or fast, by yourself, allowing your body to move as it wants to.
– Treating yourself to a big and extended dose of doing nothing.
– Writing a therapeutic letter to someone towards which you have strong feelings (past or present; alive or passed away)
– Slowing your walk and slowing your speech.
– Observing yourself in interaction with others.
– Taking notice of what you enjoy.
What are your tools of self-support and enjoyment?
A real favourite for me personally, is the…
I think of using a Therapeutic Letter when someone has anger towards another person, but finds it hard to express that anger; because anger is a taboo emotion and shouldn’t be expressed; because it was so long ago and I get on really well with them now, and I don’t want to be angry at them (but the anger is still there); because the other person isn’t will or able to listen or hear what they have to say.
However it is not only about expressing anger… It can also be about the expression of other emotions (IE sadness or guilt) that have been hard to put into words; but the thoughts and feelings keep going around and around…. And around and around… :I
A therapeutic letter is NEVER given or read or sent to the person to whom it is addressed. Writing such a letter is for your own healing; a way to take responsibility for your own unexpressed feelings and to help you let them go. So you don’t have to shove them back down your throat or suppress them in other ways.
This is how it’s done:
1. Get yourself a pen and paper. (Yes paper; because it burns well. Your laptop doesn’t)
2. Give yourself some time to do this; after writing the letter there are further steps to take.
3. Start the letter with ‘Dear such and such’, or ‘Hi such and such’ or just their name. Then allow yourself to write anything you like. Don’t worry about grammar, expletives or lack of eloquence; just write what you have to say. Then, when you’re finished, sign off with your name.
4. Take a moment to sit with your feelings after writing.
5. Read the letter out loud; nice and slow. When feelings come up, allow for that before continuing. ( you can choose to do this with a witness; a good friend or mentor who doesn’t have anything to do with the person you’re writing the letter to).
6. When you’ve finished reading allow some time for feeling again.
7. Now you can choose to read the letter again straight away or do it later or the next day. You might find that the emotion lessens as you read it more.
8. When you feel you are finished with the letter you can burn it, tear it up ad bury it in the back yard or bury it at the beach.
This is a great tool to have in your tool box. It works for past hurts and also when you have current trouble, say with a work colleague, boss or friend. Enjoy!
Call me on 0418 882 166 to book your session!