Disclosure Of Traumas

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Psychotherapy is the treatment designed to help people deal with mental, emotional, or behavioral problems.(Nairne 582) Most scientists agree that psychotherapy is a valuable tool when it comes to treating mental illnesses and behavioral problems, but when it comes to the idea that psychotherapy can also be used as a way of improving one's health, there are many skeptics. James W. Pennebaker explores this idea in his study "Disclosure of Traumas and Immune Function: Health Implications for Psychotherapy." He proposed that psychotherapy can reduce the incidence of health problems. According to Pennebaker people who inhibit their feelings and behaviors are more vulnerable to long term stress and diseases. By applying psychotherapy these people can let go of their emotions and therefore improve their own health. In his study Pennebaker asked people to write about their most traumatic experiences to see how expressing their feelings will effect their health.

Indeed many researchers in the field of psychosomatics agree that anxiety and stress can cause or increase the chance of getting an illness.

People who have suffered a major tragedy such as the death of a loved one are also more susceptible to a variety of illnesses.

Thus it makes sense that by reducing anxiety and stress, one can decrease the chance of getting a disease. A recent study in the field of psychoneuroimmunology confirmed these ideas by indicating that the central nervous system can directly influence the functioning of immune system. One example of this is psychological stress associated with exams, loneliness, and divorce which can lead to adverse immunological changes.(Cohen 83) Many researchers believe that a good way to measure the immune function is by examining lymphocytes, or white blood cells. More specifically the way lymphocytes respond to substances foreign to the body called mitogens. In this study Pennebaker used...

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