How to Write (and Analyze) Your Journal for Self-Discovery

How I Journal as a Psychologist


Your journal can become a powerful tool for self-discovery. And in this article, I want to share with you the theories and tools I use as a psychologist to write and then analyze my journal to gain more insights into the fabric of my psyche.

If we haven’t met yet: My name is Alina, I’m a German psychologist and psychodynamic psychotherapist in training. I create content all about psychodynamic psychology, an approach to understand human nature that focusses on unconscious inner processes.

Why Bother With Self-Discovery?

It might have never been more important to cultivate self-awareness than it is today. With all the possibilities that the modern world offers, everything is changing so fast and we have to adapt so quickly, that we easily lose ourselves in the sea of a million possibilities. Following the constant demand for better, more exquisite experiences, it becomes much harder to know what it is that we want instead of just running to the next goal post.

As you might guess, my favourite way of self-discovery is based on psychodynamic theory. It’s an approach to understand human nature that started with Freud’s psychoanalysis and has developed throughout its 120-year old history up until today.

It includes attention for intricate unconscious inner processes, exploring emotions, identifying patterns, and inner conflicts, and I want to introduce you to some helpful basic concepts today.

Following the psychodynamic approach both in my job as a psychologist and in my own life, I believe that self-knowledge is freedom and that insights are liberating.

If you struggle with your mental health, please seek support from a mental health professional, don’t DIY this. But for everyone else: I’ve found journaling to…