While ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) can be transformative on its own, the integration of therapeutic practices like journaling can enhance the healing process significantly. But knowing what to write while you are receiving ketamine therapy can be tricky for some, especially if you are new to journaling. In this post, we will discuss the values of keeping a diary during your mental health journey and provide you with a few journaling prompts to help you get started.
Science Supporting Journaling Prompts for Mental Health
Journaling, in general, can have a positive impact on mental health. For example, studies have found that writing about an upcoming stressful event can lessen the severity of depressive symptoms regarding that event.
One study, in particular, asked students to write thoughts and feelings about a looming stressful event (their graduate entrance exam). A control group was asked to write about a trivial topic. Unsurprisingly, the cohort that wrote about the exam experienced a significant decline in depressive symptoms as compared to the control group.
Interestingly, that same study found that writing down concerns did not reduce the frequency of intrusive thoughts; rather, it lessened the ability of those thoughts to cause anxiety and depression.
Why is Journaling Beneficial During KAP?
Just as journaling can be beneficial to help you process a stressful event, it can also be helpful during your ketamine treatments. Keeping a diary has many benefits, including:
One of the primary benefits of journaling after KAP is the opportunity for enhanced self-reflection. Ketamine can help you access deep emotional states and memories, and journaling allows you to capture and explore these experiences in a structured way. You can revisit your journal entries as your therapy progresses, gaining further insights and self-awareness.
KAP can stir up intense emotions, as it often brings suppressed or repressed feelings to the surface. Journaling provides a safe and non-judgmental outlet to process these emotions. And, as we discussed above, putting these feelings on paper can significantly lessen the negative effect they have on you.
Journaling can serve as a valuable tool for tracking progress in mental health treatment. Patients can record their thoughts and feelings before, during, and after KAP sessions, enabling them to observe changes and patterns over time. This tracking can provide concrete evidence of growth, which can be motivating and reassuring during the recovery journey.
Identifying Triggers and Coping Strategies
Individuals can also use journaling to identify triggers that tend to exacerbate their mental health issues. By documenting daily experiences and emotions, you can pinpoint specific situations or stressors that lead to negative reactions. You may notice, for example, that your symptoms amplify when things are too quiet, or during the colder months. Knowing your triggers can help you and your counselor find healthy coping strategies.
Strengthening the Therapeutic Relationship
Journaling can serve as a bridge between clients and their therapists during KAP. Sharing journal entries with therapists provides valuable insight into a patient’s personal journey, allowing therapists to tailor their guidance and support more effectively. This collaborative effort enhances the therapeutic relationship and fosters a deeper sense of trust, which is crucial in achieving positive outcomes.
Journaling Prompts for Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
In order to get the most out of your journal entries, it can be useful to have a few questions in mind. Journaling prompts are not necessary, but they can help you focus your feelings and ideas. If you are unsure what to write about, start by asking yourself the following questions:
“How do I feel about keeping a journal?”
Perhaps you are having a hard time starting a journal because you feel it is silly, or that it won’t be helpful. Maybe you are embarrassed to write your thoughts down, or worried about having tangible evidence of your mental health struggles. Write all of it down. The most important thing you can do in journaling is be honest. You cannot make a mistake, as long as what you are writing is true.
“What are my worries about Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy?”
Most people have some reservations about starting ketamine therapy. Will it work? Will I have a negative experience? What if I learn something about myself that scares me? Again, write it down. You will go into your first session feeling less anxious, simply having articulated your thoughts in writing.
“What do I hope to gain from KAP?”
What is your ultimate goal with ketamine therapy? Knowing, of course, that ketamine is not a cure-all, what would you wish to accomplish if you could have the best possible outcome? Would you apply for that job you’ve always wanted? Would you finally be able to pursue a relationship? What does your life look like without your symptoms? Optimism for your mental health can help you and your counselor align your therapy with your deepest desires and goals. You can revisit these goals on bad days, or if you feel you are not progressing as quickly as you’d hoped.
“What did I feel during my KAP session?”
Once you begin your sessions, journaling after each one can help you process what you experienced. Much like the dreams we have, the things you see, hear, and feel during your KAP can be forgotten if you don’t write them down. The efficacy of your ketamine therapy can be enhanced if you are able to revisit what you experienced during your session.
This is especially true if you feel you had a negative experience with ketamine. What was it that made you uncomfortable? Is it something you have been trying to avoid or suppress? You can gain a measure of control over these uncomfortable feelings by writing about them and discussing them with your counselor.
“What is something I did today that I couldn’t have done before?”
This question can be useful in tracking your progress. Give yourself credit for accomplishing something you couldn’t have before starting KAP, no matter how small. If you made your bed, washed your face, and got dressed every day this week, write it down. These little things are an indication that you are starting to want to take care of yourself again.
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy in Destin
If you are struggling with treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, chronic pain, or another mental health issue, please call the Crane Center in Destin, Florida. We offer traditional and alternative therapies, including KAP, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Call or go online today to get started.