Anyone who has ever entrusted a troubling secret to a journal, or mourned a broken heart with a friend, knows the feeling of relief that expressing painful emotions can bring. This book presents astonishing evidence that personal self-disclosure is not only good for our emotional health, but boosts our physical health as well. In controlled clinical research funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, psychologists James W. Pennebaker sheds new light on the powerful mind/body connection. Dr Pennebaker asks ordinary people to discuss their most difficult memories - including traumatic experiences they have never revealed to a soul - and traces the medical effects of this disclosure. The book interweaves the resulting data with insightful case studies on secret-keeping, confession and the hidden price of silence.
Filled with information and encouragement, Opening Up explains: Why suppressing inner problems takes a devastating toll on health How long-buried trauma affects the immune system How writing about your problems can improve your health Why it's never too late to heal old emotional wounds When self-disclosure may be risky - and how to know whom to trust This book would appeal to readers interested in understanding the relationship between emotional and physical health, and in minimizing the harmful effects of stress. Written for a general audience, the book also contains much of value to practitioners and students of psychology and psychotherapy.
James W. Pennebaker, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His research on stress, emotion, and health has been funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, and has resulted in the publication of over 100 articles and 7 books. Since receiving his doctoral degree in 1977, Pennebaker has taught at the University of Virginia and Southern Methodist University. His recent honors include an Honorary Doctorate degree from the University of Louvain (Belgium), the Pavlov Award, and the Hilgard Visiting Professorship at Stanford University. He lives in Austin with his wife, Ruth (a writer), and two children.