The idea for this exercise was born in a session with a client struggling with obsessive thoughts following her husband’s affair. The spiral bound notebook I was using for session notes prompted a new idea. I suggested she process work at challenging her thoughts in a more intentional way by flipping her journal. Since then, many clients have given testimony regarding the benefit of using the Flip Journal™ technique.
To practice basic flip journaling, follow these steps:
- Buy a spiral bound notebook with pages that are lined on both sides.
- At least once a day (or every time you feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts), open the “front” of the journal, turn to the first available empty page, date it, and then write out the full expression of whatever you are thinking and feeling. This is the “Recognize” phase described in the previous strategy.
- When finished, close the journal and flip it over so that the back cover is now being used as the new front cover. This simple behavior represents the “Reject” and “Refocus” phases of the previous strategy.
- Turn to the next available page, date it, and write out the thoughts or beliefs that are in contrast to what you just finished writing. Focus on what is true, rational, and hopeful. Whether or not you fully believe these things, write them anyway. This action is consistent with the “Replace” phase in the previous strategy.