The Healing Benefits of Writing About Trauma

When someone experiences something traumatic, whether first-hand or by witnessing, they can develop stress reactions or develop PTSD. Symptoms of trauma can range from flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, detachment to disorders like depression, addiction or other mental health issues. There is a lot of evidence to support how talking about traumatic experiences can relieve the symptoms of PTSD and stress reactions, whether that be with a friend, family member or therapist. But for some people, speaking about these experiences can be re-traumatizing and difficult, but new studies are showing great evidence to support how writing about trauma can be very beneficial. A recent study out of the University of Texas, asked students to write about personally traumatic events, for 15 minutes a day for four days, and the results were quite positive. Those who wrote about their trauma ended up visiting on-campus counsellors less often, using pain relievers less often than those who did not write their experiences.

So if traditional healing methods don’t appeal to you, try journaling and take advantage of such a healthy coping method. Besides, as Kim Barthel says, it’s not what happened to you, it’s how you deal with it that counts.

“In healing from trauma, it’s not so much what happened to you, but how you deal with it that has the most impact on how you cope. I used to work with a veteran who had just returned from Afghanistan. He told me he believed he would be better when he no longer remembered his trauma. And I said, “And then you’ll be dead.” It’s impossible to erase the memory of trauma; it’s how you deal with it that matters.” — Kim Barthel from ‘Conversations With A Rattlesnake’ It’s encouraging to see that so many trauma survivors are finding solace and guidance in reading ‘Conversations With A Rattlesnake’, and we encourage those of you who have to share your stories with us. Additionally, our blog is full of information on this topic and others that you may find helpful. And you can always join the conversation with us on Facebook or Twitter.

— Written by Amber Craig