Psychotherapy Not Necessarily a Cure-all
New research shows that some traumatized people may be better off repressing the experience rather than illuminating it in therapy. George Bonanno, associate professor of psychology, agrees. He has studied the phenomenon of repressive and avoidance behavior for more than a decade by employing techniques such as verbal autonomic association which measure people's heartbeat, pulse rates and galvanic skin responses when they speak about trauma. His research has indicated that the repressors "had less grief over time and had a better overall life adjustment, and this has been consistent across studies."
Bonanno adds that current interventive practices that suggest that people discuss their experiences may be attributable to pecuniary, political and historical reasons as opposed to the ideal of curing people.
The article, entitled "New Research Shows That Some Emotionally Traumatized People Are Better Off Repressing Hurtful Memories, Instead of Dredging Them" appeared in the June 21 edition of The New York Times.
Published Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2003