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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/281

Title: Written emotional disclosure: what are the benefits of expressive writing in psychotherapy?
Authors: Graf, Maria Christine
Keywords: Clinical psychology;Expression;Emotions
Issue Date: 12-Apr-2004
Abstract: Empirical evidence supports the idea that emotional expression enhances one’s ability to cope with stressful life events. In the past, research on emotional expression has focused on the verbal expression of thoughts and feelings, as found in most theories of traditional psychotherapy. However, more recently, research investigating the written expression of traumatic life experiences has been shown to produce both psychological and physical health benefits, with several studies finding written and oral expression to result in similar psychological health gains. The current study investigated the extent to which outpatient psychotherapy clients benefited from a writing homework intervention based on Pennebaker’s written emotional disclosure protocol. The study also examined the effects of the writing homework on psychotherapy process and outcome. Method: Forty-four outpatient psychotherapy clients were randomly assigned to the written emotional disclosure condition or writing control condition. Pre-and post-session outcome measures were collected for three consecutive therapy sessions. Results: Clients in the emotional disclosure writing group showed significantly greater declines in symptoms of anxiety and depression; as well as increased life functioning and greater satisfaction with treatment when compared to the writing control group. Both the emotional disclosure writing group and writing control showed significant declines in stress symptoms, however, there were no significant group differences. Conclusions: Results suggest emotional disclosure writing homework, in conjunction with outpatient psychotherapy, appears to facilitate therapeutic process and outcome in outpatient psychotherapy.
URI: http://dspace.library.drexel.edu/handle/1860/281
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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