Welcome to WYG's Grief-Journaling Intensive
Welcome to WYG's 30-day grief-journaling intensive. We're so glad you've decided to explore journaling as a coping tool for examining your grief. Before we get started, there are just a few odds and ends we have to cover.
A few things we want you to know:
1. The aim of this course is to help participants identify and explore journaling as a coping tool for grief.
2. This course should be used as a supplement to mental health coping that takes place offline. It should never take the place of the support and guidance of a therapist or other medical professional.
3. If you ever think that journaling about your grief is beginning to feel overwhelming, take a break (we'll cover this more in-depth throughout the course).
4. If you need to get ahold of a class administrator, please contact: [email protected]
How the Course Works:
Although online learning is becoming more and more common, most people are accustomed to a traditional in-person learning experience. The same can also be said for therapeutic groups and grief support. We realize learning about grief in an online environment may seem pretty foreign at first, so in this unit, we want to orient you to the WYG classroom.
To conceptualize the e-course experience, we want you to think about in-person classroom experiences that you've had in the past. Although this course is entirely online and self-paced, we think you'll find many of its elements correspond to traditional learning experiences that you may have had in the past.
The Online Course Classroom:
The fact that you made it this far means that you've already figured out how to start the course. Now that you have begun the course, you have entered the e-course classroom. The lessons we will cover are listed on the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. The navigating bar at the top of your screen is the key to marking lessons as complete and moving back and forwards from unit to unit.
This course will walk you through 30 days of grief journaling. We use the word "days" because, ideally, participants will tackle one prompt a day. Some days (approximately every other) have a longer lesson, along with the daily prompt. There are 15 lessons in this course, typically they should take you no longer than 20-30 minutes to read.
As you know, this course is self-guided, which means it is up to you to "guide" yourself through. You decide when to log on, you choose when to read lessons, and you decide when to complete activities. However, you are ultimately free to move from lesson to lesson at your discretion. For anyone worried about staying on track, we will provide a few tips for success in the next lesson.
The instructors for this course are Litsa Williams MA, LCSW-C, and Eleanor Haley, MS. We are the founders of the grief support website What's Your Grief. We are Baltimore-based mental health professionals with 20+ years of experience in grief and bereavement. More importantly, though, we both experienced devastating losses and have dealt with life after that loss. If you ever need to get ahold of us, you can email us at [email protected]
Classmates and Class Discussion
Again, the course is self-paced, so learning is more independent than in traditional classroom environments. That said, there will be other participants navigating through this course at all times. We encourage you to share your questions and comments related to lessons in the discussion area at the bottom of each page. Your questions, reactions, and insights may provide comfort, support, or guidance to the next participant who comes along.
Deciding How to Journal
When you see this icon you'll know it's time to get out your journal and complete a prompt. There are a few ways you can complete your journaling for this class. We encourage you to keep your journal wherever you feel most comfortable.
For those who like to type:
1. You can keep your journal in Word (or whatever word processing software you use). You can keep one running document or create a journaling folder where you save a new document each day – really, whatever works for you.
2. You can use a journaling app. Yes, there are journaling apps! Though we think it might be tough to complete all your journal entries with your thumbs on your phone, we do know that some people are professional thumb-typers! We will leave it up to you to investigate the best app for your operating system, a quick internet search should turn up several helpful articles.
3. You can use a journaling website. Many websites allow you to create an account so you can have a private, online journal. If you share a computer with other family members, or if you don't want to worry about backing up all your entries, this is a great option. Again, we'll leave it up to you to research the options that suit your needs.
4. Write a blog. If privacy isn't a concern for you, you can always use a free blog platform like wordpress.com, blogger.com, or tumblr.com. This is a good method if you want to share your writing with others. You can always choose to take your writing offline on days when your journaling gets too personal.
For those who like to write:
We feel you! Some people love a good ole pen and paper. If this is you, stock up on your favorite pens and choose a good journal. Just because this is an e-course, doesn't mean your journal has to be an e-journal.
For those who like to talk:
Though many of us think of writing when we talk about journaling, advances in digital recording have increased the popularity of audio journaling. Audio journaling is when you speak your journal entries into a recorder so you can listen to them later. There hasn't been any research (that we know of) showing if this is any more or less effective than physically writing/typing. Still, we want to give it a mention in case you already audio journal or want to give it a try. Many people have a recording function on their smartphones, and there are also audio journaling apps you can download.
Now let's get started!