There is a popular belief that if something bad happens then talking about it is a good thing. But is it normal, or even healthy, to be expressing emotions and talking about negative events after they occur? And should people be encouraged to do so? According to recent research people who chose not to express their feelings, after a major trauma, do better than those who do talk about it. The findings indicate that when people express their thoughts and feelings about the negative event they have a worse reaction that those who don?t .
The study, to appear in the June issue of Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, looked at survivors of September the 11th attacks who did not lose a friend or family, and compared those who chose to express their thoughts and feelings versus those who didn?t. The findings, (which were those who expressed their emotions do worse off than those who don?t) challenges the assumption that people who are not encouraged to talk about an negative event, after it happens, will end up with some kind of unresolved issue or future pathology.
Often, after a trauma, people can feel that they are abnormal or weird because they don?t want to express their thoughts and feelings, and they are being encouraged to do so. Better advice, the lead researcher Associate Professor Mark Seery suggests, is to say that there is nothing wrong if they don?t want to express their thoughts and feelings and that they may even do better because of it. Of course, not everyone copes in the same way but what this research shows is that getting people to let it all out may not be such a good thing and could even be harmful for some people. To read the press release click here