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New form of writing therapy to help carers

A new method known as written emotional disclosure (WED) explored to help support carers.
New method of supporting carers

It is well-known that carers tend to neglect themselves, that their health is often poor and that they suffer from high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Ways of best supporting carers are continually considered but many support mechanisms are not convenient and can actually be a burden, which impacts upon the caring role.

A new method of supporting carers has been explored known as written emotional disclosure (WED).

Writing therapy

This is a form of writing therapy whereby carers disclose the experience of a traumatic event, including their feelings and exploration of the event. This research aims to look at the previous literature into the benefits of WED to uncover how helpful it is for carers.

While results from four studies suggested WED reduces trauma there was no evidence that it improves

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It is well-known that carers tend to neglect themselves, that their health is often poor and that they suffer from high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

Carers diary
New method of supporting carers. Picture: iStock

Ways of best supporting carers are continually considered but many support mechanisms are not convenient and can actually be a burden, which impacts upon the caring role.

A new method of supporting carers has been explored known as written emotional disclosure (WED).

Writing therapy

This is a form of writing therapy whereby carers disclose the experience of a traumatic event, including their feelings and exploration of the event. This research aims to look at the previous literature into the benefits of WED to uncover how helpful it is for carers. 

While results from four studies suggested WED reduces trauma there was no evidence that it improves depression, anxiety or quality of life. Results from three studies suggest it improves general psychological health.

The research team observed that those who are relatively new to caring, newer carers of under 5 years, might benefit more from using WED as a way of coping with caring events that are more traumatic. As it is inexpensive and practical, it is suggested that it should be offered more widely.


Riddle J, Smith H, Jones C (2016) Does written emotional disclosure improve the psychological and physical health of caregivers? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2016.03.004

 

Research round-up is compiled by Stacey Atkinson, learning disability nursing lead at the Univeristy of Huddersfield

 

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