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Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions
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Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  250 ratings  ·  31 reviews
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 astonishing evidence that personal self-disclosure is not only good for our emotional health, but boosts our physical health as well.

Psychologist James W. Pennebaker has conducted
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Paperback, Second Edition, 249 pages
Published August 8th 1997 by The Guilford Press (first published 1990)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Justin
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Keeping things to ourselves creates stress whereas expressing them through talking or writing benefits our mental and physical health. Pennebaker's research explores how inhibition hurts us compared to confrontation which although painful at first can ultimately benefit us. His research has focused on self-disclosure through writing in an laboratory setting with physiological measures. That said, his research brings some fascinating insights, but a good amount of it remains correlational. He exp ...more
Dottie Parish
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D., in his book, Opening Up, The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion, describes a study of unemployed men. The men who wrote about losing their jobs found new jobs much more quickly than the two control groups. Writing helped them vent anger, hurt and pain about their job loss. It enabled them to let go of painful experiences, and this in turn, helped them be effective in finding employment.

As a clinical social worker I know writing is helpful, Writing will help with any
...more
Eri
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: cure illness as part of healing methods:)
Shelves: self-help
Try experiment yourself by writing down anything that emerge from your mind, heart and soul during your hard times, sadness, dissapointment, heart break, down hearted...
Writing is the best therapy - as James' experiments have proved them - 'coz I did it too as part of healing my tumour in 2006-2007. Released all the stress, worries, wondering mind, doubtfulness, and many more.
To cure illness by expressing yourself in writing is the best treatment.
LizzardN
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Changed my life :)
Mary Alice
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoughtful explanations of studies Pennebaker conducted concerning confiding in others and expressing those thougts through writing.
Leonardo
Sep 06, 2018 marked it as to-keep-reference
Pennebaker began his research by studying the relationship between trauma, such as childhood sexual abuse, and later health problems. Trauma and stress are usually bad for people, and Pennebaker thought that self-disclosure—talking with friends or therapists—might help the body at
the same time that it helps the mind. One of his early hypotheses was that traumas that carry more shame, such as being raped (as opposed to a nonsexual assault) or losing a spouse to suicide (rather than to a car accid
...more
Corinne
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a firm believer in the power of journaling. I've found it helpful in my own personal development and working through difficult times and dilemmas as well as in that of my clients. Pennebaker provides the clinical research and evidence behind it while providing examples of interesting case studies.

This is an essential on my bookshelf of references. I've both the Kindle and the hardcopy versions.
Corinne
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a firm believer in the power of journaling. I've found it helpful in my own personal development and working through difficult times and dilemmas as well as in that of my clients. Pennebaker provides the clinical research and evidence behind it while providing examples of interesting case studies.

This is an essential on my bookshelf of references. I've both the Kindle and the hardcopy versions.
Antonella Danna
Il mio voto al libro dovrebbe essere considerato in parte in quanto non ho terminato la lettura. All'inizio il libro mi sembrava interessante, ma ho notato pensieri e riflessioni troppe volte ripetute per cui ho staccato la lettura prima di raggiungere metà del libro. Ammetto che per chi è interessato all'ambito della psicologia può risultare interessante, a me non è piaciuto tanto.
SAnderson
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting and sometimes insightful but as with so many self-help books it is a plodding, repetitive read that made it a slog.
Laura
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

*read for an English class
Debbi
Dec 14, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm not generally a self-help type person, but the author did provide some good information. This book is a result of his own studies on this subject. While I wanted to disagree with some of his conclusions, he did have the data to back up his claims. The book did lose steam on the last 1/3 of the book. How many times can you say that same thing over and over again?
Olga
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great book on the benefits of writing. He describes his experiment that show the benefits of writing about traumatic events for different circumstances: a traumatic event in the past, a secret that one cannot share with others, a natural disaster that crossed one's life. Written in a very engaging way. I'll read more.
Jodi McMaster
Perhaps it was all the hype, but I was disappointed by this book. The research he cites is interesting, but it raised as many questions as it answered. I agree that for some of us, journaling is a healing and useful tool, but there are so many variables that were not explored that I thought the analysis and conclusions were facile and unconvincing.
Kim
Apr 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
This book had some very interesting information on the physiological effects of inhibition, though I do feel the book was a bit long for the content provided. It seemed that the author was elaborating to fill space and grabbing at straws to tie everything together. But it is an interesting read, especially for those who are not inclined to be as open about their lives and feelings as some may be.
S. Aeschliman
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book, which summarizes decades of research conducted by Pennebaker, is surprisingly easy to read and contains not only a formula for self-healing through writing but also insight into how brainwashing works. I highly recommend it!
Jeanne Burkhart
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have encouraged a lot of supervisees to read this over the years and so thought I finally should. It's a good book to read if you work with trauma survivors, since it validates the importance of revealing your thoughts and feelings about difficult life experiences.
Vicki
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
James W. Pennebaker speaks about ground breaking new therapy to help those with past traumas. I learned so much and am going to apply it to a program I'm developing. He's the leading authority and I am so grateful he wrote this book.
Josephine Ensign
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Good chapters on "The Social Price of Disclosure" (includes secondary trauma and burnout) and on the uses of personal writing in education. Many of Pennebaker's books have repetitious material, such as on all of his research studies.
Frank
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Although not all of this book needs to be read in order to learn therapeutic writing techniques, it is, throughout, an enjoyable read. You will read of the experiments performed by the author and other psychologists, which are very, very interesting.

Very easy to understand.
Alison
Jan 01, 2009 marked it as to-read
This was a recommendation from my new trauma hero, Bessel van der Kolk, at his training "New Frontiers in Trauma Treatment". This is not a new book, but highlighted as a useful book that espouses the benefits of writing/narrative therapy.
Nancy Stephan
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great book of Pennebaker's original research on the effects of expressive writing on health outcomes, a subject near and dear to my heart.
James
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
great inspiration for inspiring writers and new writers alike: capturing the health aspects of writing
Becca
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great book! About the healing power of expressing emotions..good complimentary testimony to journal writing
Audrey
Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it
The author was recommended in a class I took.... I was surprised what an easy read it was
Andre Jones Jr
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Better tuned for someone who's a regular, non-writing Joe. Who might be the equivalent of someone looking for a shaman.
Chin Hwa
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
TOO GOOD. Integrated a lot of what I had been thinking about health, writing, teaching, language, and healing... A surprisingly easy read for a psychology book!
John Weiler
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
A haphazard collection of lacklustre anecdotes masquerading as a scholarly work. I regret wasting my time on this.
Elizabeth Gates
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So accessible. The kind of research report you can point doubters to and know their questions will be answered in comprehensible form
MO
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mind-spiritual
About the power of writing, disclosure, and how be a good listener.
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