Emotional disclosure interventions for chronic pain: from the laboratory to the clinic.

Transl Behav Med. 2012 Mar;2(1):73-81. doi: 10.1007/s13142-011-0085-4.

Lumley MA1, Sklar ER, Carty JN.

Life stress and the avoidance of negative emotions may contribute to chronic pain. The technique of written or spoken emotional disclosure can reverse emotional avoidance and improve health, and 18 randomized studies have tested it among people with chronic pain. We review these studies to provide guidance for the clinical use of this technique. The benefits of emotional disclosure for chronic pain are quite modest overall. Studies in rheumatoid arthritis show very limited effects, but two studies in fibromyalgia suggest that disclosure may be beneficial. Effects in other populations (headaches, cancer pain, pelvic pain, abdominal pain) are mixed. Moderator findings suggest that some patients are more likely to benefit than others. Emotional disclosure has been tested in well-controlled efficacy trials, leaving many unanswered questions related to translating this technique to practice. Issues needing further study include determining disclosure’s effects outside of randomized controlled trials, identifying the optimal pain populations and specific individuals to target for disclosure, presenting a valid rationale for disclosure, selecting the location and method of disclosure, and choosing between cognitive-behavioral or emotional disclosure techniques.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905067

full text

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419371/

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Expressive writing in context: the effects of a confessional setting and delivery of instructions on participant experience and language in writing.

Br J Health Psychol. 2008 Feb;13(Pt 1):27-30. doi: 10.1348/135910707X250929.

Corter AL1, Petrie KJ.

Manipulations of the setting and instructions were tested for effects on language use and reported health following expressive writing (EW).

METHODS:

Participants (N=76) wrote in one of three conditions that differed by setting and the delivery of writing instructions.

RESULTS:

The results showed that altering the context for EW influences participants’ language use and their perceptions of the experience. There was no effect of conditions on self-reported health.

CONCLUSIONS:

Future research should attend to the ways in which manipulations of EW context affect proposed mediators such as language, as well as outcomes of EW.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18230226