Opening Up by Writing It Down, Third Edition


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Table of Contents

1. "Shh ... It's a Secret": Beginning to Explore the Connection between Confession and Health
2. The Invention of the Expressive Writing Approach
3. What's on Your Mind?: Health Benefits of Verbal and Written Disclosure
4. Dealing with Chronic Health Problems Using Expressive Writing
5. Writing to Clear the Mind: Expressive Writing in Learning and Education
6. "Get These Thoughts Out of My Head!": Getting Past Obsessions, Insomnia, and Bouts of Stupidity
7. To Speed Up or Slow Down?: How People Differ in Coping with Trauma
8. "I'm Here for You ... or Am I?": The Audience on the Other End of Our Words
9. How Does Writing Help Us Secure a Healthier and Happier Future?
10. Pulling It All Together: Recommendations for Your Use of Expressive Writing

About the Author

James W. Pennebaker, PhD, the originator of expressive writing, is Regents Centennial Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Pennebaker conducts award-winning research and has published numerous books on the links between expressive writing and physical and mental health. 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.


"The power of expressing emotions is one of the most important discoveries psychologists have ever made. The authors blend scientific rigor with practical wisdom in an accessible book chock-full of insights. Write it down!"--Shelley E. Taylor, PhD, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

"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

"This stimulating text advocates a workable supplement to one's professional practice and should be required reading for all therapists and counselors....Lower-division undergraduates and above; faculty and professionals."--Choice Reviews

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