The effects of traumatic disclosure on physical and mental health: the values of writing and talking about upsetting events.

Int J Emerg Ment Health. 1999 Winter;1(1):9-18.

Pennebaker JW1.

Directly and indirectly, sudden life transitions can profoundly influence people’s social, family, physical, and psychological lives. One traditional goal within psychology has been to understand and develop ways by which to reduce the adverse impact of individual and collective traumas. Four major issues surrounding coping with emotional upheavals are discussed in the current paper. The first concerns the natural sequence of coping that occurs in most disasters. The second focuses on the advantages of talking about upsetting experiences and, conversely, the dangers of not talking about emotional upheavals. The third section, which has been central to our lab’s approach, deals with evidence that writing about upsetting experiences is beneficial to health and well-being. The final part of the paper discusses these findings within the context of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) debriefing strategies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11227757

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