Expressive Writing: Words that Heal provides research results, in layman's terms, which demonstrate how and when expressive writing can improve health. It explains why writing can often be more helpful than talking when dealing with trauma, and it prepares the reader for their writing experience. The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: "Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing." Includes:
* A basic four-day, 20-minute daily writing session program.
* A six-week writing program using a different technique each week.
James Pennebaker is an American social psychologist and husband of Ruth Pennebaker. He is the Centennial Liberal Arts Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. His research focuses on the relationship between natural language use, health, and social behavior, most recently "how everyday language reflects basic social and personality processes"
This book is a must-read for writers, people who want to become writers, and anyone who is trying to overcome past traumas. As a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, it was initially difficult for me to "just write"; even about my most basic of emotions. It's so ingrained in my nature to write, re-read, edit, delete, re-write, so and and so forth. So you can imagine how large of a switch it was for me to just start writing; about anything, everything, whatever popped into my head at the moment and just "go with it". This book teaches excellent skills for using your writing as a way to heal your own soul and I found it to be very helpful. It allowed me to explore my thoughts on a deeper level, get out emotions that have been pent-up so long I didn't realize they were even there, and gave me a better sense of peace after keeping up with the daily writing exercises. I highly recommend this book.
Good stuff. I read it cuz I needed to (I'll have my Introduction to poetry therapy exam in 4 days, wish me luck 🤞). But I started to do the writing exercises - I'm done with the four-day program and I feel relieved - I sure as hell will do the rest of the excercises too. If you feel the slightest spark of openness to write, grab this book and start writing. It indeed has a healing potential.
(Note: I hope it's no need to say, but it ofc can't be a substitute for therapy.) (Note2: if all goes well, you can come to me to therapy within 1.5 years, woohoo)
this is a surprise of a self-help book. research based, not promising panacea, complete with responsible caveats. it's given me quite a lot of ideas for furthering my writing practice. my main complaint is that the latter sections of the book are incredibly unimaginative. still, i can see this being helpful to some folks.
Gdyby temat był mi całkowicie obcy, po tej książce założyłabym, że to strasznie pokomplikowana i pochłaniająca masę czasu metoda. A tak nie jest. Ja, która uwielbiam czytać o pisaniu, byłam tą książką znudzona, przytłoczona i przesycona powtarzaniem ciągle tego samego – z mikrozmiennymi, które pojawiają się w nas organicznie w miarę ekspresyjnego pisania, więc chyba nawet nie ma sensu o nich wspominać. 2,5 zaokrąglone do 3, bo jedna i dwie gwiazdki są zarezerwowane dla naprawdę kiepskich doświadczeń czytelniczych, a w tym wypadku książka nie była zła, tylko niepotrzebnie rozwlekła ;)
“Expressive writing can be a valuable tool in helping people to deal with traumas and emotional upheavals. Whereas many people can benefit greatly from writing, others don’t. If after writing, you feel as though you haven’t reaped any benefits or if you still need help in coping with your experience, please seek the advice of a physician, psychologist, or counselor.”
That said, you know how the world responds to you when you’re ready? When the teacher arrives when the student is ready to learn? The way books work is that, you know things yourself first, then there will come the books and mentors who will verify what you already know.
What I learned from this book is that I’ve been writing expressively, the wrong and right ways of doing it, since I was a kid. Which is probably why reading and writing have been my most constant source of self-medication and addiction.
The Universe reacts to us. If we are quiet enough to pay attention, we might see, hear and experience the Universe’s cogs and gears moving.
One way of getting quiet enough to stomach the Universe’s vastness is by mapping it all out in writing. Suddenly, after about a trillion words into my rambling journals, I read a book by someone else who sees the point in writing privately, tirelessly. We’re just trying to control the world, one secretive sentence at a sigh.
Me sucedió algo muy peculiar al leer este libro. En un primer momento, me pareció que no era nada fuera de lo común; incluso, algunas partes me parecieron aburridas o muy repetitivas. Sin embargo, al hacer una relectura de los apartados que me parecieron más relevantes, mi valoración del libro cambió de forma positiva, considerando su información como valiosa y relevante.
Creo que este cambio se debe a cómo el libro está estructurado: debido a que contiene muchas instrucciones para los diferentes ejercicios, leerlo de corrido se vuelve algo tedioso; pero si se aborda de forma seccionada y dosificada, puede ser una experiencia muy gratificante.
En mi opinión, el mayor provecho se puede sacar leyendo la primera parte de este libro de forma completa, pero luego, las partes II y III leerlas de manera selectiva, enfocándose en las temáticas que sean más interesantes y realizando los ejercicios de forma paralela.
Es un libro que recomendaría a personas que les gusta la escritura, o a terapeutas que quieran incorporar esta actividad a su repertorio de técnicas.
Something very peculiar happened to me when I read this book. At first, it seemed to me that it was nothing out of the ordinary; some parts even seemed boring or very repetitive. However, when I reread the sections that I found most relevant, my assessment of the book changed in a positive way, considering its information as valuable and relevant.
I think this change is due to the way the book is structured: because it contains many instructions for the different exercises, reading it all at once becomes tedious; but if approached in a sectioned and dosed way, it can be a very rewarding experience.
In my opinion, you can get the most out of it by reading the first part of this book in its entirety, but then read parts II and III selectively, focusing on the most interesting topics and doing the exercises in parallel.
It is a book that I would recommend to people who like writing, or to therapists who want to incorporate this activity into their repertoire of techniques.
If you have any trauma in your life, this book will help. NOTE:If you have severe trauma, have a support system closer than a phone call away as you go through the writing exercises! You’ll uncover things you’d forgotten and they can be re-traumatic.
Not what I was expecting to read. This is not a book to help aspiring writers as I once read in a review. This is a way for you to do a self-therapy, although its effectiveness is questionable. Found it repetitive and the assignments quite boring.
Directo y simple, con instrucciones para varios tipos de ejercicios de escritura. Me ha parecido bien fundamentado, no simple charlatanería, los autores son conscientes de que estos ejercicios no lo curan todo, pero pueden ayudar en algunos casos.
I think wonderful book is a powerful tool, with great potential for "using expressive writing to overcome traumas and emotional upheavals, resolve issues, improve health, and build resilience." The authors talk about the health benefits of writing; they act as coaches to assist in actual writing experiences, with specific day-by-day instructions. They also discuss different types of writing, including story telling, poetic, legacy, and affirmative writing. In their conclusion, they state "to continue this personal growth and healing, try to see your writing as a practice, much like yoga or meditation, or like regularly going to the gym. Use your writing to reframe experiences, write about events from a perspective of compassion and empathy, write about everyday events with great attention to details and a spirit of mindfulness, and write your appreciation and gratitude for what many may call the little things-things we know are the only things needful."
I'm not a scientist of the mind :-), so more than half of the book was not interesting to me, but the whole concept was and I tried the simple version of expressive writing, which was writing my heart and soul. You know, all the things I wanted to say, my deepest feelings, the ones I don't share with anyone, my wants and needs, anything that crossed my mind. Then I set the paper on fire - something so revealing cannot fall on the wrong hands. I appreciate the concrete facts and was a little skeptical but was determined to do the leap of faith. And it worked! I recommend to give the methodology a shot.