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Writing and the Healing Journey

Edition 101: Estimated Read Time: 5 mins

The Ritual of Writing Brings Healing

I have been writing ever since I can remember. From the early versions of journals to humorous attempts to be a poet, I have always enjoyed the healing quality of writing. The ritual brings a sense of peace. When I became a psychologist I found writing also became a way to crystalize my thoughts and theories.

General Background

When I write, I sit silently and focus on my thoughts. Writing is a practice in mindfulness. For people who have trouble sitting still writing can be anxiety provoking and stressful; however, in the depths of healing writing can be the lifeline to start the process in working with anxiety or betrayal.

Writing is ritual. Each morning, I do a daily meditation, sometimes 5 minutes -- sometimes 25 minutes. I begin, by asking the universe to allow me to release my trauma, my client’s trauma and start to transform my story into words that will guide me to heal and heal those who read what I write.

I write at exactly the same time, in the same place. I make coffee and light a candle, creating a sacred space for my words to come through-- and with out judgement let them organically cultivate my direction towards healing.

Routines and rituals make us feel safe, but they also serve an even greater purpose. They connect us to our higher power and when we link up with the universal source of love, creativity and empowerment, that’s when real healing can begin and we can manifest true greatness.

Has there been someone in your life (alive or deceased) that you have strong emotions around or a lack of closure with. These people can invite some of the following thoughts or feelings: Notice these feelings maybe judged as good or bad.

  • Negative feelings toward them? It could be an ex-lover, parent, spouse or work colleague - anybody that conjures up ill-feelings

  • Feelings of betrayal

  • Longing to be understood

  • Closure that never happened

  • A reassurance that you need validated

  • Desire to hear what you have always wanted

I am going to encourage you to take the “classic” writing a letter exercise and put a twist on it. The simple emotional healing technique I will describe below is one of the first release exercises I ever did to improve my emotional health, and it gave me a great sense of relief.

You will be taking on the role of the person and writing from their vantage point, sharing everything you ever wanted to hear. That’s right, you will pretend to be the person and explain, clarify or even apologize to you. Maybe someone close to you died too soon, or maybe you have had a rocky relationship with a partner going through an addiction. You are going to imagine that you are them and writing a letter that supports you in asking what you would like to have heard.

By taking this position you are potentially able to experience a multitude of things that range from closure or empathy to validation. Have a go yourself - it's worth the small effort it takes.

What you need

  • Computer or Pen / Pencil and Paper

  • List of people or a person you would like to write.

How to do it

Preparation In advance

  1. Create a safe and sacred space that you have devoted to meditating.

  2. Build an alter that speaks to you, with both spiritual and physical interests of yours being represented.

  3. Have your chair and pillow set up in a comfortable position.

  4. Collect your writing material and start.

Instructions for the Exercise (Time: 20 minutes to 60 minutes)

*Make the timeframe yours.

  • Dim the lights a bit, some enjoy the natural daylight too. Get Comfortable, open the timer on your phone, or ring the bell three times, this opens your contemplation time (pray, meditate, or simply take a moment of silence before you begin).

  • Now this is were it gets tricky.

  • Write a letter to you. Explaining anything and everything you would like to or wanted to hear from this person.

  • Create pictures, write poetry, or directly apologize to you, even better express all the validating qualities you embody.

  • After you have written the letter, please set it aside for a while.

  • Return to a safe place that you use for contemplation... again meditate, fall into contemplation.

  • And go back to the letter.

  • Read the letter out loud.

You must allow yourself complete freedom to write whatever you want

No-one else but you will ever see it, so swear and curse if you feel the need and write down everything that you feel about from the vantage of this person and your relationship with them. Write about why you feel the way you do. For me, this was a very powerful emotional healing technique.

Do your best not to feel any shame or guilt

Anything and everything that is you can bring these feelings up. So your best not to feel any shame or guilt about what you write - you are allowed to express your emotions in this way. Don't suppress or deny the way you feel, and get it all down on paper. No one will be judging you.

Dr. Ryan Westrum is a psychotherapist and specialist in working with addiction and relationships. For a complementary consultation please email him at or call him at (952) 261-5269

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