Interactive Journaling

Interactive Journaling ® is included in SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Interactive Journaling is a goal-directed, client-centered model that aims to reduce substance abuse and substance-related behaviors, such as recidivism, by guiding adults and youth with substance use disorders through a process of written self-reflection. The model is based on structured and expressive writing techniques, principles of motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral interventions, and the integration of the transtheoretical model of behavior change. The approach helps participants modify their behavior as they progress through the stages of change that underlie the transtheoretical model: (1) precontemplation (not intending to begin the change in behavior in the next 6 months), (2) contemplation (intending to begin the change in behavior in the next 6 months), (3) preparation (intending to begin the change in behavior in the next 30 days), (4) action (practicing the behavior for less than 6 months), and (5) maintenance (practicing the behavior for at least 6 months).

             The focus of the Interactive Journaling model is the participant journal, which includes worksheets with nonconfrontational questions intended to help participants think and then write about their substance use problem and its association with their current negative life situation, which may include incarceration or arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). Using the journal, participants explore and resolve a variety of topics, including ambivalence toward their substance use, recognition that they have a substance use problem, the connection between substance use and their current situation, health and other consequences of substance use, and irresponsible behavior while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Questions also guide participants in considering their motivations for change, exploring behavior change options, and developing a plan with target behavior-related goals and a timeline for achieving these goals.

Miami Substance Abuse Therapist