Taíno spirituality conceals a strong image of the feminine as counterpart of the male. The Feminine is a luminous icon that does not want to be imagined but experienced. The tradition speaks of a union that integrates our humanness. In this article, it is shown how 11 Dominican women used Embodied Writing (EW) to recreate their experiences of the Goddess. EW is an invitation to write using all the senses—perceptual, visceral, sensorimotor, kinesthetic, and imaginal—so the readers’ senses can vibrate empathically when they read or listen to our narration. Participants developed alternative ways of knowing through a wide range of rituals and EW exercises. We examined the impact of such practices on our self-perception, spiritual growth, and personal empowerment.
J Health Psychol. 2009 Mar;14(2):158-60. doi: 10.1177/1359105308100199.
There has been substantial empirical research on the health benefits of expressive writing. However, there has been less psychological research on the broader nature of writing and its relationship with health. The aim of this special section is to promote a more extensive engagement between health psychology and writing. It includes three articles on the value of investigating more established forms of writing, the nature of creative writing and the value of an intensive analysis of written accounts of illness. This article introduces this special section.
J Health Psychol. 2009 Mar;14(2):171-80. doi: 10.1177/1359105308100201.
Pennebaker’s expressive writing paradigm has helped to introduce the benefits of writing to health care. However, research in expressive writing has been largely dominated by an experimental and quantitative approach that does not take into account critical methodologies and approaches in health psychology, the increasingly complex ways in which creative writing is now being used in health care settings or recent research in the broader field of creative writing and personal development, health and well-being (developmental creative writing). This article contrasts expressive writing theories and methodologies with those evolving in the relatively new field of developmental creative writing. It investigates a number of theoretical and methodological problems with the expressive writing model and argues for a more critical approach to future research.
J Lang Soc Psychol. 2009 Sep;28(3):281-296. Epub 2009 Jan 5.
This study investigated whether relative changes in cognitive, emotion, temporal, and self-reference word frequencies in repeated narratives predicted improvements in mindfulness skills (i.e., nonjudgmental acceptance of present-moment experiences, observing and describing present stimuli, and acting with awareness) subsequent to narrative self-disclosure. Participants wrote repeated narratives of traumatic or daily events over 3 days. Mindfulness was assessed at baseline and 4 to 8 weeks posttask. Results indicated that relative increases in cognitive processing words (among traumatic events participants and women in both conditions) and present tense words (among all participants) significantly predicted increases in nonjudgmental acceptance, describing, or overall mindfulness. Increases in present tense words appeared to partially mediate the higher mindfulness outcomes of participants writing about daily events when compared with those writing about trauma. The findings suggest that linguistic changes in self-disclosure narratives are associated with improvements in specific mindfulness skills.
J Clin Psychol. 2009 Sep;65(9):971-88. doi: 10.1002/jclp.20600.
This randomized study examined whether narrative emotional disclosure improves mindfulness, experiential avoidance, and mental health, and how baseline levels of and changes in mindfulness and experiential avoidance relate to mental health. Participants (N=233) wrote repeated traumatic (experimental condition) or unemotional daily events narratives (control condition). Regression analyses showed neither condition nor gender effects on mental health or experiential avoidance at a 1-month follow-up, although the control condition significantly increased in one component of mindfulness. Decreased experiential avoidance (across conditions) and increased mindfulness (in the experimental condition) significantly predicted improved mental health. Narrative disclosure thus did not improve outcomes measured here. However, increasing mindfulness when writing narratives with traumatic content, and decreasing experiential avoidance regardless of writing content, was associated with improved mental health.