Thursday, September 5, 2013

Madeleine McLaughlin – Why Writing Is A Form Of Personal Therapy

Why Writing Is A Form Of Personal Therapy

by Madeleine McLaughlin

We all have inner thoughts and emotions, a lot of them socially unacceptable. To me, that’s why writing can also be considered therapy. It can be a way, for some people, of not actually becoming sick with thoughts that can’t be stopped. Writing about those thoughts that circle around in your head gets them out and done. Putting your fears down and having other people like what you did with them can be cathartic.

When other people see your fears and agree that they’re afraid of those things, too, it means you’re not alone in the world. You’re not crazy (which is one of the biggest fears) you’re normal. It can work both ways, too. Take the subject of mental illness since I mentioned crazy.

The writer can either develop a character who is considered crazy or she can develop one who is afraid of crazy. Both can be sympathetic. And there’s bound to be a lot of people who agree with both sides.

Which is another reason writing is therapeutic. The writer can play. The writer can try on characters. The loose girls you remember from school can be great characters. And the writer doesn’t have to be loose herself. Any thoughts she had about them can be written down and made palatable. She can sympathize with them or even demonize them. It’s all fair and once it’s on paper, it’s out of your system. We all know of someone who carries around childhood memories, unable to rid themselves of the emotional power of them.

The writer has a great way to rid herself of that power. Or else they can work with the power of their emotions and write one kind of book. For instance, if they happen to have been traumatized by bad experiences in church and need to harp on the inconsistencies of religion. They can do that by making a pastor into ‘the bad guy’ or they can just lay out their point of view about hypocrisy.

Also, the writer can control their ‘therapy’. Unlike a real therapy session where the therapist takes control and tries to lead their patients to some conclusion about the world, the writer can decide what to do with her emotions. How to undo their power over her. She doesn’t have to be told that she’s being too aggressive or too passive, for that matter.

The writer can kill a character when it’s necessary, or keep them alive to have a moment of enlightenment. She can be as aggressive or passive as she wants. And at the end, no matter what the action or plot, when a writer has put that last word on the page, she feels almost spiritual. Emotional satisfaction no matter the outcome.

A lot of people would love to have that.

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Genre – Horror

Rating – PG

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