This article is taken from Part One: Visual Journaling, Self-Regulation and Stress Reduction An art therapy perspective of visual journaling and its benefits. Published on October 23,
2013 by Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, LPCC, LPAT in Arts and Health @ Psychology Today
Visual journaling [aka art journaling] is a practice that has a
long history among artists. The 2009 publication of The Red
Book (Carl Gustav Jung’s visual images and accompanying
text) is considered by many to be the quintessential
example of visual journaling. Because of its history in art
and psychiatry, visual/art journaling has also become one of
the basic methods used in art therapy. Among creative art
therapy approaches to trauma intervention, visual
journaling has been used in a variety of ways to help
survivors not only cope with hyper-arousal and distress, but
also as a means of stress reduction and self-regulation.
In trauma intervention with individuals who have
experienced interpersonal violence, visual journaling can be
a simple, yet empowering experience of “telling without
talking” about abuse or assault. For child survivors of
abuse, loss or neglect, I regularly introduce a “drawing
journal” with specific child-friendly prompts and activities.
Visual journaling serves as a “transitional object” for these
young clients to continue the process of reparation post treatment and to remind them of ways they can self-soothe,
self-regulate and de-stress through drawing and other forms of image-making. In fact, I encourage everyone, adults included, to keep some sort of a visual journaling practice in between sessions and after art therapy has ended.
Like Cathy Malchiodi, as an art therapist I use a visual journal to help me to stay in touch with my feelings and my practice, allowing me to explore and think about things in a different way. I also recommend that the people I work with have a visual journal to use both when they are in therapy and also when they have finished. Most of them really appreciate their journal and in some cases the journal has become a focal point of the therapy as it contains reflections that may want to be explored with a professional.