As I am not a psychologist nor have much experience in dealing with bad memories, I am unqualified to talk about journaling for healing. However, I have developed my own way of recovering from these memories. I ask myself questions, look up scriptures to answer my questions, and squeeze away lies and discouraging/depressing thoughts with the Word of God. Here are a couple of steps I follow and questions I ask:
#1 Identify the Pain
What is the thorn? What happened? How did it happen? Who are the people involved? What do I believe/think about this problem? Are there any benefits from this (character building/development, insights, etc.)?
#2 Go to the Bible
What verses are related to my questions? What does God’s word say about this? Are there any truths that oppose the lies I believe? What can I apply from these verses?
#3 Action Plan
What truths from God’s Word can I apply into my life? What are some things I can do to live apart from this pain? What are the benefits?
I make sure I see painful experiences in God’s perspective, following these two verses:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28
“‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
God is always in control. Everything that happens is part of His plan, and because He loves us, He will NEVER let anything bad happen. Every experience, whether good or bad, is ultimately to mold us and shape us into the people God wants us to be. Why does God let bad things happen? To show Himself strong in our lives and make us see how much we need Him. I hope these questions can jump-start you into healing any painful memories or experiences. Remember, the Lord is always there with His arms open wide… you just need to run to Him!