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Saturday, April 18, 2015

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Similar concerns have been raised about journalling, which was at one point touted as the solution to all ills, a way to tap one's inner creativity (Julia WhatserName) etc. Now, the Puritans used the journal as a substitute for the confessional, as a structured and disciplined way to examine one's actions and conscience. Phillip Greven alludes to this http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo3630876.html
(will send other links as I remember them). There was a guy my old boss waxed rhapsodic about, Ira Progoff who had a business of Journalling Workshops. Of course, it's good to write, and to reflect. But it can be quite dreadful for people in certain states of mind, who end up perseverating on particular unhealthy,self-pitying, other-blaming themes.

With meditation, I must confess that i have always been the dud in the mandatory meditation group (have had many bosses before this secular day job who forced us to meditate). I can't do it, unless the leader is some congenial type with some less than vapid guided story line that intrigues me. But blank, I tend to come up with laundry lists, or horrific stuff or trivia. If depressed or struggling with traumatic events, I become overwhelmed. Am aware enough of this starting to happen that I consciously direct my thought to planning dinner, but a newbie could become truly distraught.

The whole business of "being in the moment" that is so beloved even of good therapies like DBT only works if a person is not living thru a ghastly situation. There are plenty of living hells a person is living thru when defence mechanisms like intellectualisation, sublimation, humour, even dissociation are adaptive temporarily. I've been in groups (when I worked in an agency with abused kids) where well meaning volunteers or new workers wanted to use meditation and it was really NOT a good idea. Too much came up, unpredictably....Don't call up demons you aren't ready and able to help the person vanquish.

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