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Letter to My Past Self: Reflection Exercise

Letter-writing is a powerful way to process emotions and promote healing.

The Letter to My Past Self worksheet invites clients to write a letter to a younger version of themselves during a time of struggle. This could be an experience of loss, betrayal, illness, a regretted action, a difficult transition, or anything that feels unresolved. The worksheet guides clients through the writing process and encourages reflection on the resulting insights.

Use the worksheet as part of a narrative therapy approach or as a stand-alone intervention for clients open to writing about a past struggle. The exercise helps clients process their emotions, understand what happened more fully, offer forgiveness to themselves or someone else, and work toward healing and closure.

It’s helpful to guide clients in their choice of what to write about. Some issues—such as significant past trauma—should be approached carefully and supported through ongoing session work. If desired, clients can repeat the exercise if they find it helpful. However, the assignment works best when clients focus on just one main issue per letter. Remind clients to take their time completing the exercise, which can be done in one long sitting or over days or weeks.

For related resources, see our Life Story worksheet and Trauma Narratives guide.

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2. Larsen, L. H. (2022). Letter writing as a clinical tool in grief psychotherapy. OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, 0(0), 1-25.

3. Pennebaker, J. W. (2013). Writing to heal: A guided journal for recovering from trauma & emotional upheaval. Center for Journal Therapy, Inc.

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9. White, M., & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative means to therapeutic ends. W. W. Norton & Company.

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