Assemblany: Towards Democratic Corporations

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Therapeutic Writing for Software Developers

I've recently re-discovered Gillie Bolton, an expert on therapeutic writing (see for example here and here). She writes in the context of medicine - doctors getting in touch with their own feelings and patients learning to understand themselves and come to terms with their illnesses. But it seems to me that therapeutic writing is valuable in any job that involves people (i.e. all of them).

For example, in software development, it ties in nicely with project retrospectives, where we seek to understand and capture what went wrong, what went right and how we can do better - and our feelings are a vital guide to this. But even on a week-to-week or day-to-day basis, it can be helpful to explain to oneself and thus explore our feelings about what we have done, are doing and will do, as well as about our team and our manager(s).

Dilbert is one extreme example of this - blogs are (in general) rather more moderate examples (very rarely are they completely factual). But blogs are self-censored for the sake of one's reputation - therapeutic writing can be written entirely for oneself.

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