- Paperback: 210 pages
- Publisher: The Guilford Press; Third edition (July 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1462524923
- ISBN-13: 978-1462524921
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Opening Up by Writing It Down, Third Edition: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain Paperback – July 15, 2016
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"An absorbing account of expressive writing and how it works. This book is full of ideas and techniques that will benefit anyone who reads it."--Timothy D. Wilson, PhD, author of Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By
"Opening Up by Writing It Down, Third Edition, is a wonderfully crafted blend of engaging examples and current scientific knowledge. The authors make a compelling case that people can improve their overall health and well-being by writing about troubling feelings and experiences. The book is fun and motivating, and it includes helpful exercises and suggestions to get you started on this path to wellness."--Dena Rosenbloom, PhD, author of Life After Trauma
"Fascinating. We learn that writing positively affects the immune system and can be a powerful tool in the treatment of trauma, psychological problems, and chronic disease. If you want to jump-start your brain, cleanse the mind, or resolve troublesome experiences, check out this classic book."--Susan M. Pollak, MTS, EdD, psychologist, Cambridge, Massachusetts
"Opening Up is a revelation--a fascinating account of the science of expressive writing, from two researchers on the front lines of discovery. This book shines new light on old ideas about the therapeutic effects of emotional expression and offers important insights about how, when, and why words have healing power. Sparkling with data, intelligence, and humanity, this book is essential reading for students of psychology. It provides a review of the research literature rigorous enough for undergraduate and graduate courses in health psychology, emotions, stress and coping, and psychotherapy, and at the same time offers compelling examples, lucid analysis, and straightforward advice that speaks to us all. This is a book that can change your life."--Deborah A. Prentice, PhD, Department of Psychology, Princeton University
About the Author
Joshua M. Smyth, PhD, is Professor of Biobehavioral Health and of Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Smyth has conducted extensive research on expressive writing and other innovative methods for promoting health and well-being and coping with stress.
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As boring as reading about research studies sounds, it's not like that at all. Pennebaker's writing is readable and not at all dense as academics tend to be when they're trying to put an over priced degree to good use. It's not at all like reading a thesaurus from start to finish. The author(s) provide a lot of real life examples and present their studies in a story telling or conversational format. It's like if one of your friends was telling you about a time they interviewed someone. They discuss personal experiences and the effects mental ailments had on them. They cover a wide variety of conditions and situations, as well as studies that other researchers have done, and pull it all together in a simple and digestible way. This isn't a textbook.
This book is more like someone saying "Hey, I think this would probably help you. It won't cure you but I see you're hurting and want you to get better. You seem skeptical so I'll tell you why." The best part of their research is that they are honest about the methods in which the studies were conducted, any potential bias the facilitators may have had or expectations that they had, and they pull studies and collaborations from universities world wide so they are not just presenting their own work exclusively. They are open about ambiguous data that may not have significant findings, or have not been studied enough to be conclusive, but are worth noting, as well as studies that resulted in findings they didn't expect or could have been done better in hindsight. You get an overview of the history of their field, the ground breaking accomplishments and shortcomings (something most departments don't readily admit).
Most importantly they are blunt about the reality of what Expressive Writing can and cannot do. I was worried a couple pages into the introduction that this would turn into an ad for a magical life solving product or method (yoga, essential oils, that crazy wrap thing, for example), but that didn't happen and instead I was pleasantly surprised by author's integrity and passion for wellness, people, and their craft. It's incredibly easy and common for academics to manipulate their research. That's part of the reason we will never know if coffee is killing us or giving us eternal life, yet we tune it at 11 p.m. every time to find out the latest wishy washy science claims.
I wouldn't put expressive writing in that category. I've not only been able to use it to help myself in the middle of a divorce, while trying to cope with a mood disorder, depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADD, etc. There's a lot on my plate right now. I've been able to sit down and write with intention and focus to identify problems, solutions, and feelings, rather than ranting with anger and escalating myself. It's helped to not only work on coping and self soothing skills and preventative maintenance, but has improved the ways that I address community conflict through social media platforms. We can either be productive discussing social issues or we can seriously hurt ourselves and our peers by using careless language. Expressive writing and conflict resolution skills have helped tremendously.
I don't know what else to say. It's a good resource. I know it's irritating for some that it's not a book of writing prompts. I'm fairly certain the author does have one like that, though, and if not he does endorse an online journal website that provides them but I cannot remember the website name, but another author that specializes in expressive writing contributed an add on for it.
I'm quite thankful for the book, it was worth the price, and by far has been the most useful so far.