In 2023, Writing Therapy Could Improve Mental Health

Rebecca Hendrix, a licensed marriage and family therapist said writing therapy has long been an effective tool for unpacking and making sense of our feelings and thoughts.

It can sometimes feel like mental health treatment has become too tech-forward or experimental, including free online therapy and psychedelics for postpartum depression or PTSD. However, a recent rise in interest in writing therapy feels surprisingly old-school and grounded.

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Here are the reasons why writing therapy is so effective, according to these trained therapists.

In What Ways Does Writing Therapy Help?

In our healing process, we engage multiple areas of our brain when we write about our thoughts and feelings and then discuss them with a therapist. The act of writing about trauma or feeling under the guidance of a mental health professional is called writing therapy. LaNail R. Plummer, a licensed clinical professional counselor and CEO of Onyx Therapy Group, a team of 30 Black mental health professionals, says she doesn’t use lines in her writing therapy. “I give clients plain white paper, and they can write wherever they want—we don’t always have to write in prose. It can be all over the place.

The Benefits Of Writing Therapy For Health?

In addition to providing a medium to release our feelings, Haigh says that writing can help us stop ruminating about a distressing event or situation. “Leaving things on paper can provide that extra closure we need to stop repetitive thinking.” Writing can rewire your brain. Research suggests that writing might reduce activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes emotions and memories related to fear.

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Writing Therapy: How It Works

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by writing, you should work with a professional to help you through the feelings—having a trusted person witness your story, love you, and support you no matter what is decisive. A regular session may begin with your therapist having you write for a timed period. It can help clients feel less shame about traumatic experiences.