Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Using Storytelling to Decrease Depression and PTSD Symptoms

Posted on July 23, 2014

Photo: flickr

Sometimes a pencil is just a pencil. (I think Freud said that.) And sometimes, a pencil is a great deal more. (He probably said that too.)

Writing is a powerful tool for those dealing with mental health issues. It might be especially important in cases of trauma where integrating memory is a critical part of healing. Creative engagement, in the form of writing or other artistic expression, serves to decrease anxiety, stress and other psychological disturbances.


As if you needed more excuses to lock yourself up with a notebook, expressive writing also improves complications of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and depressive symptoms in those with a history of sexual abuse. Writing may also improve sexual dysfunction issues in those who write specifically about sexual topics. This type of writing may also serve to decrease depressive symptoms in those from abusive relationships.

That's a pretty powerful pencil.

Even studies that did not find decreases in PTSD symptoms following writing exercises still reported that those who engaged in writing were better able to handle scary physical stress responses, and that dysphoric mood--feeling generally unwell or dissatisfied--decreased.

But be patient. Because women who write about their traumatic experiences may feel worse initially, though they fare significantly better over time. This is because writing may serve to assist in integrating memories as well as processing the information in other ways, which may temporarily increase anxiety and PTSD symptoms as the body tries to deal with this influx of information. Difficult in the short term, but usually necessary for healing in the long term.

While expressive writing in general clearly has merit as a way to improve emotional issues and speed recovery, there may be a specific writing technique that is particularly beneficial in combating the loss of control often felt in cases of trauma.

To read the full post, please click on the link below.

Category(s):Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Complex PTSD, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from Megsanity