Writing For Self-Expression | Zachary Phillips | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Why Writing Therapy

    • 3. Free Write

    • 4. Review & Edit

    • 5. Narrative

    • 6. Poetry

    • 7. Class Project

    • 8. Recap

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About This Class

Self-expression and talking are by far the best ways to deal with stress and negative emotions. But what do you do if you don’t have anyone to talk too, or the topic is too sensitive to share? What do you do if you don’t have a therapist to unload to, or if they are booked out?

This is where writing for self-expression shines.

The page listens, it doesn’t judge, it has no time limits, and it can be symbolically destroyed. This means that you are completely free to express yourself with no fear of repercussion.

Just get a pen and a page and write.

In this course you will learn four different writing techniques, as well get access to my real examples.

Give it a try and see the benefits of writing therapy for yourself.
Contact Me:
Website: zachary-phillips.com | Social @zacpphillips

Further Resources:

Insight Timer: Readings & Discussions Of My Poetry

Writing Example (blog post)

Under The Influence: Reclaiming My Childhood (book)
Words On A Page: Killing My Inner Demons Through Poetry (book)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Zachary Phillips

Meditation, Writing, Self-Improvement


Zachary Phillips is a mental health advocate, author and mindset coach. In these roles he has helped thousands of people move from a place of barely surviving to passionately thriving.

He is the author of eight books including: How To Get Your Sh!t Together and Mindfulness: A Guidebook To The Present Moment, and the creator of the Depresso Espresso web comic.

He is also an instructor on Skillshare and Insight Timer, teaching mindfulness meditation, personal development, and creative writing.

He is a qualified school teacher, personal trainer, martial arts coach, and disability support worker. Working in these industries has given him a depth of experience teaching across multiple topics, to learners of all ages and ability levels. It has also enabled him to con... See full profile

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1. Introduction: looking to writing therapy for mental health and trauma. This course will be a little more confronting than my usual courses. The reason being is that I'm going to go in depth into how I use writing therapy to impact my mental state in a positive way to help me to work through the past trauma that I've dealt with and to be able to use it as a form of self care so that I can avoid the consequences off intoxication or self harm or other risky behaviors that I've been inclined to do. If you've struggled with a history of past trauma or neglect, if you struggle with a mental health concerns like anxiety or depression or borderline personality disorder or anything like that, writing therapy is a very good option. I must stress that if you are struggling with any of these sort of things to see a professional therapist talk it out and follow their instructions as well as take medication if that's appropriate. But the reason I use riding therapy in addition to those things is because the page listens . It's always available, it doesn't judge, And when I'm finished, when I got my full time when have released it. When I had that healing, I can choose to get rid of it and burn it. If I like, I can symbolically flush it down the toilet. So we're going alone in this course is the approach that I usually approaches that I used to riding therapy and the benefits that I found from it, as well as benefits that my clients are finding from it. My name's Zak Phillips. I'm an online mental health advocate, author and life coach. In this role, I've helped thousands of people move from a place of surviving to passionately thriving. One of the things that I suggest my client to do is riding therapy, so let's get into it. 2. Why Writing Therapy: So why writing therapy? Why not just regular therapy? Why not express yourself with Georgia painting or out? Well, I would suggest that everyone should have a psychologist or therapist that they can talk to . Talking therapy with an expert is a must, because they're gonna give you advice that you just can't think of yourself. And in addition to that, if you need medication, you can't get that from a page. But why did I use riding therapy? Well, if I alluded in the previous video, the patient listens. There's a lot of thoughts that go on in your mind. You ruminate on them. You think about them. All these negative self talk, all that stuff writing allows you to get it onto the page and write it down. And in the process there's a couple processes that I'm gonna teach you. But I like using words for a couple of reasons. One I'm an author would come to me, but more importantly than that, words are labels and we are told and labeled from our past by the people in that past. The teachers, the parents, the friends, all of that for the stuff we think in words often. So when we put those words onto the page, they that they hold a special mean now I know a lot of people find benefit from artistic expression, you know, drawing painting. They find a lot of been a benefit from dancing and moving their body. I don't means do that by all means. If that is the way that you express yourself and that works for you, please do so. But I know for a lot of people we talked and decompress using outwards. We don't necessarily talking decompress in those other ways if you don't go for it. But for the majority of us, it's gonna be with words we're gonna be talking to. Friends will be talking to therapists. Gonna be thinking and ruminating inwards, and Woods can help you to express what's going on in your mind. Even if you can't quite put a label to it, you might be going. I feel this cloud of emotion is overwhelming. I feel crushed underneath a weight off past depression. This is my inner voice. Do you see what I'm going for here? So I use words in that approach. So in the next few videos, I'm gonna give you a few different ideas as well as examples off how I use writing therapy . The first example. There's a few examples one is going to be just free riding. Now. There's gonna be an example of riding down events, specific events that happened in my past. Instead of getting getting to the bottom of that, no one will be using it to create poetry is a form of expression, and then the last one will be using writing therapy to deconstructing d program toxic or, you know, incorrect or basically mental state that overwhelming in the moment. But when you look back upon them, you might not think that way. So give you four different approaches to riding therapy with my own examples was getting. 3. Free Write: so the first approach to running therapy is literally just a free right. Get a pin, get a paper and just write. It will be a struggle. At first, it will be the You'll look at the blank page and you won't know what to say. That's fine. Literally. Right down. I'm doing this writing therapy because that told me to I feel stupid. What? Whatever. It doesn't matter, right? Just get yourself flying, and then you will find that your brain starts saying stuff. Write it down. Don't stop to edit. Don't stop to look back. Don't worry about spelling during that handwriting. Just get it down and just rotten, rotten, rotten Run, run, run, run! And what you'll find is is that you know, you might only do this for 5 to 10 minutes if that, but it will feel like this release. You feel like you're letting go of something inside because, in effect you are giving a voice to giving a voice to the fourth the inner demons, that stuff that's going on in there rather than blocking it off. In the previous video, the previous course that I did the previous school shake course was on managing strong emotions. This is one approach, and the analogy that I like is like a Dan. Your mind is like a damn there's that capacity and if you don't do anything about it, it's gonna explode and flood. What you doing by writing therapy is in his approach, letting a little bit of the water around you letting some of the water at yes is challenging less is traumatic. Old that's all stuff. But if you do nothing about it, you gonna have a breakdown, and you probably have had some in the past. That's why you're watching this video of being there myself. So with his first approach is literally just free riding, don't think. Don't even just just pen and paper and just start writing. And the reason you you'll probably be prompted by this based on something that happened on in a mental state you could start with, I am feeling and just right. How you feeling physically? This is what I feel in my body. This is what I feel in my mind, or this person said. This or this event happened. Use it like a general. The question is what to do with this paper afterwards, when you first start, When I first started, I literally burnt them, threw them in the bin. But what I now do with them is something that I'm gonna come back to keep them and review them. So the second approach to writing therapy will cover even either with this piece of paper that you've got. Give her that or you can keep it and review it for the next one. Now, the reason I like this as an approach is the page listens. You're talking this nonsense, this rambling in the world, and you can just get rid of it. You can bend. You can symbolically little literally light it on fire flushed down the toilet. Bury it. It's great for that. And the reason I like this is because you're not talking to a person. It helped. It helped me to open up to my therapist because I was able to put the words on the page. You put the words on the page. I could barely stay them, could struggling to speak. But now I can, because I was able to write it down. So if you do have the ability or you do have the bravery to keep those words and you've got that page. Let's continue with the second part in the next video. 4. Review & Edit: So the second part of writing therapy or what you can do with that page is a review process , and this process has proven to be quite beneficial for my mental health. You don't reviewing it for editing, like spelling or grandma or you know, any of that sort of stuff. But what you're doing is you're editing it to see how you realistically feel after the fact , because when you're emotional, you'll think in generalizations. You'll think in absolutes. You'll think in catastrophic feelings. It's always like this. It's never like that people, people hate me. All of those other things. It's hopeless, whatever. But when you review it from a comma, more detached mental state, perhaps a week later you will find that you don't feel like that way. Or at least it's notice extreme. So what I do is I write it down like we did previously. Then we'd like to review it, and I'll change it to be a little bit more closer to how I actually feel in a comment of state when I'm attached from it. So we're gonna do is I'm going to read you a little bit off what I wrote during one of these these sort of riding therapy sessions. And then I'm gonna read to you how I changed that. And I'm gonna put in the further resource is section a link to a blood post that has this in a physical form, so you can actually breathe through it. So what I wrote Waas A family visit leaves me unnerved. There also Nice. Everyone is it? I don't feel it. I feel attacked, judged and subject gated. They're doing nothing yet. I feel weight against me. They were not there for me when I was a child when I needed it. Now I'm broken. Life's passing me by and I don't know how to change Now That's what I wrote during the breakdown when I looked at it, reviewed it a week later when I was in a calm, rational, detached mental state. I changed it and sort of answered myself. This is what I write. I've learned that I need to focus on what is happening right now. Know what I think is happening now? No. What I'm imagining No, what I want to happen. But what Israel? Their stuff happened in my past and these same people were not there for me in that capacity when I needed them to be there. This is clearly had some lasting ramifications upon my mental state towards them, namely, I feel resentment and anger. However, that is not what's happening now, although it must be said that the presence does stir up a lot of emotions that can feel overwhelming. That's I need to make sure that I have my guard up for my mental state and limit my visits in terms of frequency, duration and mood. This will ensure positivity and some semblance of family connection both for my sake and my son's future relationships. I don't know if I should bring up the past with these people. I'm not sure if it's with it or if l have a desirable outcome. This is one to defer for my psychologists for consideration. I'm not broken. I just feel Bergen at the time. I do know how to change, heal and grow. I just felt trapped at the time so you can see there the 1st 1 I'm very using times like I'm working well, im not Berg. I found broken. Do you see the difference that so? The 1st 1 I got these feelings out, but in the 2nd 1 I'm sort of almost giving myself therapy. And I said to continue it and give myself an action statement. Also, like a personal martyr. From that, I recognize that at times my past unfairly colors my present. I will attempt to focus on what's actually happening, not on the story's my inner demons throw up at me. So like I said, open a link down to the blow post where I cover that exact example so you can read through it. And that bloke person will give you a specific instruction on how to do it yourself in a bit more depth. But the basic approaches this right down and then review and answer yourself. Be urine therapist. When you're detached, incom, give it a try. 5. Narrative: the next one of writing therapy I call a narrative approach. This is the approach that actually got me into riding and doing all the online stuff that I do now. What happened was I was writing down basically the events of my past for a little bit of a backstory. My my father was an addict in a drug dealer, and he also suffered from mental illness. His house was like a house that you would see on hoarders. It was terrible, was disgusting. And although we didn't hurt or harm me directly as physically the people in his house, his clientele were a different story. Now that's left me with a lot of complex issues from my past complex PTSD, anxiety to pressure association, a bunch bunch of issues that I'm working for and is part of the act of working through it. I decided to write down the story of my past, as in what happened to me, what happened to me as a child, and I ended up sharing it with a friend, and she suggested that sharing with the world would help people to todo going through similar circumstances. What I went through Teoh healing to recover because the stuff that I'm thinking in my mind would relate to the stuff that they're thinking in their mind. So what ended up happening was I wrote it down and ended up getting it released as a book called Under the Influence Reclaiming my childhood. Now everything I do with all my books, I release it for free online, chapter by chapter over time. So I'm gonna put a link down to my website, the under the influence section on my website where you can read these chapters. The reason I want to suggest that is because if you you're watching this call, so obviously you want to deal with, you know, your mental health news, running therapy and maybe having example off that narrative approach would be a good one. The only caveat with this is that when you write down a narrative or you're purposely dredging up stuff. So when you read my story, there's a lot of what a little charmer involved. It's, it's, it's It's very healing and cathartic to write, too, right, But it can be quite intense for me to even re right now, because it's bringing up those painful emotions in those memories. So what I would suggest before you start digging back and really honing down on this before you do something similar to this. But I wish I had have done more. So was toe have a psychologist in place that knew me that I could go to to have a strong supporting friendship group to have myself care down Pat to have a meditation practice onboard t exercising daily. Right to have all of that stuff down, Pat, before you start opening up the floodgates to emotionality. This really helped me help me to sort of address my mental state from an adult perspective . It sort of really look at it. Help me to re go every year. Okay, This happened. This is what it did to me. This is how I feel about it. Now. Help me to sort of like the book title suggests reclaimed my childhood. Just the caveat warning that doing so doing this approach, this sort of active sort of pulling from the past. Obviously we'll bring up a lot of emotionality, and you very much should have a support system in place. But like I said, if you're interested, you can grab the copy of the book, but there are chapters up online, and I'll be releasing chapters over time. So check it out, have a read. And if you consider it a good idea, right right on yourself, contact me, let me know, and we can talk about our shared past sa's well, because that's obviously another fight to get that therapeutic help and that support. 6. Poetry: the funnel perched running therapy that I use is to create poetry, literally turned my feelings in tow. The reason I like this is because it it forces me to sort of get the emotionality out and then twist that raw emotion into something that's as close to expressing what I'm feeling as possible. And the act of that creation off that emotion makes it my own. Now, once again, I put this into a book called Words on a Page Killing Into Demons through poetry. And this has collection off about 20 or so poems that reflect my estate at different times . I don't do poetry often, but when I do, it's because I've gone through or a major event has happened in my life and I'm sort of dealing with in coping with it. And it helps to really look at it in depth, get it on the page and then just let it go once again with all the writing therapy, like the poetry or all the narrative approach or anything. What you doing? You don't have to share it with anyone. I share myself with the world because I feel like I have the mental state and the capacity to do so. You do not have to at all. It's your personal thing and those things that I haven't shared with the world. But it is too close needs to personal at the moment. I want to read you a home from the book Words on a page. It's called Association in this, obviously about the concept of dissociation association. I see myself and I see myself seeing myself trapped in an infinite regress trade. I don't know what I am other than that I am the other separated. I sit in the eye of the storm, enjoying the false car elimination being the poison to escape my mind. My father's cursed passed down to me. Stunned. I should lean towards hype. Look for the light futility. These words have no meaning. I'm incapable of giving them any. No no happy endings. Their first beginnings. Just nothingness. Life? No, Obviously that's counts. Quiet, downtrodden and depressed and hopeless, because in that moment that's what I was feeling. But the process off sitting through those sorts off, putting it onto a page in making it look beautiful off choosing the specific words off. Playing around with a of writing it and rewriting it and thinking about it. That's taking away a bit of that power. So I hope to reject that to you. But internally, how I feel about that it's calmed me down. It enabled me to sort of accept that enabled me to move on. So, like I said, that book will be in the further resource is as well. So you'll be able to check out and have a little through the poetry that I front least a swell. And if you once again, if you've written some poetry, send it to me, I'm curious. 7. Class Project: the glass project will be to do a five minute session off writing therapy. Just free riding. Get a pin, get a page, set a timer and just right where it was coming out of your mind onto that page. Now, I'm not asking you at all to share this piece of writing therapy. You can choose to do so if you like. But all I want to do for the therapy for the class project section is do the five minutes on. Then just report back on how it made you feel. Okay, Just I did the five minute or more writing therapy session, and this is the benefit that it gave me. This is how I felt. I felt good. I felt out of it all. But I struggle to start any questions you have asked. There is low, but basically the project is this. Do the five minutes of riding therapy and then tell me how it made you feel. That's it. The reason I suggest that you do this and actually try it is because you watch this course and be like, Oh, this is a good idea. I should do it and then you want and, you know, we've all busy rolling all that's what stuff. I get it. But the idea is is that you've got this idea. You've got this ability, this this being practiced in terms of writing therapy now, so that when you need it, when something happens when a major stress happens our animation, major emotion, you're destroyed her mental state. You've got a system in place to help you deal with that. One of those systems should be or could be writing therapy. In addition to all of the other therapists and other things that you got going on. So do the writing therapy. Tell me how it made you feel. Good luck. 8. Recap: certain guys running therapy east for your eyes only unless you want to share it. The reason I recommended is because the pace listens. There's no judgment, and you can just destroy it. Afterwards, you can symbolically burn it. You don't get this from any other form of therapy or support. If you have to interact with someone, you have to be comfortable with that person. You have to develop trust. You have to develop a relationship, and I strongly strongly suggest you do, because a therapist has bean a major help in my life. However, the obvious limitations to another physical person, they know you, and there's gonna be a potential feeling that you want to hold back that you're ashamed, you resentment due to feed you to stigma due to what was going on in your mind. So the first approach, and the approach that I started with and what I suggest people use in addition to therapy, is writing therapy. Write down. How you feeling? Just get that free flow. Just get it out there, and then if you can't review it and sort of beat your own therapist and if you want, you can choose to go down the path of riding your own narrative or turning how you're feeling into poetry or other form of expression like that. Once again, the warning is is delving into it. Make sure you have the support mechanisms in place because it might impact you. My heal you, but you're more so might be. You might need a little bit of comfort and healing as well. Up there, you'll see something that says Review this class. Please do so it very much helps me to stay motivated to let me know what I'm doing. Well, what I'm doing, but I could improve upon is all of this sort, of course, is that you want me to do so If you like. This goes on, the more it give me a review and let me know if you seen other courses that you would like more of, or a topic that you like many cover. Say that in the review. And if you like me in general, that follow button and you can follow me on still share for more because I've got a bunch, of course, is already up, and I'm gonna have a bunch more coming out if you want to connect with me, you can do survival links that I've told you about in this course on my website at Zachary Huffing Philip, Stop, come or following on social media at Zach P. Phillips. I use social media as a form of writing therapy in the sense that I should one minute, one minute blokes on Instagram and Facebook and other places in which I'm sort of sharing how I'm feeling and a lot of people getting a little benefit from that. So exactly P. Phillips. Check it out. Yeah, Thanks for watching catch up.