Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coping with Life's Upheaval Using Writing

As career developers we meet a lot of people who are struggling with emotional upheavals of one kind of another. Quite often, but not always, this upheaval is the result of being layed off. We sense that such people will find it difficult to do all the work that might be required to find the next steps in their careers whilst they are preoccupied with the past.

I am delighted to be able to say that there is a fairly straightforward technique that can help many of us in these circumstances. It requires nothing that you would not expect to find in any office, although I am sure it's worth studying the literature to get it right.

The basic idea is simply to get the client to write about an emotional upheaval of their own choice for about fifteen minutes to a half an hour on each of several days. Ask the client to be as uninhibited and expressive as possible. You do not review the writing; however, you might find it beneficial to support the client by asking for some form of verification that the work is done.

Professor James W Pennebaker provides a good summary.

I am indebted to the author of the ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree’ blog for pointing me toward this information.