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Opening up: The healing power of expressing emotions (rev

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Abstract

Anyone who has ever entrusted a troubling secret to a journal, or mourned a broken heart with a friend, knows the feeling of relief that expressing painful emotions can bring. This book presents evidence that personal self-disclosure is not only good for our emotional health, but boosts our physical health as well. The author has conducted controlled clinical research that sheds light on the mind–body connection. This book interweaves his findings with case studies on secret-keeping, confession, and the hidden price of silence. "Opening Up" explains: How writing about your problems can improve your health; How long-buried trauma affects the immune system; Why it's never too late to heal old emotional wounds; and When self-disclosure may be risky—and how to know whom to trust. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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... The arts heal by improving immune functioning and reducing stress and health complaints, and help people live longer (Pennebaker, 1990). Increasingly, studies have demonstrated the relationship between stress and the body, including the relationship between negative emotions and the fight/flight response, cortisol levels, hypertension and Type A personalities (Babette, 2006;Schore, 1994). ...
... These healing narratives are experienced as coherent and meaningful and have been gaining attention in many areas of clinical practice, including family therapy (Epston & White, 1992;Howard, 1991;Lieblich & Josselson, 1997;Omer & Alon, 1997;Polkinghorne, 1988). The act of telling stories has always helped humans deal with the threat of nonbeing, and sometimes the expressive act itself has a healing effect (Pennebaker, 1990;Serlin, 2012a, b, c). It expresses not only the individual person, but also the collective unconscious and universal states of the human condition (Jung, 1966). ...
... Resiliency includes many dimensions. The arts and narrative methods express and record life stories (Gergen, 1991;May, 1975May, , 1989Sarbin, 1986) and facilitate healing (Pennebaker, 1990) within a community of witnesses (Marcow Speiser, 2014). Qualities that build resiliency include optimism, joy and compassion. ...
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This paper explores the use of dance/movement therapy, as a Whole Person approach to working with trauma and building resilience, to effect individual and community change around the world. The arts are a particularly effective way for people who cannot express themselves verbally to find symbolic and embodied expression of their suffering and hopes for the future. Dance/movement therapy can draw on folk dance and specific cultural forms to address universal themes. The content of this paper was presented as a workshop at the American Dance Therapy Association convention in San Diego, 2015.
... Die E-Mail Brücke stellt dabei eine internetbasierte Intervention dar, welche auf dem sogenannten Distance Writing respektive zu Deutsch Schreiben über Distanz in Form des expressiven Schreibens nach Pennebaker (1997a) beruht (L'Abate, 2002;Wolf, 2014;Wolf et al., 2008b). Deshalb wird nachfolgend an erster Stelle auf das Phänomen des expressiven Schreibens eingegangen. ...
... Horn & Mehr, 2004;Kerner & Fitzpatrick, 2007;Smyth, Nazarian & Arigo, 2008;Wolf, 2014). Nachfolgend soll näher auf das Schreibparadigma von Pennebaker (1997a) eingegangen werden, die Wirksamkeit sowie die Wirkweise expressiven Schreibens und dessen Einsatz in der Psychotherapie erläutert werden. ...
... Das Schreibparadigma von Pennebaker ermöglicht es, dass durch expressives Schreiben belastende oder traumatische Erfahrungen ausgedrückt und verarbeitet werden können (Horn & Mehl, 2004;Knaevelsrud & Böttche, 2013;Pennebaker, 1993Pennebaker, , 1997a. Dabei sollen die ...
Thesis
Der Übergang von der stationären Psychotherapie in den Alltag stellt einen kritischen Schritt für Betroffene dar und geht mit einer Versorgungslücke im ambulanten Bereich einher. Eine Möglichkeit zur Überbrückung stellen internetgestützte Interventionen dar. Ein Beispiel für ein onlinebasiertes Nachsorgeprogramm ist die E-Mail Brücke. Die Patienten schreiben einmal wöchentlich im Sinne des expressiven Schreibens an ihre Therapeuten. Entgegen des klassischen Schreibparadigmas von Pennebaker erhalten die Patienten dabei jeweils ein Feedback durch den Therapeuten. Es stellt sich folglich die Frage, wie sich der Emotionsanteil in den Rückmeldungen des Therapeuten auf den Emotionsanteil in den E- Mails der Patienten und deren Bewertung der E-Mail Brücke als hilfreich auswirkt. Diese Fragestellungen wurde in der vorliegenden Arbeit in Form einer Sekundäranalyse basierend auf den längsschnittlichen Daten der Evaluation der E-Mail Brücke von 116 Patient- Therapeut-Dyaden untersucht. Zur Überprüfung der zusätzlichen Erklärungskraft des Prozentanteils positiver und negativer Emotionswörter in den E-Mails der Therapeuten auf die Bewertung der E-Mail Brücke als hilfreich durch die Patienten, wurde eine Pfadanalyse mittels des Actor-Partner Interdependence Modells durchgeführt. Zur Untersuchung, ob in Bezug auf den Anteil positiver und negativer Emotionswörter der Therapeut den Patienten beeinflusst oder umgekehrt, fand zudem eine Korrelationsanalyse statt, wobei die Korrelationskoeffizienten der Patienten und Therapeuten im Anschluss auf signifikante Unterschiede überprüft wurden. Entgegen der Hypothesen zeigte sich, dass der Einbezug des Prozentanteils positiver und negativer Emotionen in den E-Mails des Therapeuten die Bewertung der E-Mail Brücke durch den Patienten nicht besser erklären konnte, als der Prozentanteil positiver und negativer Emotionen in den E-Mails des Patienten alleine. Bei der Korrelationsanalyse konnten signifikante Unterschiede zwischen den Korrelationskoeffizienten festgestellt werden, diese fielen allerdings entgegen der Hypothese zugunsten des Patienten aus oder waren aufgrund unterschiedlicher Vorzeichen nicht interpretierbar. Angesichts von Post-hoc-Analysen zeigte sich, dass eine gegenseitige Beeinflussung von Patient und Therapeut dennoch vorhanden ist. Die Befunde deuten aber darauf hin, dass sich diese überaus komplex gestaltet. Folglich scheint der Einbezug und die weitere Untersuchung dyadischer Prozesse zwischen Patient und Therapeut in weiterführenden Studien wichtig.
... 17) is evident. Pennebaker (1990) also detected "the relationship between suppressing our stories and illness, on the one hand, and telling our stories and increased health, on the other" (p. 11). ...
... "Pedagogically focused pieces taking up personal disclosure and writing as healing in classroom" (Molloy, 2016, p. 135) reflect students' writings about their current social distancing and what they want to do after the pandemic is over. Writing is an effective healing method which links specific events with the emotions that are affecting our lives (Sarton, 1980;Pennebaker, 1990;Nye, 1997;Molloy, 2016). Cangialosi (2002) indicated that "people simply start writing about a specific event or situation or relationship that affected them" (p. ...
... No doubt, and quite importantly, the theorists confirmed the fact that emotions can be regulated through expressive writing. As a healing act, expressive writing provokes feelings and emotions associated with traumatic experiences from which multilingual writing enhances mental and physical health (VanderWal, 2020;Pennebaker, 1990;Kupeli, et al. 2019). Kupeli et al. (2019) pointed out that according to the linguistic theory "the writing of expressive writers can also be analyzed to provide insight into how language use might be linked with health benefits and the potential mechanism driving expressive writing" (p. ...
Chapter
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The purpose of this chapter reveals the healing power of writing at times of stress, turmoil, and crisis from multilingual perspectives. Writing relieves emotional chaos, stress, and even physical pain as evidenced by research. Multilingual writing is a process-based, complicated act that requires a series of intellectual stages to be developed as a skill. In parallel to this rationale, multilingual learners can generate creative spaces for their well-being and growth by using writing as a skill to express their emotions for easing feelings related to stress, turmoil, and crisis. This chapter encourages and models emotional or expressive writing as an innovative method to use in educational and health settings to allow creating novel experiences into language learning phases.
... 17) is evident. Pennebaker (1990) also detected "the relationship between suppressing our stories and illness, on the one hand, and telling our stories and increased health, on the other" (p. 11). ...
... "Pedagogically focused pieces taking up personal disclosure and writing as healing in classroom" (Molloy, 2016, p. 135) reflect students' writings about their current social distancing and what they want to do after the pandemic is over. Writing is an effective healing method which links specific events with the emotions that are affecting our lives (Sarton, 1980;Pennebaker, 1990;Nye, 1997;Molloy, 2016). Cangialosi (2002) indicated that "people simply start writing about a specific event or situation or relationship that affected them" (p. ...
... No doubt, and quite importantly, the theorists confirmed the fact that emotions can be regulated through expressive writing. As a healing act, expressive writing provokes feelings and emotions associated with traumatic experiences from which multilingual writing enhances mental and physical health (VanderWal, 2020;Pennebaker, 1990;Kupeli, et al. 2019). Kupeli et al. (2019) pointed out that according to the linguistic theory "the writing of expressive writers can also be analyzed to provide insight into how language use might be linked with health benefits and the potential mechanism driving expressive writing" (p. ...
Chapter
The purpose of this chapter reveals the healing power of writing at times of stress, turmoil, and crisis from multilingual perspectives. Writing relieves emotional chaos, stress, and even physical pain as evidenced by research. Multilingual writing is a process-based, complicated act that requires a series of intellectual stages to be developed as a skill. In parallel to this rationale, multilingual learners can generate creative spaces for their well-being and growth by using writing as a skill to express their emotions for easing feelings related to stress, turmoil, and crisis. This chapter encourages and models emotional or expressive writing as an innovative method to use in educational and health settings to allow creating novel experiences into language learning phases.
... That is, the loss of resources can be psychologically harmful, which can propel individuals to try to protect their remaining resources (Hobfoll et al., 2018). For example, people may try to inhibit negative emotions and/or thoughts about an aversive situation (Pennebaker, 1997). However, this can prevent the aversive experience from being processed and require additional resources to continue suppressing negative thoughts and feelings, which can negatively impact well-being. ...
... The traditional expressive writing intervention is a guided writing technique that facilitates the processing of adverse events and personal issues. 2 More precisely, the traditional expressive writing intervention is designed to facilitate sensemaking by prompting people to process their emotions and thoughts about the aversive experience through the creation of a narrative about their experiences (Pennebaker, 1997). This intervention has been associated with beneficial outcomes for a wide range of life experiences, including illnesses (Willmott et al., 2011) and marital adjustment (Baddeley & Pennebaker, 2011). ...
... Following Pennebaker's (1994) protocol, participants attended four writing sessions on consecutive days. In the first session, participants provided informed consent and were then asked to: "Please select a time that you felt unfairly treated by a supervisor in your workplace. ...
Article
Decades of research have demonstrated that experiencing workplace unfairness can result in profound negative consequences for employees. Integrating conservation of resources theory with meaning-finding perspectives, we argue that engaging in meaning-finding in the aftermath of unfairness can foster state resilience and promote positive outcomes. To promote meaning-finding, we develop and test a new expressive writing intervention (i.e. a guided writing technique that facilitates the processing of negative experiences). Results indicate that the meaning-finding expressive writing intervention is associated with higher resilience than traditional expressive writing. Moreover, resilience mediates the relationship between meaning-finding (vs. traditional) expressive writing and willingness to reconcile, positive relationships with others, and life satisfaction. Theoretically, our findings highlight that engaging in meaning-finding can transform aversive experiences into opportunities to foster resilience and positive outcomes. Practically, meaning-finding expressive writing provides an effective, simple, and cost-effective tool that can be used by employees and counseling programs to promote recovery.
... Emotional disclosure consists of conveying emotionally relevant thoughts and experiences using written or spoken language (Pennebaker, 1997). Research suggests that the act of expressing emotions pertaining to traumatic life experiences can improve both physical and psychological health outcomes. ...
... Given the three separate writing periods, a total of 66 writings were analyzed (22 participants×3 writings = 66). Pennebaker (1997) suggests that participants should write for at least 15-minutes and that no less than 3 writing sessions be used, hence the approach for the current study. Writing instructions were based off of previous emotional disclosure studies (see Stanton & Danoff-Burg, 2002, for example). ...
Article
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Background and Objectives Cancer caregivers are at risk for experiencing health issues due to the stress of caregiving. Despite this, it is possible to prompt adaptive coping during the cancer experience. Adaptive coping is associated with improved health for caregiver populations. Forms of emotional disclosure are associated with caregiver reports of post-traumatic growth (PTG), which is an adaptive coping mechanism that comprises positive change following trauma. This study sought to identify areas of PTG identified by spousal hematopoietic stem-cell transplant (HSCT) cancer caregivers, via emotional disclosure writings. Design & Method Twenty-two spousal caregivers of patients who underwent a (HSCT) submitted emotional disclosure writings three times at one-week intervals. Writings centered on positive outcomes arising in light of the cancer experience. A qualitative grounded theory approach was used to evaluate caregiver accounts of PTG that arose while caring for their spouse. Results & Conclusions Findings suggest seven areas of PTG recognized through the disclosure process: living in the moment, a sense of honor and pride, choosing positivity, uninfluenced self-choice and expression, deprioritizing materialism, personal and/or spiritual connection, and altruistic expansion. The primary theoretical advancement arising from this study includes the notion that PTG largely appears to be a socially dependent process. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02339870..
... Con este testimonio recordamos la capacidad reflexiva de la narración (Bruner, 1991), e incluso añadimos la capacidad terapéutica de la misma (Pennebaker, 1997). ...
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Este texto es un acercamiento a las emociones de estudiantes universitarios en tiempos de pandemia y confinamiento. Se revisa la importancia de las emociones en general y en épocas de cambios. Para luego realizar un acercamiento a las emociones en el año 2020 desde la mirada y los relatos del alumnado de la Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, en la ciudad de México, a través de una encuesta en dicho centro docente al estudiantado y por medio de relatos solicitados a un grupo. El miedo y la incertidumbre ante la situación destaca, y la tristeza, el estrés y la fatiga.
... Positivity must not be confused with 'putting up with' unhealthy situations. Sometimes it is rational, justified and adaptive to complain or retaliate (Held, 2001) especially given that suppressing emotions can result in illness by compromising the body's immune system (Pennebaker, 1997). Second Wave PP (Lomas & Ivtzan, 2015) argues that although PP is primarily concerned with positive outcomes, it is possible for positive-valenced emotions and processes to hinder wellbeing (as in the case of the present study), and conversely for negatively-valenced emotions and processes -such as boredom (Lomas, 2017), sadness (Lomas, 2018), or anger (Lomas, 2019) -to promote wellbeing. ...
... Positivity must not be confused with 'putting up with' unhealthy situations. Sometimes it is rational, justified and adaptive to complain or retaliate (Held, 2001) especially given that suppressing emotions can result in illness by compromising the body's immune system (Pennebaker, 1997). Second Wave PP (Lomas & Ivtzan, 2015) argues that although PP is primarily concerned with positive outcomes, it is possible for positive-valenced emotions and processes to hinder wellbeing (as in the case of the present study), and conversely for negatively-valenced emotions and processes -such as boredom (Lomas, 2017), sadness (Lomas, 2018), or anger (Lomas, 2019) -to promote wellbeing. ...
... Data were collected at two time points in Ella's breast cancer trajectory: shortly after diagnosis and primary surgery (T1) and one year later (T2), as she transitioned into survivorship. At T1, she was invited to engage in a form of expressive writing (EW) (Pennebaker, 1997) that encouraged free associations (Lothane, 2018) on emotional aspects of breast cancer. This premised on the understanding that breast cancer involves a distressing emotional experience that may be ameliorated by being expressed and symbolised (Gripsrud et al., 2016;Gripsrud et al., 2014). ...
Article
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In this article I take as my point of departure a puzzle presented by a woman who had an apparently ‘bizarre’ reaction to a breast cancer diagnosis. In the clinic, she had exclaimed: “I would rather die than lose the breast!”. My aim is to unpack layers in this woman’s embodied and enculturated experience, with a view towards developing a psychosocial interpretation of breast cancer biography. The single case on which the present study is based, was extracted from a larger longitudinal data set which allowed me to follow ‘Ella’s’ transition from diagnosis to survivorship. I relied on five sources of data to unfold the case: two participant-generated texts (expressive writing and a Breast Biography), two interviews, and my own field notes. The two texts that Ella wrote provided a participant-led frame for depth-hermeneutic group interpretation sessions, the first of which, synergistically, produced a scenic voicing of latent content in the sub-text of Ella’s expressive writing: the fantasy of mothering death. This subsequently became a lead for my further interpretation of the case, and for methodological reflections on the value of shared thinking in qualitative data interpretation. Crucially, and with some bearing on the current healthcare context, this interpretive study sheds light on what goes on beneath the surface of an apparently ‘irrational’ and ‘recalcitrant’ patient, evidenced by Ella’s entry into what I call a ‘vortex of suffering’. Findings point towards her suffering as an expression of a psychosocial reality, against the backdrop of hope and ideals contained within a psychosocial imaginary that revolves around biomedical cure and reparation.
... Many interventions that are appropriate for use in higher education and mental health contexts have already been found to increase well-being. Activities such as journaling or making art that emphasize an individual's awareness of and appreciation for their character strengths can provide a means to reflect upon and bolster these strengths (Darewych & Riedel Bowers, 2018); expressive writing and reflective journaling, for example, have been found to promote hope (Connolly Baker & Mazza, 2004;Pennebaker, 1990;Seligman et al., 2005). Improvements in sleep hygiene and energy have been associated with increases in the character strength of zest (Niemiec et al., 2012), and cultivating relationships may increase love . ...
... By codifying the types of words a person uses, quantitative linguistic analyses can be used to approximate a variety of psychological constructs, including a person's emotions and moral concerns [22,23]. For example, in a study by Pennebaker [24], the words in trauma victims' journals were counted by their function. Results indicated that as people processed their trauma, they used more causal words to explore the context and reasons behind their histories, which in turn predicted health outcomes. ...
Article
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How do interactions with an ideologically extreme online community affect cognition? In this paper, we examine whether engagement with an online neo-Nazi forum is associated with more one-sided, “black and white” thinking. Using naturalistic language data, we examined differences in integrative complexity, a measure of the degree to which people acknowledge and reconcile conflicting ideas and viewpoints, and contrasted it with Language Style Matching, a measure of group cohesion. In a large web scraping study ( N = 1,891), we tested whether two measures of engagement and interaction with the community are associated with less complex, balanced cognition. Using hierarchical regression modeling, we found that both individuals who had been community members for longer and those who had posted more tended to show less complexity in their language, even when accounting for mean differences between individuals. However, these differences in integrative complexity were distinct from group cohesion, which actually decreased with our measures of engagement. Despite small effect sizes, these findings indicate that ideologically extreme online communities may exacerbate the views of their members and contribute to ever-widening polarized cognitions.
... Examples of wise interventions include: brief writing exercises that help people give meaning to traumatic experiences, directing them away from blaming themselves or viewing the world or other people as dangerous (Pennebaker, 1997) and asking mothers considered as at-risk of poorer outcomes for their children about the cause of problems with their child, until they come up with a non-child blaming and non-self-blaming reason (Bugental et al., 2002). Each of these brief interventions has led to significant and long-term improvements in outcomes, relative to control groups. ...
... Examples of wise interventions include: brief writing exercises that help people give meaning to traumatic experiences, directing them away from blaming themselves or viewing the world or other people as dangerous (Pennebaker, 1997) and asking mothers considered as at-risk of poorer outcomes for their children about the cause of problems with their child, until they come up with a non-child blaming and non-self-blaming reason (Bugental et al., 2002). Each of these brief interventions has led to significant and long-term improvements in outcomes, relative to control groups. ...
... It gives legitimacy and acceptability to individuals that give satisfaction. Sigmund Freud described emotions and feelings that determines the form of behaviour of the individuals in society (Pennebaker, 1997). Secondly, financial health determines the level of satisfaction which reduces stress and anxiety that make individuals happy. ...
Article
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The pursuit of happiness is the major goal of humanity. Multidisciplinary research efforts had tried to find its determinants. This study investigates the role of different dimensions of institutional quality of happiness for 33 Asian countries. Quality of institutes helps people feel a sense of control and achievement, which may lead to perceived wellbeing. This study has used a panel FGLS model. The results confirmed that good governance, money, openness, and employment have a significant effect on happiness. It is urged that improvement in indicators like regulatory quality and rule of law to promote employment and trade openness which may help in national happiness.
... The support of our hypothesis suggests that listening to trauma, on average, is a risk factor for listeners in general and professionals working with trauma survivors (rape victims, genocide refugees). The average effect supports hypotheses and claims about STS phenomena, vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, etc. (Coyne et al., 1987;Kassam-Adams, 1995;Kessler et al., 1985;Maslach, 1982;Pennebaker, 1997). ...
Article
Although sharing traumatic experiences with others can facilitate Speakers coping, scholars have hypothesized that the listeners experience stress. We tested this hypothesis by reviewing published literature on the association between exposure to speakers’ trauma accounts and listeners’ stress. We found 49 articles with relevant data, reporting 142 effect sizes. To account for the nesting of effect sizes within articles, we performed a three-level meta-analysis. The meta-analytically weighted mean of the correlations between exposure to trauma and stress was r‾ = .15, p < .0001. Yet, the effect was highly heterogeneous Q141 = 964.3, p < .0001, I2 = 88.6%, τ = .20. Based on τ, a 95% prediction interval suggests that the true effects of exposure and stress could range from −.24 to .54. Exploratory moderator analyses suggested that long-term exposure attenuates the association and that type of stress measure does not. These results show that exposure can stress the listener, calling for additional research to understand the conditions that mitigate this effect.
... In ancient societies, ceremonial masks could empower those wearing them to heal, inhabit or punish. Synnott (1990: 61) notes that contemporary culture is replete with advice to mask our true feelings and emotions, so much so that research has highlighted the negative physical and mental health implications that can result from adhering to this cultural imperative (Pennebaker, 1997). People routinely use cosmetics to 'put their face on' and many submit to surgical make-overs and face-lifts to create a preferred public persona (Korichi et al., 2008). ...
Article
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The aim of this article is to develop the concepts of masks and masking to interrogate the role of institutions in the co-production of ‘untouchable’ celebrity icon status. The empirical focus is the multi-institutional masking of Sir Jimmy Savile OBE KCSG. For decades, Savile was celebrated as one of the UK’s best-loved celebrity icons. One year after his death, he was exposed as a serial sexual predator. We argue that the largely compartmentalised official reports on Savile have presented a partial analysis. They have emphasised the importance of Savile’s celebrity status while taking it for granted, downplayed the significance of his moral standing in British society, and marginalised the proactive, enabling role of the BBC, the NHS and the British establishment. However manipulative the individual, we propose that it was Savile’s cumulative multi-institutional masking as celebrity personality (the BBC), celanthropist (the NHS) and, ultimately, celebrity icon (the British establishment) that co-produced his ‘untouchable’ status and enabled him for decades to deflect and discredit rumour, gossip and allegations about his sexually predatory behaviour. We conclude by reflecting on the ‘researchability’ of powerful elites, and by suggesting how our analysis might inform further research into the power dynamics that have co-produced the ‘untouchability’ of other celebrities subsequently exposed as serial sexual predators.
... Turner (1975) asserts how ritual helps participants resolve conflicts and restores social and psychic equilibrium. One specific example is confession found in many religious which can achieve catharsis (Pennebaker, 1997). Finally, Dein and Loewenthal (2013) in their study of the Jewish Sabbath found that participants reported positive mental health benefits including more time to contemplate significant life issues, time out from mundane concerns and the development of closer relationships (see also Pruyser, 1968). ...
... Prolonged grief from any loss has potential to disrupt one's sense of self (Papa & Maitoza, 2013). Researchers have also established that it is helpful to "name and claim" grief and that writing about emotional experiences can be a therapeutic process (Pennebaker, 1997). Ultimately, given the substantial effects that death anxiety and grief have on wellbeing, educators must recognize that students may be experiencing high death anxiety and significant ambiguous loss should inform teaching practices and course structure. ...
Article
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For gerontological educators, topics such as mortality, loss, and end-of-life issues often emerge or are central in their courses. However, teaching in the era, and aftermath, of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the salience of death and loss, raising questions about best practices and teaching pedagogies to support student learning amidst a global crisis. This qualitative study utilized written narratives collected during the pandemic from students enrolled in an undergraduate thanatology course. Content analysis of written narratives (n = 44) revealed three themes that can help inform strategies to best support student learning during challenging times. Participants desired more flexibility; compassion and understanding; and more targeted resources and socioemotional support. Results have immediate implications for educators teaching during the pandemic and for years to come. We provide recommendations for teaching and learning support, as well as advocate for more university and community-based thanatology and gerontology education offerings.
... The location of the term has no significance (Rusk & Waters, 2013, p. 5) Positive psychology is continuing to develop understandings of life experiences, such as positive emotions, social relationships and achievement, as well as to identify and validate activities that improve well-being e.g. loving-kindness meditation (Fredrickson, Cohn, Coffey, Pek, & Finkel, 2008), savoring (Bryant, Ericksen, & DeHoek, 2011) and journal writing (Pennebaker, 1997). ...
Article
The capacity to cultivate flourishing relationships has important implications for health and well-being (Reis & Gable, 2003). There is increasingly a focus in positive psychology, and related fields, on identifying the positive processes and skills that can be employed to foster warm, momentary connections with others, as well as long-lasting, life-enhancing social bonds. At the basis of many of these skills is a requirement to cultivate an interest and concern for others; an orientation towards supporting and promoting other people’s well-being. This orientation towards others has the potential to positively impact well-being beyond the participants in the interaction. The benefits of positive social connections have been found to ripple out to other people in the network (Fowler & Christakis, 2009). Therefore the potential positive impacts of developing and cultivating positive relationships are substantial and wide-reaching.
... La escritura expresiva es una técnica que permite narrar eventos emocionales traumáticos o estresantes, a fin de modificar las reacciones emocionales y comportamentales asociadas a esas circunstancias (Pennebaker y Beall, 1986). Respecto a esta 7 técnica, Pennebaker (1997Pennebaker ( , 2004 y sus colegas (Pennebaker, Francis y Booth, 2001;Pennebaker y King, 1999;Pennebaker, Mehl y Niederhoffer, 2003) afirman que a través de la narración escrita de las situaciones estresantes que enfrenta la persona, se elabora un marco explicativo que posibilita una mejor comprensión de los eventos. Mediante la escritura se desarrollan mejores interpretaciones de las situaciones experimentadas y, con esto, una mejora en el estado emocional. ...
Article
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The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual and remote expressive writing to reduce anxiety levels in the midst of the current Covid-19 pandemic in Colombia. The sample consisted of 14 university students, with an average age of 35 years, mainly women and finishing their professional training. A single-case AB experimental design was used, with pre- and post-intervention measurements. For these measurements, the Trait-State Anxiety Inventory (IDARE) was used to quantify the levels of anxiety in the sample. As a model of intervention, the protocol formulated by Pennebaker was carried out, developing specific adaptations to the Colombian context and the pandemic situation. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 16 software. Among other results, it was determined that expressive writing slightly decreased levels of state anxiety and trait, however, not statistically significant. Finally, it is suggested to develop studies with larger population samples and quantifying the mediating and moderating variables, in order to optimize the effectiveness of the treatment, since it is easy to apply and low cost, It can be complementary to the traditional individual intervention model, contributing to the mitigation of the phenomenon of mental health effects, mainly of anxiety tables in university students.
... Qualitative research design helps "to generate useful knowledge about health and illness, from individual perceptions to how global systems work" (Green and Thorogood, 2018, p. 6) allowing for deep knowledge. Furthermore, narrative is a recognized tool to explore autobiographical experiences in terms of thoughts, emotions, and feelings as well as an intervention to promote emotional elaboration and meaning making (Pennebaker, 1997;Pennebaker et al., 2003). As a natural act to elaborate life episodes and generate meanings (Bruner, 1990), narrative enriches the search for evidence on autobiographical experience especially in both normative and not normative life transitions, when the need for meaning making about the self is strong. ...
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Introduction Despite a growing interest in the field, scarce narrative studies have delved into adolescents’ psychological experiences related to global emergencies caused by infective diseases. The present study aims to investigate adolescents’ narratives on positive and negative experiences related to COVID-19. Methods Italian adolescents, 2,758 (females = 74.8%, mean age = 16.64, SD = 1.43), completed two narrative tasks on their most negative and positive experiences during the COVID-19 emergency. Data were analyzed by modeling an analysis of emergent themes. Results “Staying home as a limitation of autonomy,” “School as an educational, not relational environment,” the impact of a “new life routine,” and experiencing “anguish and loss” are the four emergent themes for negative experiences. As for positive experiences, the four themes were “Being part of an extraordinary experience,” “Discovering oneself,” “Re-discovering family,” and “Sharing life at a distance.” Conclusion Authors discuss the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents’ developmental tasks, such as identity processes and autonomy acquisition.
... Trust and emotions are a natural part of the learning process, with respect to both the learning climate and the outcome. Understanding actions and thoughts (Shalev et al., 1998;US Army, 2011) is equally essential when airing and understanding emotions (Dyregrov, 1989;Mitchell, 1983;Pennebaker, 1997). Accepting emotions in debriefing may contribute to learning without digging too deeply into traumatic issues (Pearson & Smith, 1985;Stein, 2002). ...
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... According to Pennebaker et al. (1987), disclosure, compared to holding in painful thoughts and feelings, is associated with lower SCL. Pennebaker et al. (1989;1990) also compared the SCL of Holocaust survivors describing their experiences and undergraduates' SCL who later watched the videorecordings. Undergraduates' SCL was synchronized with the narrators-but in opposite directions. ...
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... • Encourage expressive writing, a simple but powerful strategy to help community members make sense of their trauma for themselves. This involves writing uninterrupted for 15 min a day, either about any topic that comes to them, without stopping to edit or analyze, or about a single issue that is important to them where they would like to explore associated thoughts and emotions (Crowley, 2014;Pennebaker, 1997). • Create shared meaning with family members (Saltzman, Pynoos, Lester, Layne, & Beardslee, 2013;Saltzman, 2016). ...
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When research becomes art, there are inherent personal and professional challenges. In this chapter, Laura Apol describes how she became personally attached to the young people who were part of the writing workshop she co-facilitated in Rwanda and how a sense of commitment to the work and the participants permeated the undertaking, leading her to write as a means of exploring and expressing aspects of her experience. Apol shares her early writing, which she characterizes as having been written primarily for herself, to demonstrate how poetry became a way of listening deeply, of better understanding herself and others, of processing her own learning, and of responding meaningfully to the trauma of survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi.
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Abstract [sv] Litteraturen diskuteras av hävd livligt, och så har det också varit på senare tid. Tydliga exempel är kanondebatten för några år sedan och den nu aktuella debatten om fakta och fiktion. Mindre uppmärksamhet har däremot i både forskning och media ägnats litteraturens betydelse och funktion för läsarens existentiella och sociala personlighetsutveckling. I syfte att stärka detta viktiga område anordnades därför det tvärvetenskapliga symposiet ”Litteratur som livskunskap” i Borås den 23–24 september 2008. Det var ett samarrangemang mellan Institutionen för biblioteks och informationsvetenskap vid Högskolan i Borås (Skans Kersti Nilsson)och Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen vid Uppsala universitet (Torsten Pettersson). Evenemanget finansierades av Riksbankens jubileumsfond. Symposiets utgångspunkt var att lyfta fram det intellektuella, emotionella och funktionella samspelet mellan litteraturen och läsaren, litteraturens möjlighet att stimulera tankar och känslor inom individen men också tankeutbyte mellan individer. Denna litteratursyn förekommer inom många områden och ämnesdiscipliner. Att bedriva och utveckla motsvarande forskning är en uppgift för litteraturvetenskap, för biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap, för svenskämnets didaktik och i lärarutbildningen, för medicin och vårdvetenskap, för psykologi, psykiatri och psykoterapiutbildning, för filosofi och teologi. Här finns det sammantaget en stor potential för nya insikter. Det positiva gensvar som vi fick då vi kontaktade forskare från dessa områden visar också att en tvärvetenskaplig samling uppfattas som angelägen. Samtliga sjutton föredrag som hölls vid symposiet levererades sedan också – ibland i något omarbetad form – för denna volym. Ordet ”livskunskap” har av volymens redaktörer valts med anknytning till den amerikanska filosofen Martha Nussbaums banbrytande arbete om filosofi och litteratur, Love’s Knowledge (New York 1990). Nyaristotelikern och dygdeetikern Nussbaum har i sin forskning ställt frågan om hur vi bör leva. Målet för människans liv är, menar hon, självförverkligande. Det uppnås då vi väljer att leva ett gott liv, och svaret på frågan ”Hur bör vi leva?” finner vi inom oss själva. Detta svar är alltså i viss mening subjektivt men, som hon tydligt markerar, därför inte relativistiskt. Det råder betydande enighet om vad som är grundläggande för ett gott mänskligt liv. Martha Nussbaum betraktar således relationen mellan litteratur och etik som mycket intim. Vi läser för att förverkligas, vi ”läser för livet” (”reading for life”, Love’s Knowledge, s. 29): för att ställa våra egna frågor till de texter vi älskar, för att söka bilder och förebilder att spegla våra liv i. Litteraturläsning ger, menar Nussbaum, den typ av kunskap som Aristoteles kallar ”fronesis”, d.v.s. praktisk kunskap baserad på en positiv uppfattning om människans förmåga till empati och medkänsla. Denna förmåga är väsentlig även för det demokratiska samhället. Den svenska terminologin på området är ännu inte etablerad och vårt ordval ”livskunskap” och ”personlighetsformande” motsvaras ibland av andra uttryck om ”verklighetsförståelse” och ”identitetsbyggande”. Gemensamma antaganden för denna volym och det symposium som den utgår från kan dock sägas vara: ”Litteraturen gestaltar en syn på livet”; ”Litteraturläsning skapar en dialog mellan text och läsare”; ”Denna dialog kan påverka läsarens livssyn och personlighetsutveckling”; och ”Denna påverkan är värd att studera i ett tvärvetenskapligt perspektiv”. Sammantaget, men i många fall också var för sig, kombinerar bidragen åtskilliga perspektiv. En gruppering av dem har därför inte varit alldeles lätt men ändå nödvändig för att läsaren skall se en grundläggande struktur. Boken liksom symposiet inleds med Juhani Ihanus keynoteföredrag, som ger ett historiskt och teoretiskt perspektiv på hur ordens och litteraturens betydelse kan uppfattas. Tillsammans med fem andra principiellt inriktade bidrag bildar det en första avdelning ”Historiska och teoretiska utgångspunkter”. Därefter följer ”Möten med litteraturen”, en avdelning som redogör för läsningens betydelse såväl individuellt som i (terapi)grupper och för möjligheterna att bedriva forskning kring detta. Den sista avdelningen ”Litteraturens roll inom skolan, biblioteken och högskolan” belyser, som rubriken anger, försöken att mer eller mindre målmedvetet utnyttja litteraturens potential som livskunskap inom utbildnings- och biblioteksväsendet. Genomgående för alla avdelningar är att många artikelförfattare också föreslår nya forskningsuppgifter. En ofta återkommande gemensam nämnare är då behovet att främja växelverkan mellan å ena sidan textorienterade vetenskaper och å andra sidan vetenskaper som koncentrerar sig på människans psyke. Det är en naturlig följd av ett enkelt men fundamentalt faktum, nämligen det att litteraturens värdefulla potential för livskunskap alltid i sista hand bygger på samspelet mellan textens beskaffenhet och läsarens psykiska konstitution. Det är en integrerad process – men den västerländska vetenskapssamhället splittrar upp den nödvändiga forskningskompetensen i olika discipliner. Denna volym är ett första litet steg i en mer integrerad riktning. Det är vår förhoppning att den skall stimulera svensk forskning till att fortsätta dess inriktning: att bättre förstå det intrikata samspelet mellan text och psyke för att kunna stöda och utveckla det i olika mänskliga sammanhang.
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This study describes differences in medicolegal death investigators’ written descriptions for people who died by homicide, suicide, or accident. We evaluated 17 years of death descriptions from a midsized metropolitan midwestern county in the United States to assess how death investigators psychologically respond to different manners of death (N = 10,408 cases). Automated text analyses suggest investigators describe accidental deaths with more immediacy relative to homicides, while they also described suicidal deaths in less emotional terms than homicides as well. These data suggest medicolegal death investigators have different psychological reactions to circumstances and manners of death as indicated by their professional writing. Future research may surface context-specific psychological reactions to vicarious trauma that could inform the design or personalization of workplace-coping interventions.
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Background: Based on the principles of Narrative Medicine, this study explored a narrative-based workshop for multi-level interdisciplinary clinicians who have EOL conversations. Methods: Fifty-two clinicians participated in narrative-based interactive workshops. Participants engaged narrative in three forms: viewing narratives, writing/sharing narratives, and co-constructing narratives. Post workshop interviews were conducted and thematically analyzed. Results: Five themes characterized how the workshop shaped learning and subsequent care experiences: (1) learning to enter/respond to the patient stories, (2) communicating across professions and disciplines, (3) practicing self-care. Additional themes emphasized (4) barriers to narrative learning and (5) obstacles to applying narrative to practice. Discussion: Results highlight the function/utility of narrative forms such as the value of processing emotions via reflective writing, feeling vulnerable while sharing narratives, and appreciating colleagues' obstacles while observing patient-clinician simulations. Challenges associated with narrative such as writing anxiety and barriers to implementation such as time constraints are detailed to inform future initiatives.
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Background Although narratives—including an ill person's life story, life situation and future perspectives—seem to lie at the core of rehabilitation and palliative care in Scandinavian countries, we lack a scope of how, when and where narrative methods are used. Such a scope could provide knowledge and inspiration on a practical as well as a policy level. The objective of this study is to explore the literature on the use of systematic, narrative methods in rehabilitative and palliative care for people with life-threatening illness in Scandinavian countries. Method We conducted a scoping review in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) where applicable. We performed a systematic search in CINAHL, Medline, PsychInfo, SOCIndex and SveMed+using the search terms ‘life threatening illness’, ‘narratives’, ‘rehabilitation’, ‘palliative care’ and ‘Scandinavia’, followed by a search for grey literature. We found 42 records to be eligible for this scope and extracted the data via piloted extraction tables. Results We identified 17 narrative methods and present findings concerning four themes: (1) a record of the narrative methods used; (2) an objective and theoretical framework for the narrative methods; (3) the content and form of the narrative methods; and (4) the significance of the narrative methods used. Conclusion Narrative methods are used in systematic ways in rehabilitation and palliative care in Scandinavian countries and cover a wide variety of objectives, theoretical frames, forms and outcomes. Further development may benefit from more elaboration on definitions and the relationships between objectives, theoretical frameworks and outcomes.
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This randomized controlled trial examined the impact of The Connection Project, an experiential, relationship‐focused intervention designed to improve school belongingness and decrease symptoms of depression and loneliness among new college students. Participants were 438 first‐year and transfer students (232 treatment, 206 waitlist‐control) at a medium‐sized, 4years, predominantly White public university in the Southeastern United States. At postintervention, the treatment group reported significant relative increases in school belonging and significant relative reductions in levels of loneliness and depressive symptoms in comparison to waitlist‐controls. Program effects were stronger for students from marginalized racial or ethnic backgrounds, students from lower socioeconomic status households, and transfer students. Results are interpreted as suggesting the utility of experiential, peer‐support prevention programming to promote college students' well‐being, particularly college students who hold identities that are traditionally disadvantaged in this context. Participants report reduced depression and loneliness relative to waitlist‐controls. Participants report increased belongingness at their school, even when remote. Program benefits are strongest for marginalized students, most at‐risk for disconnection. Experiential programming and supportive peer relationships promote college students' well‐being. Prevention programming may be a first line to reducing burden on college mental health services. Participants report reduced depression and loneliness relative to waitlist‐controls. Participants report increased belongingness at their school, even when remote. Program benefits are strongest for marginalized students, most at‐risk for disconnection. Experiential programming and supportive peer relationships promote college students' well‐being. Prevention programming may be a first line to reducing burden on college mental health services.
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The progressive escalation in military suicides, along with a substantial increase in post-traumatic stress diagnosis among active military personnel and veterans, has become a significant humanitarian, societal, and cultural concern. Such a defining moment illuminates the need for timely and innovative treatment approaches for combat-related post-traumatic stress. This research explored depth psychological practices within short-term, group-based treatment programs. Using a phenomenological research method, interviews were conducted with six former combat veteran alumni of these programs to gather new insights and understanding into their lived experience. Informants described meaningful reductions in post-traumatic stress, moral injury, and treatment-resistance, while treatment completion rates increased significantly. Research findings suggest depth psychological practices do exhibit compelling potential as valuable, or formidable treatment approaches, alongside current evidence-based treatments. Based on the findings of this preliminary exploration future research is warranted on depth psychological treatments and group-based programs for combat-related post-traumatic stress.
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Neste estudo, buscamos demonstrar os vários caminhos de interpretação que podemos percorrer em uma obra, utilizando como objeto de estudo a obra de ficção S., publicada nos Estados Unidos em 2013 e no Brasil em 2015, escrita por Doug Dorst e J.J. Abrams. Trabalhamos com a perspectiva da estética da recepção, demonstrando que o leitor pode, a partir de seu rol de conhecimentos, inferir vários significados e reflexões acerca da obra, sem, contudo, extrapolar os limites do texto. Referimo-nos ao livro S. como uma produção, por entender que ele encerra mais do que um livro, mas toda uma criação além do trabalho intelectual literário, e utilizamos o conceito da botânica sobre rizoma, onde de uma planta pode surgir várias outras como uma metáfora para as várias interpretações que podem advir de um texto. Para uma melhor compreensão do todo, fazemos um breve estudo das várias narrativas presentes em S. e de como elas estão conectadas dentro desse jogo textual, que o suporte impresso nos proporciona. Demonstramos como S. pode ser compreendida como uma obra aberta, termo desenvolvido por Umberto Eco. Abordamos os conceitos de autor, leitor, leitura, transtextualidade, jogo textual e a interpretação dos símbolos, signos e significados no processo de leitura. Mostramos que, embora o suporte impresso seja o recomendado pelos próprios autores, existem as versões em e-book e audiobook, e como o suporte analógico transita pelo digital, através de sua estrutura, que apresenta formas semelhantes aos hiperlinks e hipermídias da leitura digital. Verificamos, também, como a própria ficção se apropria da estética da recepção para analisar a obra ficcional (O navio de Teseu) dentro da obra S. Para tanto, tal análise buscou apoio em teóricos como Mikhail Bakhtin, Ferdinand de Saussure, Umberto Eco, Gerárd Genette, Roland Barthes, entre outros, para fundamentar os pressupostos da pesquisa. Seguimos por uma abordagem psicanalítica que tratou as questões de memória, identidade, gênero, sonhos, solidão, teoria do duplo, afeto parental e suas influências nos personagens, utilizando, principalmente, as teorias de Jacques Lacan e Sigmund Freud.
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The current paper used a preregistered set of language dimensions to indicate how scientists psychologically managed the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. Study 1 evaluated over 1.8 million preprints from arXiv.org and assessed how papers written during the COVID-19 pandemic reflected patterns of psychological trauma and emotional upheaval compared to those written before the pandemic. The data suggest papers written during the pandemic contained more affect and more cognitive processing terms to indicate writers working through a crisis than papers written before the pandemic. Study 2 (N = 74,744 published PLoS One papers) observed consistent emotion results, though cognitive processing patterns were inconsistent. Papers written specifically about COVID-19 contained more emotion than those not written about COVID-19. Finally, Study 3 (N = 361,189 published papers) replicated the Study 2 emotion results across more diverse journals and observed papers written during the pandemic contained a greater rate of cognitive processing terms, but a lower rate of analytic thinking, than papers written before the pandemic. These data suggest emotional upheavals are associated with psychological correlates reflected in the language of scientists at scale. Implications for psychology of language research and trauma are discussed.
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Individuals differ markedly in their emotional functioning following stressful experiences, an individual difference dimension known as emotional resilience. Emotion regulation is known to be implicated in emotional resilience. However, the nature of this relationship remains unclear. Historically, reappraisal was considered an adaptive strategy. However, recent theories suggest emotional resilience requires flexible selection of the optimal emotion regulation strategy appropriate for varying stressors. Individual differences in choosing regulatory strategies were tested to determine whether: (1) a general preference for reappraisal; or (2) alignment (a tendency to choose reappraisal/distraction for low/high intensity stimuli respectively) leads to greater emotional resilience. Our study (N = 223) tested these hypotheses through a choice paradigm task. Regression analyses showed no support for either hypothesis. Results provided initial evidence of a need to capture other theoretical factors that may moderate the effects of regulatory strategies on emotional resilience. Suggestions to optimise future research design are discussed.
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Creative writing can offer exceptional resources for health promotion and holistic care. As a writer of poetry and prose, I facilitate one-to-one and group sessions in the NHS and complementary healthcare settings and teach medical students. Language is at the heart of perception. Reflective writing-sometimes combined with art-gives people a chance to reconsider and articulate in new ways. I know from personal experience and from observation of participants that writing provides important therapeutic possibilities and I am researching theory in related fields to examine and communicate how the process works.
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We map the available scientific literature on how and why victims of sexual violence use digital platforms in the aftermath of victimization. Twenty-four empirical studies on sexual victimization and online disclosure were identified by systematically searching Web of Science and PsycINFO, checking reference lists, and consulting authors about relevant publications. The literature on online disclosure of sexual victimization does not yield a coherent picture. International literature pays limited attention to the various components of online disclosure like the characteristics of victims who disclosure online and the characteristics of the disclosure messages. Most studies focused on motivations for and reactions to online disclosure. Victims of sexual violence disclose sexual victimization online to seek support for clarification and validation, unburdening, documenting, seeking justice, informing others, or commercial goals (individual-oriented disclosure) and to provide support, educate, and as a form of activism (other-oriented disclosure). Responses to online disclosure are predominantly positive. Negative responses are rare. This review provides a comprehensive overview of multidisciplinary empirical information and displays knowledge gaps in victimological research. Future research should use robust quantitative and/or qualitative designs with substantial sample sizes, comparing victims who do disclose their sexual victimization online to victims who do not and comparing disclosure on different online platforms to increase generalizability. Potential for online support is identified, in which online disclosure can serve as a relatively safe alternative to off-line disclosure. This offers points of intervention for assistance and victim support in facilitating the use of the internet for support for victims of sexual violence.
This paper focuses on the dyadic experience of Preverbal Medical Trauma as a factor in sharpening understanding of symptomatic behavior in young children. It highlights the connection between imssplicitly encoded relationship memories and the development of the child-caregiver attachment relationship before, during and following the medical trauma. Literature relating to the effects of early trauma on the child’s neuropsychological development is discussed, together with a closer look at the unique effect of early medical trauma on the attachment system. A dyadic psychotherapeutic treatment model is proposed, anchored in the EMDR Protocol and the attachment relationship. The case example provides a structured guide to processing of the early medical trauma and treatment of present symptoms, with a suggestion for future research.
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El objetivo de este texto es un recorrido emocional en tiempos de pandemia a través de la narración de un grupo de estudiantes universitarios. Se parte, en primer lugar, de la importancia de la narrativa como expresión social y práctica terapéutica.
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This article discusses the interwoven disruptions caused by the multiple crises of the COVID‐19 pandemic, violent incidents against persons of color, social justice concerns, and political and civil unrest. Discussion will center on how these crises impacted and continue to affect careers, schools, workplaces, and personal lives. The chapter will conclude with frameworks of care that can be adapted by adult learners and educators to respond to ongoing crises.
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Arts have consistently been part of life as well as healing throughout the history of humankind. Today, expressive therapies have an increasingly recognized role in mental health, rehabilitation and medicine. The expressive therapies are defined as the use of art, music, dance/movement drama, poetry/creative writing, play and sand play within the context of psychotherapy, counseling, rehabilitation or health care.Through the centuries, the healing nature of these expressive therapies has been primarily reported in anecdotes that describe a way of restoring wholeness to a person struggling with either mind or body illness. The Egyptians are reported to have encouraged people with mental illness to engage in artistic activity (Fleshman & Fryrear, 1981); the Greeks used drama and music for its reparative properties (Gladding, 1992); and the story of King Saul in the Bible describes music’s calming attributes. Later, in Europe during the Renaissance, English physician and writer Robert Burton theorized that imagination played a role in health and well-being, while Italian philosopher de feltre proposed that dance and Play was central to children’s healthy growth and development (Coughlin, 1990).
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Current trends within family law in England and Wales favor the introduction of 'no fault' divorce. However, using empirical data, this article argues that there is still a place for 'fault' and that the law is an appropriate place to express emotion and 'blame'. In the context of civil partnership, where it is impossible to specifically cite an ex-partner’s 'adultery' in the dissolution petition, the data indicate that petitioners have felt frustrated. This suggests that, were 'fault' to be removed entirely from the law, people may struggle to achieve emotional recovery after relationship breakdown, being offered fewer opportunities to tell their 'story'.
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