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The Act of `Googling`: A Gateway to your Subconscious Thought Process

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Psychoanalysts and psychotherapists such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung,  Marion Milner and Ira Progoff have all used journalling as a tool to gain a personal insight into their client’s subconscious. Writing a journal is a form of expressive therapy allowing one to process his or her emotions and most importantly decompress. 

The purpose of writing therapy is that documenting ones emotions gradually eases feelings of emotional trauma.  Writing therapeutically enables one to track his or her emotional responses to distressing events, to identify triggers, and to identify his or her  unique patterns of behavior.

In the fast paced world of today, however, pen and paper is becoming extinct. Life has become so instantaneous that rather than ponder the depths of our minds with a pen and paper, we turn to the internet. One notable platform we ask our deepest, darkest questions to is pulsing with activity and secrecy. Google. Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Our innate need to translate our thoughts, fears, and questions to the written word still exists; however, we are no longer alone in this thought process. Instead we are receiving answers and advice from the World Wide Web. A vast pool of anonymity, where one can disown his or her words through the coverage of an alias.

In the context of psychotherapy, I will occasionally ask clients ‘What do you find yourself googling?’. They will often respond that they are googling people in their lives they have lost contact with, jobs that they dream of, and physiological symptoms that evoke fear and suspicion. We cannot disregard the wealth of information our internet search history provides us with–a knowledge of our internal processing, our dreams, our hopes, and our fears. When one plucks up the courage to review the search results, it is often striking to see that a pattern of behavior may emerge. Consequentially, we are forced to take ownership over our thoughts and maybe, just maybe, put those thoughts into action.

Written by Gillian O'Shea Brown, LCSW-C