This manual which is aimed at adolescents exposed to or bereaved through war and disaster, was developed out of a wish to provide more efficient ways of helping. Writing for Recovery is mostly based on Texan-based James Pennebaker’s work. For many years Pennebaker has shown that writing down feelings about an emotional experience can help reducing distressing reactions and improve health.
Six experts, James W. Pennebaker, Arnold van Emmerik, Frank Neuner, Atle Dyregrov, William Yule and Magne Raundalen met in 2005 and developed this manual in three days.
How it works
The adolescents meet twice a day for three consecutive days. Each writing lasts for only 15 minutes, which is a total of only 90 minutes of writing.
Results so far
The manual is currently evaluated in three separate studies. A pilot study in Iraq has shown that the manual had short term positive effects on Iraqi adolescent refugees in Jordan. It is now the subject of a large randomised control study. In addition a study from Gaza is underway. The manual has also been used in Iran with bereaved Afghani adolescent refugees. In a randomised control study those who received the writing intervention showed far less distress on the Foundation’s Traumatic Grief Inventory for Children.
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