Writing to Heal

by thegoodvillager

Try using writing as a healing tool when facing emotional pain due to loss and trauma.

Deep hurt that comes from a long ago trauma, a recent loss, or abusive interactions is always difficult to deal with. Many wish the pain would just go away, and whether truly believing it or not, act as though ignoring the problem will achieve that wish. Unfortunately, any temporary relief brought about by ignoring feelings of hurt is like putting a band-aid on a deep gash. The good news is that there are many different ways to deal with what you're experiencing that can be done on your own or with the help of a trained professional, and it's worth doing your homework to find the tools that will work for you.

One great avenue to explore when adding to your collection of effective healing tools is writing. Why might writing be appealing to you? I'm glad you asked! The list of positives can be quite long. Let's take a look at some of them here.


Sometimes, the idea of talking to someone about what's going on in your head can be intimidating to the point of deterring you from getting help. If you're not ready to talk to someone, you don't have to put your healing on hold. Pick up a pen or power up your computer and start escorting your thoughts and feelings to the outside world. When you are feeling more confident about where you stand on your issues, talk to someone. You may even want to keep your notes handy for reference.

On Your Own Time

Unlike scheduled appointments or support group meetings, writing can take place on your schedule. If you're consistently waking up at 3:00 am with your thoughts weighing heavily on you, it might be a good time to write.

A Good Companion

While you may decide that writing is going to be your sole outlet for healing to start (or to end), it also makes an excellent companion to therapy, coaching or support group work. Some coaches (myself included) may give you writing exercises to complete as you work on your healing goals. In addition, writing can be a good before- or after-session exercise. Beforehand, you can organize your thoughts and feelings so you can get the most of out of your paid sessions. Afterward, you can write down the salient points you pulled out of your session and reflect on them.

The Stuff of Ritual

Ritual is an important part of healing. It involves creating a set of actions that ties you to something you value. The ritual allows you to achieve closure and move on from what you have lost, while at the same time, honouring its memory and staying connected to it in a healthy way. Rituals can be conducted daily, weekly or at moments of need. Writing can be ritualized in the same way other actions can. Setting aside specific times to sit down, be calm and focused, and immerse yourself in your written output can bring order and relief.


Writing can be done anywhere and you can take it with you. It's a quiet activity, it doesn't require equipment or (much) money, it doesn't take up a lot of space, and it doesn't require special skills. Essentially, you could carry a small notebook and pen with you and write on the train or bus on the way home from work or school. Really, if the inspiration hits you, all you need to do is pull out your paper and write down what's going on before going back to doing what you were doing. And you don't need to be Shakespeare to get the job done.

Self-Guided Writing Course

Interested in taking a short, self-guided writing e-course?

I offer a variety at Choosing Life - The Write Way on topics of loss, healing, identity, freedom, and more.

Updated: 04/09/2013, thegoodvillager
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thegoodvillager on 04/26/2013

Thank you, Dusty. There isn't much that has the power to alienate and isolate us as loss - especially when there's no one supporting us through it. For me, and it sounds like for you as well, the page has been the best listener ever.

dustytoes on 04/26/2013

A few years ago I lost everything I had been working so hard for all my life. I wrote all the time because there was no one who could relate to my situation. None of my friends or family understood how desperate I was, so writing was a huge help. Your page is full of good advice.

thegoodvillager on 04/22/2013

Thank you! I'm really glad to hear you took your healing into your own hands. So important to have at least one outlet.

thegoodvillager on 04/15/2013

Absolutely! That is it. Writing brings joy, it can transport you, it can allow you perspective, it creates a memory, it can honour, and allow a release. So simple, but very powerful :)

Mira on 04/15/2013

Writing is more than just a healing tool. It can be a source of happiness. It's bringing me much joy and I feel it's helping me grow as a person. So writing does take you out of one place and into another. Which, I guess, is how healing works.

thegoodvillager on 04/11/2013

I'm so glad it resonates. What a wonderful way to honour your mother and support yourself at the same time. Courage and strength you have :)

katiem2 on 04/11/2013

Writing is a very good way to stimulate or support the healing process. I've just written an article about the death of my dear sweet mother, it's been hard to wrap my brain around what I was told repeatedly was happening, her illness, and now death so young. Writing is a great way to heal and maintain a healthy take on things regardless of how painful. This article is so timely, thanks I appreciate it greatly. :)K

thegoodvillager on 04/10/2013

Thanks so much for your comments olog and georgette!

georgettejohn on 04/09/2013

Excellent article and I look forward to reading more of what you write!

ologsinquito on 04/09/2013

Yes, it does take time to heal from trauma and writing is a very good outlet, whether anybody else sees what you wrote or not.

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