Talking or writing about trauma that one might have experienced (emotional disclosure) is widely seen as being therapeutic for people but the evidence about this is mixed and the best way of achieving it is unclear. Researchers from Wayne State University in Detroit looked into this issue in a study of 214 people who had 'unresolved stressful experiences.' Some of the participants formed a control group while the rest of them had a 30-minute session of either written or private spoken disclosure, talking to a passive listener or talking to an active facilitator. After six weeks both the disclosure groups and the control group showed similar reductions in stress i.e. disclosure had no more effect than the passage of time. However, those people who had spoken or written about their experiences did show more post-traumatic growth; something defined as finding meaning in the experience, changing one's priorities, seeing new possibilities, increasing understanding and appreciation of life, improving relationships and making spiritual changes. There was no difference between the different methods of disclosure in the amount of post-traumatic growth they engendered.
Slavin-Spenny, Olga M. ... [et al] - The Effects of Different Methods of Emotional Disclosure: Differentiating
Post-Traumatic Growth From Stress Symptoms Journal of Clinical Psychology DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20750