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Writing for Change. Dannelle D. Stevens, Ph.D., [email protected] Portland State University Presentation for Texas A & M October 12, 2012. A veteran journal keeper.

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Writing for change

Writing for Change

Dannelle D. Stevens, Ph.D., [email protected]

Portland State University

Presentation for Texas A & M

October 12, 2012

A veteran journal keeper
A veteran journal keeper

  • “When I want to know what I really think, I write in my journal. It is more than a mirror. It does not reflect me. It is an evolving me: it is an organic process; it is discovery work.

  • Writing in my journal changes me. I am growing and I am evolving as I write.”

    • Barbara

A new journal keeper
A new journal keeper

  • “My journal has become a symbol of independence. It allows me the luxury of time to myself. My family would consider journal writing self-absorbent, selfish and a waste of time. I had to overcome and reframe this mindset. It was a slow process to change my attitude… I found that writing in my journal gave me justification to spend time focusing, venting or thinking metacognitively. The professor said it well when she said, “writing is thinking.”

  • Laura


  • To connect the power of writing with the power of reflection for personal change

  • To show how journal writing can propel change

  • To practice some strategies for change


  • Tell me some of the personal challenges that students experience..

Power of reflection
Power of Reflection

  • JK book, p. 37, Barbara quote

  • Objectifies experience

  • Deepens understanding

  • Promotes identity development


  • Think about thinking

  • Invite perspective-taking

  • Develop repertoire of strategies

  • Log of experiences to reflect on

  • Linked to success

Doorway to health
Doorway to Health

  • Significant health benefits

  • Decreases stress

  • Offers safety

  • Write about traumatic events

  • Explore alternatives

Journal keeping
Journal Keeping

  • Reflect in writing

  • Affirms growth

  • Documents growth

  • Fosters creativity

  • Becomes lifetime tool

An activity dialogue
An activity: Dialogue

  • Whom can you dialogue with?

  • What can you dialogue with?

  • Why dialogue?

  • Answer after activity.

Activity secret selves
Activity: Secret Selves

  • List 5 secret selves…

  • e. g. Marilyn the messy

  • Peggy the perfectionist

  • Judy the judge

  • Dianne the devilish

  • Suzie the studious


  • Write a dialogue with one of your secret selves. Use pattern below.

  • 10 minutes

  • D: Hello, Madeline the messy

  • MM: Hi, Dannelle, well, you discovered me.

  • D: Yep, I kick you out when I have visitors but, you are….

Activity listing
Activity: Listing

  • Listing: What lists do we have?

  • Quote from Rainer, p. 85, JK book

  • List:

  • The things that bug me…

  • The things I am grateful for…

  • The things I am proud of…

  • The things I do well…. Etc., etc.

How to keep a journal
How to keep a journal

  • Bound copy

  • Private: Can photocopy pages for reflections

  • Two-columns

  • Pages numbered

  • Table of contents

  • Front and back

  • Remember archival!

How to get students to keep a journal
How to get students to keep a journal

  • Must be taught!

    how to reflect

    need to practice

    Must be integral with your contacts

    Must be modeled

A final thought
A final thought…

  • Reflection with Metacognition with Health Benefits leads to powerful personal change

  • Thank you…..