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Writing Therapy Found Effective for Treating Posttraumatic Stress

15 Jul

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands investigated the efficacy of writing therapy over the internet as a viable therapy for posttraumatic stress and concurrent depressive symptoms.

The investigators searched the literature for both structured and unstructured strategies. Six studies met eligibility criteria and were included in the analyses. They included a total of 633 participants, of which 304 were assigned to writing therapy.

Across 5 direct comparisons of writing therapy to wait-list control, writing therapy resulted in significant and substantial short-term reductions in PTS and comorbid depressive symptoms.

There was no difference in efficacy between writing therapy and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, but this finding was based on only 2 direct comparisons.

The analysis concludes that writing therapy is an evidence-based treatment for PTS, and constitutes a useful treatment alternative for patients who do not respond to other evidence-based treatments.
Internet adaptations of writing therapy for PTS may be especially useful for reaching trauma survivors in need of evidence-based mental health care who live in remote areas or who prefer to retain their anonymity.

Citation:  van Emmerik AA, Reijntjes A, Kamphuis JH. Writing therapy for posttraumatic stress: a meta-analysis. Psychother Psychosom. 2013;82(2):82-8. doi: 10.1159/000343131. Epub 2012 Dec 22.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award