‘It Was a Dark and Stormy Divorce…’

The Huffington Post:

About 2 million men and women go through marital separation every year, and many of those separations end in divorce. These stressful and painful events are known to cause all sorts of problems later on, including serious depression and deteriorating health. Despite this, very little is known about what really works to promote healing after a difficult breakup.

One promising intervention is what’s known as “expressive writing,” which involves disclosing one’s deepest thoughts and feelings through daily writing exercises. People going through separation or divorce are encouraged to let go of their inhibitions and write continuously for 20 minutes on each of four consecutive days, exploring details of the experience that they have not shared even with family and friends. This therapy is not new. Indeed, it’s been around for a quarter century, and has been shown to have a small but positive effect on both physiological and psychological well-being.

The theory behind expressive writing is compelling. Taking pen in hand — literally — is thought to enhance cognitive adaptation to stressful experiences. It’s believed that self-disclosure through writing can restore the shattered sense that the world is a meaningful and comprehensible place. But beyond this broad theory, little is known about how and why the act of writing works therapeutically, and for whom.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

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