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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Expressive Writing: Intervention for Job Loss

Most people find job loss more or less stressful and some people find it difficult to put the loss of a job behind them. Not every remedy that has been proposed works for everybody. Still it's worth our having a stock of them to use when we encounter clients in difficulty. Interestingly, I understand that the classic study paradigm for trials of expressive writing for helping people to rid themselves of distressing feelings involved subjects that had experienced job losses.

Again, I read about this in Richard Wiseman's 59 Seconds book, the one that I mentioned just a day or two ago. However, I've done a little additional research to have enough information to hand to be able to use this intervention when needed.

The essential idea is to have the client simply jot down his or her thoughts, feelings and associations about the job loss, using pen or pencil on paper. The method is best used a few weeks to a few months after the loss. What is especially attractive about it in my opinion is that it is obviously low in cost, has proven to be low in risk and requires little effort on the part of practitioners. I won't attempt to suggest why it helps because, apparently, there are numerous theories!

The method is fully described in the Handbook of Low-Cost Interventions. Fortunately for us the handbook chapter we need is available here.