Self authoring


The Self Authoring program is an online project created by the psychologists Jordan B. Peterson, Daniel M. Higgins, and Robert O. Pihl. The idea is to write and reflect upon significant events in ones past, present, and future. Peterson explains that “When complecated experiences are put into words, the manner in which they are represented in the brain changes. They move from the areas associated with stressful emotion demanding constant physical readiness, to the areas associated with detailed comprehension and understanding. This makes articulate people less stressed and informed about how to be successful now and in the future.”

Psychology research show that writing is linked to improvements in mental health. Pennebaker (1986) pioneered this body of research were participants were asked to write about traumatic experiences in their past. Mental health parameters were measured over time with significant improvements. Further research show that clear goal setting is vital for, e.g., academic achievements (Morisano, Hirsh and Peterson, 2010) and closing achievement gaps (Schippers, Scheepers and Peterson, 2015).

Thus, the academic literature seems positive to self authoring and its effects. Anecdotally I have a similar story to add. Years ago before I heard about the self authoring program I decided to write down each time I had an uncomfortable thought, and process it. The processing could be to apologize to someone or just to think about the situation until I felt completely comfortable with it. After a couple of months I had very few uncomfortable thought pop up, and I felt very much at peace.

Evaluation after the program