Taking refuge in a local hostelry from the biting wind, I began to idly peruse You magazine. According to an article entitled 'Therapy at a Click', by Jane Alexander, the AOL Blog Trends survey "reported that nearly 50% of bloggers see blogging as a form of self-therapy". And further that, "six times as many people prefer to write their blog than seek counselling from a professional".
At first I thought, well, this is only an extension of using journaling as a means to mental well-being. On the other hand, perhaps not. When introducing the idea of keeping a reflective journal in my workshops, I emphasise the importance of safety, of not making ourselves vulnerable by sharing too much too quickly with people we are not sure we can trust. I have noticed that people who are suffering from depression, particularly if it stems from unhealthy relationships in the past, are prone to re-traumatising themselves through regurgitating their pain in ways which are almost impossible for them and those around them to assimilate. They don't get the response they want because it is all too much for their listeners, and they feel overwhelmed because they see their audience becoming scared or switching off.
A blog is a very public arena for showing our hurt. And the comeback cannot be relied upon to be a useful one - as was pointed out later on in the article.
In the journaling I advocate (and use myself), there is also a search for insight and understanding, an attempt to notice patterns and processes. Yes, there is the catharsis element, but beyond this there is the endeavour to make sense and break out of blind alleys and unwholesome loops. I wonder how much of this takes place during the "self-therapy" blogging?
Which is why, of course, I am saddened that seeking professional counselling is so shunned. Bloggers are beginning to express and explore feelings, trained counsellors can offer them the safe, boundaried sounding board which could move them on, further towards a greater understanding of themselves.