Effortless Writing to Heal
the Harm of Domestic Abuse
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
I have been an artist of sorts all of my life. As a child, it was ballet and the integration of music and movement. And then, when they put a pen in my hand, little did I know I was holding the tool to release psychological trauma.
In the 80’s there was a famous piece of research that literally influenced my life habits more than any other psychological research known to me. Psychologist James Pennebaker. PhD was the conductor of this experimental study, noting through his investigation that those who wrote about psychological and physical trauma were less likely to have specific physiological symptoms later as compared to those who did not write.
In other writings, you may have heard me speak to the healing benefit of effortless writing as one experiences it in the moment. It’s a lifting of the traumatic conflict such that one can then witness it with detached observation. It is through this pure witnessing—void of emotion—that integrative healing occurs. (Please read that again.)
If you are working with me in psychotherapy, you know I will encourage you to grab your pen and anchor your felt meaning in the written word. It is through this process that one may sort out incongruence from within. It is particularly important if you are enmeshed in debilitating dynamics that interfere with your accessing your inner knowing...as in the case of intimate partner violence (covert or overt).
Why Write When You’ve Been Battered?
Take myself for example. Eighteen years ago, I picked up my pen (actually I went to the keyboard) and imaged my children’s faces surrounding my monitor. A hundred days later, I was looking at the first draft of “All But My Soul,” and the devastation I endured shifted—allowing me to find a healthy and productive path for myself.
I could have reached for (and become) that which destroys many people who fall through the cracks of system with domestic violence divorce. And I didn’t. I could have allowed the debilitating emotional pain to rule me and cause havoc in the temple my body calls home. And I didn’t. I’m convinced it is because I have been writing (and meditating) practically daily...all of my adult life.
It’s not a punishment, as some people think. “Like sit down and write.” No, no... it is a joy that draws me to the keyboard simply to be a witness to the words that flow from me to you.
If you are in a situation in which clarity and healing are calling, begin from a place of quietude, and let the imagery tumble forward. Don’t rush to the keyboard angry or disturbed… that’s what I call trash writing, which is much like screaming.
No, this is a different kind of writing in which you drill down on specific incidents bringing forth the full gestalt as you experienced in the moment. You may taste the affect (feelings) triggered by the event; but it carries you into an integrative mending mode, rather than into further demise.
If you are looking to heal the harm of domestic abuse, pick up your pen and allow your mind, body and soul mend. For more information on healing domestic abuse, visit http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/healing_from_within.php and claim Free Instant Access to The 7 Realities of Verbal Abuse. Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people worldwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.