Visual journaling is an effective tool in the field of arts therapy. It combines written and visual languages to express feelings, thoughts and emotions. The journal becomes a place to play with ideas, to contain emotions and life’s dramas, and to serve as a source of self-care for the person who uses it.

The practice of visual journaling is used particularly in therapy as an approach to assist recovery from trauma or loss, PTSD, anxiety, and as a form of stress reduction. It assists emotional reparation and supports self-regulation and stress reduction.


• Relax before you start working on your own visual journal: take a few deep breaths and get started. Don’t overthink anything, and have fun!

• Record the date you completed the image and a title or other words that may come to mind.

• Consider keeping your journal in a safe place, especially if writing about traumatic events, losses or interpersonal problems. 


• “How Do You Feel Today"? – Keep a feelings journal and spend some time everyday drawing (or other art mediums you might prefer) “how you feel today”.

• “Photo collage Journal" – Collect your favourite images, words or quotes from magazines or books, as well as small items that can be easily pasted on your journal. The process focuses on assembling, organising, establishing relations and priorities amongst the elements.

• “Non-Dominant Hand Drawing” – Use your non-dominant hand or even close your eyes while making a drawing in your journal. This practice provides a spontaneous form of expression that helps individuals let go of control and judgment about creative output.

For more visual journal themes and directives, please take a look at this handout here.