Counselling in Wokingham – Keeping a Diary

Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 –

This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work as a counsellor. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above

Sometimes it can be useful to keep a diary.  I don’t mean that in the same way as Adrian Mole or Samuel Pepys might have done – I am talking about a diary with a specific purpose.

Keeping a diary can be a good way to raise your understanding of a particular behaviour.  It might be that you have come to counselling to help you deal better with your anger, or with some sort of addictive behaviour – smoking or drinking perhaps, or to break a habit such as overeating, or to understand sudden periods of great sadness.

With all these examples – and you may be able to think of others – you may be saying something like : “I keep on doing this.  I want to stop, but I don’t seem to able to.  It’s just that sometimes I don’t seem to be able to stop myself, I just find myself doing it again”.

It seems almost as if you have no control over your actions, you just find yourself getting angry, or needing a drink, or nibbling at unhealthy foods.  If this seems familiar to you, then keeping a diary might be a good idea.

In the diary you write down your feelings, what happened to cause those feelings, where you were, who else was there, what you were doing.  You might not find this easy at first; the information you can fill in may be rather sketchy, but like so many things, you will get better at it with practice.  So start off writing down what you can, and stick with it, you will gain more awareness of your feelings as you go on.

The hope in doing this is that you will start to recognise patterns.  Maybe certain situations trigger your need for a cigarette.  Maybe you can start to notice early warning signs that you are becoming a little angry.  It can also happen that the process of thinking more about your feelings – observing yourself – slows things down, so that rather than going from happy to sad very suddenly, it becomes a much more gradual process.

Greater understand, greater awareness – and with that comes the opportunity to change.  If you can spot early warning signs, if you can slow the process down, you can do something about your behviour before you are out of control of the situation.  If you are more aware of what is happening to you, you stand a much better chance of doing something differently.

Counselling can help in this process, for instance by helping you to reflect on what is happening for you, and also perhaps by helping you to think of other ways of dealing with your feelings.  It is something you may be able to deal with on your own, but sharing your thoughts can definitely help to speed up the process.

About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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