Focused expressive writing as self-help for stress and trauma.

J Clin Psychol. 2003 Feb;59(2):227-35.

Abstract

In the therapy process, the process of disclosing about stressful or traumatic events is often considered essential. One such manner is through focused expressive writing (FEW) about stressful or traumatic experiences. FEW is related to improvements in health and well-being, across a wide array of outcomes and participant characteristics. As FEW requires limited involvement of other individuals, is relatively low cost, and portable, it has tremendous potential as self-help. In particular, FEW may be an effective means to reach populations unwilling or unable to engage in psychotherapy. A case illustration of FEW is presented. Evidence and future directions for FEW as self-help are reviewed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12552631

Does writing reduce posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms?

Violence Vict. 2003 Oct;18(5):569-80.

Deters PB1, Range LM.

To see if writing about their trauma lessened PTSD and related symptoms, 57 undergraduates, previously screened for traumatic experiences, wrote for 15 minutes on 4 days across 2 weeks about either their trauma or a trivial topic. They reported PTSD, impact, suicide ideas, dissociation, and depression pre-, post-, and at 6-week follow-up testing. Trauma and trivial writers were not different. Surprisingly, at follow-up everyone reported less severe PTSD symptoms, impact, and dissociation, and fewer health visits, but about the same suicidal ideation and depression. On PTSD symptoms and impact, the pattern of improvement was different: Those writing about trauma got worse at posttesting, but improved to better than their initial state by follow-up. Those writing about a trivial topic got better by posttesting, and held that position at follow-up. In this project, writing seemed to reduce PTSD symptoms regardless of whether it concerned the trauma or what they ate for lunch.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14695022

The good, the bad, and the healthy: impacts of emotional disclosure of trauma on resilient self-concept and psychological distress.

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2003 Oct;29(10):1236-44.

Hemenover SH1.

This study examined the impact of disclosing traumas on resilient self-perceptions and psychological distress. Participants (N = 50) wrote about a traumatic life event or their plans for the next day and completed measures of resilience and distress before disclosing (pretest) and 3 months later (posttest). Results revealed that trauma participants increased in positive self-perceptions (mastery, personal growth, self-acceptance) and decreased in distress (depression, interpersonal sensitivity, anxiety, somatization) from pretest to posttest. Control participants showed no changes except for autonomy, on which they decreased. Results suggest that in addition to reducing psychological distress, disclosing traumas change self-perception, resulting in a more resilient self-concept.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15189585

Focused expressive writing as self-help for stress and trauma.

J Clin Psychol. 2003 Feb;59(2):227-35.

Smyth J1, Helm R.

In the therapy process, the process of disclosing about stressful or traumatic events is often considered essential. One such manner is through focused expressive writing (FEW) about stressful or traumatic experiences. FEW is related to improvements in health and well-being, across a wide array of outcomes and participant characteristics. As FEW requires limited involvement of other individuals, is relatively low cost, and portable, it has tremendous potential as self-help. In particular, FEW may be an effective means to reach populations unwilling or unable to engage in psychotherapy. A case illustration of FEW is presented. Evidence and future directions for FEW as self-help are reviewed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12552631