Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Rebecca Zarate


This literature review examines the positive impact that expressive writing can have on adults who have experienced a traumatic event and are suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Expressive writing can take a number of different forms and falls under the category of expressive arts therapy. When used in addition to traditional psychotherapy and, if necessary, psychotropic medications, expressive writing can be an effective treatment method for adults with PTSD. Despite an initial increase in negative affect arousal, engaging in an expressive writing intervention can result in numerous improvements in physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By facilitating the meaning-making process, expressive writing can also help trauma survivors to make sense of the events that they underwent, which may reduce cognitive dissonance and, subsequently, feelings of anxiety. The physiological and psychological processes that take place during these changes are discussed. More research still needs to be done on the exact physiology behind these many positive changes.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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