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"Each human life has the potentiality of becoming an art work." -Ira Progoff

A High Art
Journaling continued to grow in popularity right up to the Victorians in the nineteenth century, who raised the concept to a high art. Every well-born young lady and gentleman was expected to keep a journal as a vehicle for self-examination.

Within the pages of expensive, leather-bound volumes, young women and men of gentle breeding wrote their deepest secrets. In an age that valued self-control and a tight reign on emotions, those who kept a journal found a safe haven for self-expression.

Dear Diary
By the 1950s, nearly every teenage girl in America kept a diary. You know the kind I'm talking about. In fact, you probably had one. I sure did - one of those little books with a lock that could be used to keep nosy siblings from peeking.

If you went back now to review the entries, you'd probably laugh out loud at the things you wrote. Even though that new boy at school didn't talk to you, the sun still came up the next morning, and the earth still turned on its axis. But then, most teenage girls grew up and forgot about their diaries.

The Father of Modern Journaling
During the same time that teenage girls were pouring their hearts and souls into their diaries, Dr. Ira Progoff, a renowned psychotherapist, asked some of his patients to do the same thing as an experiment. He encouraged them to keep journals as a way to achieve personal growth and to work through some of their problems. He called these journals "psychological workbooks," and he wanted his patients to record anything that came to mind, describe their emotional state, and report whether they felt something was missing in their lives. The important thing, Dr. Progoff felt, was to put their thoughts down on paper.

Shunning the traditional model of diagnosis and analysis, he instead focused on the spiritual and creative potential within the individual. He believed in journals as a very powerful tool and established the intensive journal method that he taught to nearly 200,000 people before he died in 1998 at age 76.

Progoff left behind the rich legacy of his journaling method in his books, most notably Writing to Access the Power of the Unconscious and Evoke Creative Ability, which was published in 1992.

The Progoff Intensive Journal Program


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