Book Review: Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life by Mari L. McCarthy

Monday, April 11, 2011
review by Marcia Peterson

As an avid journaler who’s recently been slacking off, a reminder about the wonderful benefits of journaling was a welcome assignment. Journal/Writing Therapist Mari L. McCarthy is passionate about helping people use journaling to create a better life, and she inspires many though her site Create Right Now. Her latest publication, Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life, focuses on journaling for the purposes of self-discovery.

In this 32 page e-book, McCarthy goes over the fundamentals of journaling, as well as some specific journaling techniques. You’ll learn how to get started, why handwriting is best, and how to make journaling a priority. If you sometimes feel that spending time journaling is selfish, you’ll even find out how not journaling is inconsiderate to those around you.

Who Are You? contains a compelling discussion about why journaling matters, which is an important part of the book. Emphasis is placed on the benefits of keeping a journal, including connecting to inner wisdom, improving your attitude and achieving significant breakthroughs or epiphanies. Specific reasons to journal are also suggested, for those who might need ideas. “You might simply wish to make a record of your life, or some aspect of it,” McCarthy writes. “Or maybe you’re working toward a goal and you want to journal as a way to get motivated or organized. You might use your journal as a friend when other friends aren’t around.”

A section on the seven principles of journaling provides some useful ideas for journalers. McCarthy maintains that there are several ways to journal and you may want to try various methods. For example, you could draw instead of write, or write at a different time of day than usual. Another principle states that the times when you least feel like journaling are the times when you need it the most. I’ve found this to be true, since allowing myself thirty minutes on the page always ends up being cheap and effective therapy during stressful times.

The final three chapters contain journaling prompts to spark writing and elicit self-discovery. The prompts are geared toward personal growth, such as journaling a letter to your former self, journaling with your inner critic and inner coach, and exploring your dreams through journaling. Step by step instructions and tips are included for each type of prompt.

In conclusion, Who Are You? How to Use Journaling Therapy to Know and Grow Your Life does a great job articulating the rewards of starting a journaling practice. It offers inspiration and exercises to try, and puts you in the mood to get writing as soon a possible. Journaling is a gift you give to yourself, so use whatever tools motivate you to give it a try.


Petula said...

Great review. It sounds like an interesting e-book. I'm just wondering if it'll add to much to my to-do list. I haven't been journaling as much as I used to though.

Mari said...


This book is an easy read and I know it will give you some ideas on how to put You/Journaling back into your life. BTW, when you purchase 'Who ARE You?' by April 30,your name will go into a drawing for a free 1/2 consultation with me. WriteON!

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