Journal to the Self: Twenty-two Paths to Personal Growth by Kathleen Adams

Book Review by Ruth Folit

Journal to the Self: Twenty-two Paths to Personal Growth by Kathleen Adams is quickly becoming a classic in journal writing circles. Ms. Adams, the director of the Center for Journal Therapy, wrote this book in 1990.  She shares her insights and long experience about keeping a journal and learning from it.  Her informal writing style belies the depth and breadth of the knowledge she imparts.

Adams offers a dozen reasons why people journal. Then she follows with general suggestions about journal writing. This book was written in 1990, before LifeJournal existed, so her discussion about choosing journal materials does not include LifeJournal. Today, however, Kay Adams endorses LifeJournal, and recommends it for those who keep their journal on their computer. You can find Kay Adams’ review of LifeJournal at

The backbone of Adams’ book is “The Journal Toolbox,” a description of a wide variety of journal writing techniques that includes excellent explanations and examples.  She discusses springboards, clustering, dialogue, dreams and imagery and others.

I highly recommend this book to any journal writer, from novice to the experienced. I’d be surprised if even long term journal writers don’t find something new to apply to their own journal keeping.