It’s proven. A pen and a journal can provide the best therapy. But not just any writing…learn how to make that blank piece of paper work for you.
By Yocheved Rottenberg, Certified JTTS Instructor
Question: What do the following women have in common: A young kollel wife with one baby, a middle-aged kallah teacher, a single mother of a large family, a lively ganenet, a woman battling clinical depression, a retired grandmother who just made aliya, a limudei kodesh teacher, a woman in the process of recovering from a serious illness, a stay-at-home mother of a large brood, and a young woman going through a divorce?
Answer: They are a random sampling of women who have sat around a table doing writing together and growing immeasurably from it.
And they are always surprised. Women who said they never liked writing in the past have come to use writing spontaneously to help themselves at home. A woman who had been in therapy for years said that she moved further in these classes than months of therapy. A woman who never treated herself to any “me-time” found the experience transformative. A woman who was terrified to write about herself (“tell me to write about anything, just not myself”) found herself recommending the class to friends as she enjoyed it so much. A woman who has been on medication for years has been b”H off all medication thanks to her writing. A woman arrived at her weekly therapy appointment and wondered what to bring up as everything on her mind was already settled through the writing. A woman who came at the convincing of her friend, sure she would never connect to such a thing, is taking her third course.
Expressive writing is an evidence-based field that has helped hundreds of thousands of people outside our society, and is now coming into the frum world for the first time. Everyone wants clarity, meaning, and understanding in their life. Everyone wants to feel better, calmer, and more present. Sometimes you need to travel to the past to understand things, sometimes toward the future to home, but always a pen can lead you the way.
A journal is a therapist that costs the price of a notebook, is available for you whenever you want, and will never say the wrong thing. But just writing whatever comes to mind is not the most effective way of using this tool. In expressive writing workshops we learn proven techniques to make your writing effective, powerful, and life-changing.
In Pirkei Avos we learn “knei licha chaver,” buy for yourself a friend. It can also be read as “kaneh”–a feather– “let the feather be your friend.” Writing clarifies our thoughts for us and gives us clarity in our confusion. Writing connects us to our inner selves, our goals, and our neshama.
John F. Evans Ed.D, one of the pioneers of expressive writing, explains: “Writing-to-heal is even for people who don’t like to write. Research about expressive writing, the kind of writing that is deeply personal and is written for one’s own eyes only, demonstrates that writing: boosts thinking ability, increases working memory, reduces pain, tension, and fatigue, enhances mood and sleep quality, and positively influences immune system function.
Other studies suggest that significant mental and physical health benefits occurred in cancer patients who wrote their deepest feelings and thoughts for 30 minutes daily for five days. Writing about “your best possible self” resulted in a significant boost in mood along with a drop in illness when compared to those who wrote about neutral topics.”
How Can You Join?
Women from around the world can benefit from the magic that the women of Yerushalayim have been privy to. You are invited to join a Write Your Way Home international teleconference.
Beginning on Tuesday, November 7th, the course will continue for six weeks and include a weekly hour and a half teleconference, plus two weekly email prompts. It also includes joining the WYWH forum for everyone to share their writing experiences. The introductory price is only $90 for the entire course.
Give yourself a chance make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you. You’ll be glad you did.
About Yocheved Rottenberg:
Certified JTTS Instructor Yocheved Rottenberg is Therapeutic Writing Facilitator, and Educational Guidance Counselor certified by the Department of Education.
Her love of writing began when as a young girl all her fears, dreams, and thoughts filled many a spiral notebook. As she maneuvered her way through the steep upward climb of life, she discovered that when she wrote, she connected to herself in a deep and calming way, she connected to Hashem through positivity and hope, and connected to her inner strength in ways she never knew before. Determined to share this with others, Yocheved trained at The Yanar Institute, The Israeli Institute for Internal Family Systems, and the Therapeutic Writing Institute.
She brings with her years of experience in writing for publication and for self, as an editor at the Butterfly Magazine for single mothers, and founder and manager of the Newcomer’s Guide for 14 years.
This post is sponsored.