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Sentence Completion Method - Try the Holistic Approach

Sentence completion is a well-known method to solve mental health problems. However, not many people use it holistically. How to do it?

each wave completes a sentence spoken by the wind

18 years ago I read a book called "The Six Pillars of High Self-Esteem" by Nathaniel Branden who has created a unique method called "sentence completion".

Today I know that the method presented in his book is working not only in psychotherapy but also in everyday life - spiritual, mental and physical. Check how to use Nathaniel's method.

I want to point out that I am not going to duplicate Nathaniel's website article here. I will shortly describe it and then share my own observations about it and some real examples of how this method works. Let my post be a kind of gratitude for the positive effects this method has brought about in my life.

Sentence Completion

Here is Nathaniel's general description of the method:

Sentence completion is a technique I have developed in Nathaniel Branden's clinical practice that can be used to facilitate self-understanding and personal growth.

The essence of the sentence completion procedure is to start with an incomplete sentence, a “sentence stem,” and to keep adding different endings, between six and ten, with the sole requirement being that each ending is a grammatical completion of the sentence. - Nathaniel Branden

Further, Nathaniel writes that sentence completion can be used orally in therapy when the patient sees a psychologist. However, he has also developed a written program that can be done at home.

How To Complete the Sentences

The program from Nathaniel's book works in this way:

In each week of a program, you are given a block of four to six stems. Every morning, you write completions for all the stems in this week’s block.

At the end of the week, you reflect on your answers for the week and perform another completion exercise to help you solidify what you have learned. The next week, you move on to the next block of stems in the program. - Nathaniel Branden

After I had finished reading "The Six Pillars of High Self-Esteem", I instantly started the 30-week program. It was in 2002.

Since then I have done the sentence completion a couple of times again, always having new results and finding new discoveries about myself. Recently I have decided to try it again. I am doing Week 8 at the moment.

The Technique - Weekdays

Now learn how to use this technique yourself. From Monday to Friday, when you get up, sentence completion is the first thing you need to do. Take my notebook and open the book where you can see the stems for a given week. Write down the stem and add 6 endings (Nathaniel recommends 6 to 10).

Then complete the next sentence and do the same, adding 6 endings. There are 4 to 5 stems for each week. so it is a manageable exercise, just 5 minutes long.

Remember to write the endings of sentences that you brainstorm, without long thinking and evaluation. On Saturday or Sunday evening read what has been written for the five days. As a sample, you can use the example from this article.

The Rules

Nathaniel Branden has defined some dos and don'ts for his program. Here they are:

  1. Do not check the previous day's sentences.

  2. Write for no more than ten minutes.

  3. Please turn off your phone, although I am listening to theta music during writing.

  4. Do not worry if the answers repeat during a given week or even during the program.

  5. Write with the flow, whatever your subconscious mind brings to you. No long thinking is allowed.

  6. Do not impose any demands on the situation. Try to empty your mind of anticipations.

  7. Focus only on writing, never do other things simultaneously.

  8. Your endings must be a grammatical completion of the sentence, and if your mind goes absolutely empty, invent an ending, but never allow yourself to stop with the thought that you cannot do this exercise.

Weekend Practice

At any time, during each weekend, reread what you have written for the week, reflect on it, and then write a minimum of six endings for this item:

If any of what I wrote this week is true, it might be helpful if I…

The next week, move on to the next block of stems in the program.

Why Is It Working?

The art of sentence completion maintains a high level of mental focus combined with a complete lack of internal censorship.

Doing sentence completion on a daily basis as described here is a kind of psychological discipline, a spiritual practice, even, that over time achieves insight, integration, and spontaneous behaviour change. - Nathaniel Branden

sentence completion is like catching fish

Questions and Controversies

People sometimes ask, “How do I integrate the things I am learning into sentence completion? I do not need extra sentences to achieve a similar effect.” I can answer that this method is unique and does work and it is not only me who has confirmed its effectiveness. Here is an example of a recommendation

I invite you to test these statements by doing sentence completion for yourself. At the very least, you’ll gain a way to get unblocked when you open your journal to a fresh page. - Douglastoft

Nathaniel answers that practice itself, done repetitively, brings about integration. The speed of your progress depends in part on the level of focus and consciousness you bring to the work, both while doing it and later when reviewing and reflecting on your endings.

Programs Included

There are two 30-week sentence completion programs offered by Nathaniel Branden, found in his book “The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem.” and "Taking Responsibility". he has also created some shorter programs, e.g. concerning self-acceptance only.

I have started the general program for improving self-esteem which is aimed at improving this skill. The program mentioned above focuses on helping you to practice better what I have identified as the “six pillars of self-esteem”. All the six practices lead to higher self-confidence and are described in detail in Nathaniel's book, “The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem.”

Further reading about journaling:

Sample Day of Sentence Completion

Now let's look at how Nathaniel's method is working in practice. You may not believe it is working so I have completed the sentences of Week One for one day and have written sample answers to the reflection sentence.

Week 1 according to Nathaniel Branden

If I bring more awareness to my life today…

  • I will make fewer mistakes

  • I will make better decisions

  • I will help more people

  • I will be stronger

  • I will know more

  • I will be a sage

If I take more responsibility for my choices and actions today…

  • I will make fewer mistakes

  • I will hurt fewer people

  • I will achieve more

  • I will control my life more

  • My decisions will be smarter

  • I will be more satisfied with my decisions and actions

If pay more attention to how I deal with people today…

  • I will be more liked

  • People will like me more

  • People will help me more

  • people will understand me more

  • I will make more people happy

  • I will be hurt less often.

If I boost my energy level by 5 per cent today…

  • I will achieve more

  • I will be more productive

  • I will enjoy my life more

  • I will be more attractive to people

  • I will be more satisfied with my work

  • I will be happier with my work

Sample Weekly Reflection:

Even doing this exercise for one day can give you an idea of what to work on. However, during the whole week, you can notice your mental patterns better. Why? Because some answers will repeat but you will learn it later, after the week is complete. Now, let's complete the stem for the weekend, based on one day only:

If any of what I wrote this week is true, it might be helpful if I…
  • ... took more responsibility for my relationships with people

  • ... took more responsibility for the level of energy I vibrate

  • ... became more aware of how I treat people

  • ... become more aware of how I manage my energy

  • ... paid more attention to how I talked to people

sentence completion will help you change beliefs

Sentence Completion in a Holistic Way

As Nathaniel Branden is writing about the 6 pillars of high self-esteem, the same applies to life in general. I mean life based on body, mind and soul. So you can use sentence completion to examine the real needs of your body, mind and soul.

The "mind" aspect has already been presented above, now let's focus on the body and soul. Here are some sample sentences to complete. Now let's see how sentence completion works in the case of soul and body:


  • If I bring more spiritual awareness to my holistic life today…

  • If I bring more acceptance of my karma...

  • If I close my karma more effectively...

  • If I learn how to co-exist with other beings more...

  • If I am more awakened spiritually...


  • If I listen to my body by 5% more...

  • If I follow my body's advice by 5% more

  • If I do the karmic lessons hidden in my body by 5% better

  • If I learn the lesson from my previous diseases and body ailments...

  • If I take care of my body by 5% more...

Sample answers to the "soul" stems:

If I bring more spiritual awareness to my holistic life today…
  • ... I will know my life much better

  • ... my life will be less hectic

  • ... it will be easier to cope with challenges in my life

  • ... I accept my life more

  • ... I take more responsibility for my life

If I bring more acceptance of my karma...
  • ... there will be less stress in my life

  • ... I will be less frustrated

  • ... I will love myself more

  • ... I will be less angry with myself

  • ... will love me more

If I close my karma more effectively...
  • ... there will be fewer unpleasant tests in my life

  • ... my relationships with people will be more harmonious

  • ... I will get on with people better

  • ... I will enjoy my life more

  • ... I will be more proud of myself.

If I learn how to co-exist with other beings more...
  • ... life will be more peaceful

  • ... life will be less stressful

  • ... life will be more acceptable

  • ... it will be easier to make up karma

  • ... it will be easier to understand other beings.

If I am more awakened spiritually...
  • ... I am more aware of global challenges

  • ... I can prepare better how to overcome global challenges

  • ... I will enjoy greater peace of mind

  • ... I will make up my karma quicker

  • ... I will make fewer mistakes which can generate some bad karma.

Try using Nathaniel Branden's method and complete these stems yourself for 6 days a week. Then answer Nathaniel's question:

If any of what I wrote this week is true, it might be helpful if I…

  • I would take care more of my spiritual awareness

  • I would want to make up my karma quicker

  • I would want to know my soul plan better

  • I would make an effort to close karma as quickly as possible

  • I would pay more attention to not generating bad karma.

Let's Meditate Together

You can meditate first in order to find some ideas for sentence completion. Pick up one stem and ask your guardians for help. During mediation, you will also cleanse your mind and your answers will be more accurate later.

Connect by telepathy during meditation on Saturdays at 8 pm GMT. I will meditate with you and other people so that our collective energy can create miracles. Send your intention to the Universe. Transform your life and the world.

More about meditation

In A Nutshell

Today I have described the sentence completion method worked out by Nathaniel Branden. In the shortest, you add endings to the stems for each week, in the morning from Monday to Friday. Then during the weekend, you make conclusions based on the whole week's discoveries.

Sentence completion can also be used in holistic growth and some examples have been given above.

Good luck with learning more about yourself. With lots of love and light,


Explore More on Awaken Happy Life


Vicky is an experienced holistic writer and coach who inspires, motivates, and encourages everyone to become the best version of themselves - physically, mentally, and spiritually.


The content of Awaken Happy Life is published for educational and informative purposes only. It does not substitute medical or any other professional advice. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition. The author of Awaken Happy Life is not liable for any consequences of applying any piece of advice published on this website by the reader.‍


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