The unsent letter

Expressing Feelings I often encourage my clients to write down their feelings. I got inspired by Gillie Bolton who says ‘that people should be encouraged to write as they feel and to dump their thoughts onto paper’. I often have client’s who are wary of counselling or find it difficult to talk as they are unable to express their feelings. I suggest they write just a few words each day and often the clients start noticing a pattern with their thoughts or it can reveal why they are feeling depressed, stressed or anxious or it just allows them to sort out their feelings. Writing gives them the confidence to begin exploring their issues with me in great depth. Clients often tell me how inspiring and powerful they find writing therapy.

Writing therapy can also work for the unsent letter or email. Clients who are grieving over the loss of a loved one who had died suddenly often find it hard to move on as there are so many unanswered questions. I therefore encourage them to write a letter to the deceased person. When a person dies suddenly there are thoughts and feelings which are left unsaid and writing these down can allow you to try and reach a sense of resolution. Unrecognised emotions are often identified and the letter provides an outlet for them. Writing can often help the client process their emotions around the loss.

And after? Clients often do not show me their letters and they don’t tell me what they do with them. Often ripping up the letter or burning the letter can be helpful once those emotions are resolved allowing you to move on. Maybe with some it inspires them to write more. All I know is that it has been a helpful part to our therapy. Maybe you would like to try writing about your feelings? Just write as you feel. Don’t worry about the grammar, punctuation etc. Give it a go as you can do it on your own, anywhere. If you have tried writing therapy has it worked for you?

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Hazel Hill has a private supervision and counselling practice in Sheffield. As well as having a private Sheffield and online practice, her clinical experience includes working for IAPT, EAP's affiliate work, and charity. Hazel specialises in workplace counselling, bereavement, anxiety and depression and outdoors counselling. You can contact her on 07814 363855

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