I am going to present some evidence about reflective journaling’s role in psychological health. TO start, Hubbs and Brand (2005) describe three types of reflective journaling: (1) the dialogue journal which provides a means for the student and instructor to maintain a private dialogue with one another around any number of issues; (2) the class interactive (team) journal in which the student shares his or her written reflections with which is generally a narrative description of the student’s inner processes. Each of these types of journaling leads to a common goal which, “is for the student’s writing to demonstrate progress toward reflective and inwardly focused entries” (Hubbs & Brand, p. 5). Furthermore, this piece of research describes ways and means to implement reflective journaling practices that can lead to more and more complex meaning structures. Hubbs and Brand (2005) conclude, “students who master the skills of reflective journaling gain an ability to connect their internal processes with their external realities. The connecting of inner and outer world experiences is a process that demands self-awareness and self-knowledge necessary for the practice of counseling, as well as other professions” (Hubbs & Brand, 2005, p. 5). classmates, receives feedback, and subsequently constructs a written reflection considering classmates’ input; and, (3) the personal journal
Cyboran (2005) examined the influences of reflection on the self-perception of empowerment in the workplace. The research group consisted of non-management knowledge workers at a software company headquartered in the United States. The experimental group kept guided journals of their learning activities for three months. Immediately prior to and following the journaling period, both groups completed Spreitzer’s Psychological Empowerment Scale. Between-group analyses revealed that participants who kept guided journals were able to maintain a high level of psychological empowerment, while the psychological empowerment of the control group worsened. The results suggest that reflection through guided journaling may sustain the perception of empowerment for individuals who already possess a fairly high level of psychological empowerment.
Though I quickly provided some evidence here that reflective journaling can provide a measure of psychological empowerment. However, the implications that Hubbs and Brand (2005) and Cyboran (2005) put forth are in keeping with the body of literature about psychological health: The road to true and real empowerment is through an individual’s own meaning systems.