Sunday, September 25, 2005

Blogging Seen As Good Therapy

A new study finds that blogs are more likely to deal with personal matters than politics or current events, and nearly 50% of bloggers see the activity as a form of therapy.

According to an AOL survey conducted by Digital Marketing Services Inc., many bloggers write about "anything and everything." But while blogs often include comments on news topics, they are more likely to be about friends, family and other personal interests.

Although bloggers say they write about personal matters on their blogs, 43.9% of respondents said that they read other blogs to get a different perspective on the news. These findings are similar to a Harris Interactive survey from March 2005, which found that about 44% of US Internet users read political blogs, including 16% who read them less than once a month. And although most bloggers read other blogs, the AOL survey found that almost one-quarter of them do not.

About one-half of bloggers (48.7%) keep a blog because it serves as a form of therapy, and 40.8% say it helps them keep in touch with family and friends. Just 16.2% say they are interested in journalism, and 7.5% want to expose political information. Few see blogging as their ticket to fame.

Bill Schreiner, Vice President, AOL Community, puts it in perspective: "In a way, blogs serve as oral history. When it comes to sharing blogs and reading other people's blogs, we like to connect with people, learn about their lives, and find common ground. There's no pressure to write about a particular subject or keep blogs maintained a certain way, and it's not necessarily a popularity contest."

©2005 eMarketer Inc. All rights reserved @


for_the_lonely said...

I believe that this poll holds true for me! I have found a creative/poetic side to myself that I did not know that I possessed, and have a wonderful support system among the friends that I have made. I will give credit where credit is due..if it were not for Rosie's blog, I would have not created a blog of my own and made such wonderful, life-long friends!

I hope that you are having a great weekend! Hugs to you!


Sher said...

Here, Here!

I started this blog thing when I stumbled across Rosie's and decided to create my own.

I love it! And look at the wonderful people I've met!

Better than a message board, nothing like self expression to ease the soul.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Sarah,
I also started with Rosie! It is such a great way to express one's life! BTW, I just started to put up Autumn decorations around the house bc it is my favorite season. And every year I wait for the Great Pumpkin, just like Linus.

Dear Sher,
Love your new picture. And yes, blogging holds so much meaning. I have wonderful connections and friends and enjoy dropping by to visit. It's like a neighborhood for me!!! I'll popping in now to visit you. See you soon :)


annie said...

it's good therapy.
and cost effective!
what a great post.

Melanie_D said...

I sooooooo agree with that poll. It's so nice to write something that you might think is totally off the wall and have others say "hey, me too!"

Thanks for all your comments on my blog. I now really know- I'm so not alone. (((hugs)))

I n g e r said...

Hmm. I should get my father started on one--it just dawned on me.

But I totally agree, of course. (And also started after Rosie.) Feel a little bad for her that she doesn't have the intimacy most of the rest of us get: really connecting with a fairly manageable universe of people. But maybe that's just me: I couldn't handle all those voices; would scoop them all up and turn into Sybil.

Loved our little trip to LI, Deb! Thought of you.

Heidi said...

I had no idea what a blog was until Rosie started hers...It's wonderful how many stranger/caring friends came into my bloglife.

Even though I talk about personal issues and what's going on in my life, I'm still very much guarded with my comments. Afraid to open up fully..What people would think etc...Then I see others and it blows my mind how open they are.

Deb..Thankyou always for your comments and support on my blog..Especially most recently.

Your a great asset to this Blog world. So glad I /we found u out there.

Rose said...

I enjoy blogging. It releases tension and stress for me plus it's also helping me to get to know me better, if you know what I mean.

dawn said...

hmmmm, very interesting. the only reason i started a blog was because I had heard that writing is very theraputic. This has proven true, for me.

Just wondering, do any of your patients know you have a blog?

Your post has given me an idea for my own post, thank you.

Anna Mason said...

Yeah. My blog is like a form of therapy...until my dad commented recently and I realized he was keeping up with what I was saying. Hmmm. It is weird, because even though so many people that I don't really know read my blog, I still write it as if the people I KNOW will NOT read it..and I feel more free to say what is on my heart and mind. Weird huh? How that works?

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Annie,
It is really good and therapuetic too. But of course, if someone is really having a hard time of things, blogging may not be enough sometimes. The trick is to know when it heals and when one might need to go outside of the blog world for support.

Dear Melanie D,
We are not alone. I realize that whenever I experience something, that others are as well. It's good for us to know that!

Dear Inger,
So glad you had a good trip to LI. I thought of you too. I couldn't process all the voices on Rosie's blog either. She is especially brave when the trolls appear.

Dear Heidi,
Risking is always hard to do socially. I know that professionally and personally. I get anxious alot in social situations too. But when you risk, more often than not, there is a wonderful payoff.

Dear Rose,
I think that is the greatest aspect of blogging. Being able to have an written history of your feelings and thoughts to go back to. It is a great learning experience and that is why I think it is so therapeutic.

Dear Duskydawn,
At this point none of my patients know I have a blog. If it were to come up in treatment, I would disclose that I do, of course. I try to bring in personal things when it is helpful in the treatment. Otherwise, "my" needs are coming before the "patient's". And that's always a no-no. What is your idea? Can't wait to read it at your blog.

Dear Anna (Poorart),
I know that my blog has a professional slant, so I'm okay and even thrilled when someone I know reads it. But I agree, if you are writing freely as if no one knew you, and your Dad was visiting, it would be a little weird. But I actually think it is wonderful that he wants to know you and has kept up with things.


Melanie_D said...

Hi Deb,

Just stopping by to wish you a wonderful Monday :-) Looking forward to your next post.

chase said...

Deb, Thanks so much for you last comment, that post has been a little hard on me, but I took a deep breath and am dealing with it. :::smile::: God never gives you more than you can handle right? I just want the best for my girl. But I submit to God's will and will adjust myself accordingly. Again I thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Mel,
Great picture. I'll be posting again soon. 'Til then take care too!

Dear Chase,
It takes time to move through difficult things. Keeping a spiritual light beside you is very important. So glad my 2 cents could be helpful.


Chele said...

I just like running my mouth lol
I think I like reading other people's blogs just as much if not more than actually writing one.

princessdominique said...

Yes, I know for me blogging is definitely therapeutic. Where would I vent if I didn't have a blog :)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Chele,
I think everyone who blogs has the urge to communicate in one way or another. I like visiting in on blogfriends too.

Dear Princess,
I'm thinking if there were no blogs, you'd be writing novel after novel! Heard you are cruising with your new one. What will it be about?


satin doll said...

interesting site! but it is true I often blog or just simply write for it keeps me sane lol.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Satin Doll,
Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I went to your site but had trouble reading it. It was too light on my screen to view. I suppose I will have to adjust the contrast.


Cathy said...

glad i gave you a smile today. the little guy is my ranting and raving self...I've seen your posts on Rosie's site, too. I am missing her posts these past few days. Maybe we could all just surrogate over here for awhile :)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Cathy,
Your surrogate idea is great!

And next time my hubby gets all in a huff, I am going to think of that little ranting raving and stomping guy...I think it can really help me out!


Cathy said...

one more; i love that you answer everybody! my husband thinks i've become an internet nut ever since i started blogging (also thanks to Rosie)but i think i am happier because i can get the things that are annoying me off my chest and pursue more information about the things that make me happy. and all of that for a couple of hours a day for free!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I try to answer all posts. Sometimes I am on the computer all day so that makes it easy. Other times ain't so easy. But I like to connect. It is who I am and what I do. But, I do dislike the phone. Actually, I hate the phone. There I said it.

I just showed my hubby your little guy. He laughed when I told him that's what I'm going to picture the next time he is pent up about something.


Anna Mason said...

I hate the phone too !!! Good to hear that someone else does. I have to muster up everything within me to deal with someone over the phone. Anna

chase said...

i hate the phone too....i thought it was just me....why do i hate the phone so much i cant say but when i get on, i'm itching to get off. except when i speak to my sister, and thats only because she's still in NJ when she moves here i wont want to talk to her on the phone either, lol

Id it is said...

Everyones carries a story and wants to share it. But how public is he willing to go? That's the deciding question for a prospective blogger. Some of us are born narcicissts and a blog serves as an ideal medium; a one sided perspective; a unilateral presentation; feedbacks only if you so wish. Then there are those who believe they are untapped, usually unpublished, (not for lack of trying though) writers and see blogging as balm for shattered epistolary aspirations. Finally there are those of us whose loneliness has gotten to them and the blog becomes their outpouring.

I'm still trying to figure my reasons for blogging.

A Flowered Purse said...

That was perfect! described why i blog for sure! it is very very theraputic for me and the feedback and support is awesome as well!
Have a great week!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Poorart (Anna),
It is so hard for me to get on the phone to do anything other than work related calls.

Dear Id It Is,
I think I fit in all three categories!

Dear Chase,
I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has an aversion to the phone. I'm a talkative person, but hate the constraints the phone brings...even speakerphone or hands-free don't do it for me!

Dear Dianna,
I have so many ideas and really like that I can write them to inform and educate and get my voice out. The comments are always nice to get, even if they disagree with my posts. So glad you find it an enjoyable outlet too!


ellesu said...

Yep! I fit the study. Wonder why it keeps surprising me to realize that so many others are so like me in so many ways?

Deb (I feel as if I should say 'Dr' Deb) :) Thank you for caring.

Rue said...

Heh..I'm of the 7.5%...of course I have two blogs, my LJ deals with the personal stuff.

Thanks for the comment on my blog Deb. Yes Canada is huge. I am feeling how large it is lately as my best friend is moving 2 provinces away...*sniff*

We do pride ourselves on being polite.
Thanks for noticing!

Dr. Deborah Serani said...


Call me Deb.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

If I had a choice to move anywhere, It'd be Canada. I live in the North East and so much of what I've seen in Canada reminds me of that. And again, the people, so great!


Midlife Crisis said...

Oh my Gawd!!! ID IT IS stole my answer. That is EXACTLY me right now.

Chocolate makes it better said...

I like the fact that blogging is that is digitises the community mentality. geographical borders are not an issue and from all the comments I have read.....everyone is supportive and positive and if we don't like someone's opinion, we just don't comment or keep reading that blog.

And's very therepudic!

M and G said...

Hi we found your blog through a couple of friends that post on our site. Very cool site, love it.
if you click on our name you will be sent to our old blog. we just started a new one though that will continue to be updated.
check them both out when you have a min. Take care
new blog site
Misty and Gina

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Midlife,
I am all three too. Funny how Id It Is really hit the mark there for us!

Dear Chocolate,
I agree that there seems to be a seamlessness in communication across the world. We are more alike than we know!

Dear M & G,
Visited your new site and love your new band name. Thanks dropping in here!


Nancy said...

I started blogging long before I knew Rosie had a blog. GOM set one up for our family that is spread from NY to CA. I did set up my own after Rosie's though.

I find it very theraputic, and I do stress when all bad crap is happening and I complain or whine too much. I would rather it be a funny and upbeat blog. Hard to manage sometimes though.

I did write a story when I first began. That was something I have always wanted to do. I plan on doing more of that as well. I like telling stories.

Very interesting that a year ago, or even six months almost everybody asked what a blog was, when I mentioned it. Now it seems to have caught on.

As Sarah mentioned, I have made a lot of friends and she was among the first!

Great post Deb!

fruitgirl said...

at my age, this is probably the closest i'll ever get to group sex again.

Playground in my Mind said...

I'm in the top 45 or so :) Thank you for keeping us informed and taking the "sting" out of depression and other mental ills. We need more like you:) Renee P.S. Yep, that's Faith Hill on my blog. The song is from Ron Howard's live action film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey. ;)

kath said...


you commented on an interest in my blog..

that is the best book ever written on the subject.. in my opinion..

if you have not read it.. i urge you to do so.. I think you would find it quite interesting

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Nancy,
Amazing how fast blogging caught on. I'm a recent devotee, and it amazes me that people have been at this since as early as 2003.

Dear Fruitgirl,
LOL, that was so funny!

Dear Renee,
The more we know, the more we know. Debunking stigma is what I'm after! So glad it helps.

Dear Kath,
Thanks for the link. I will put it on my list!!


D.P. said...

My blog is therapeutic, but I'm also trying to make a difference--I was dismissed by my doctor. I'm hoping that my blog will help others (both patients and doctors) avoid the same problems that I faced.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear DP,
I left you a message on your blog about this subject. It's great that you can use your blog to express yourself and inform others.


OhioRuthie said...

Thanks for the remarks you left on my blog. You are right..blogging helps. Thanks again

Dr. Charles said...

very interesting, i find it a good outlet for sure.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Ruthie & Dr. Charles,
Blogging is great in so many ways as many of us know. So glad I caught the blogwave!


Navelgazing Midwife said...

Okay, so I *needed* another blog to read, you know. Already a Licensed Midwife who owns an holistic healthcare center, dealing with a serious chronic illness, a writer, photographer, and now a student working towards a Master's in Psychology (with a focus on birth trauma, including birthrape and birth assault) - I am THRILLED to "meet" you, Deb. Woo hoo!

A lifetime of my own writing (diaries since 8 years old -reams and stacks of papers, notebooks, napkins, receipts, paper bags, and anything write-able), discovering blogging last year (not via Rosie's blog [assuming you all mean Rosie O?] I do not like her blog AT ALL! but then I despise most poetry, too.), I write for a plethora of reasons identified in the poll, up to and including finding fortune and fame! *laugh* How's that for grandiosity?

Former clients read my public blogs (I have three active ones - one personal, one birth stories, and one private that no one can find yet where I bitch about people using their names and say really hateful and mean things I don't want anyone else to ever hear or see), but I hesitate sharing my private (not secret) blog because I share loads about my relationships, oddities with clients (HIPAA-compliant, in case you're wondering), and my very hysterical, yet, to many, bizarre past (and present?).

Wow, this is a blogspot on its own! Thanks for letting me blather on.

I am thrilled to know you are here, Deb, and look forward to reading more. I also *had* to click on the respondents... which makes my Blog Favorites list longer than the Nile. Will I ever see without a screen in front of my face again?

And I despise the phone, too, and even tell clients to email me now. They have a separate space in their charts for email correspondence. We all should!


I'll be quiet now.

Rachel said...

I started my blog after a bomb exploded on my train on 7/7, on the Kings Cross underground train. The bomb went off about 7 feet behind me. 26 people died in my carriage and scores more were maimed and wounded

The BBC picked up on the blog and asked to host it on their site - where it is still archived. Over a million people read it on the BBC. It is the story of someone wmoving through trauma day by day.

I have since set up a survivor group called Kings Cross United for people who were on my train.

Blogging is my main therapy, i would love to know what you think of my blog, and what others think. It is reaching out to strangers that has saved my life and other people's lives and sanity since the bombs

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Barbh,
Wow, so nice to meet you too. How do you do the writing that you do and everything else? You must have amazing stamina!

Dear Rachel,
YOur blog is so helpful not only for you moving through the terrorist attack, but for others as welll. Please visit again!


Dr John Crippen said...

Fascinating... and yes, this has to be right. I've written quite a lot for magazines, newspapers etc, and I wouldn't deny that it is pleasing, and pays a little, but it doesn't have the immediate appeal.

After a bad day at the office, venting one's spleen, hopefully with a little humour, is so incredibly de-stressing, particularly when fellow heath-care "sufferers" comment.

Ceridwen Devi said...

if it is therapy to have an active
voice in the world rather than be
a passive consumer of the media
then maybe blogging is therapy.
but maybe just a little more than
that, too. neve underestimate the
power of freedom.

Fieryswan said...

Dear Dr.

We are students from Singapore who are doing research on the mental effects of blogging. We read your blog about the research you have done and thus, we would like to have your help via the internet. Our hypothesis for the project is "blogging affects the mental health of teenage bloggers."
If you happen to read this comment, please do give us your comments. Our email is and our blog is at (tagboard comments). Thx for your help.

Students Of NYGH S'pore

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Dear Dr. Crippen,
Couldn't agree more with you!

Dear Ceridwen,
There is great liberation in freedom. You are so right about that.

Dear Fieryswan,
This is not MY research, but I will send you an email. If you read this, the references of the research are provided in my post.


Tams said...

I've been blogging for a while, and it hasn't cured me, but then again their isn't a cure is their? I don't think it hurts in any case. Blogging is where you can say the things you don't say out loud to others.

Karma said...

Blogging for me is therapy - although I don't look to be "cured", I look to get my feelings out and to connect to others dealing with similar issues.