Indexed on: 16 Jul '08Published on: 16 Jul '08Published in: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
To establish whether writing about experiences of the first episode of psychosis may alleviate trauma-like symptoms among carers of people with psychosis.A total of 37 people caring for someone with early psychosis were randomized to two conditions: either writing about the first psychotic episode, or writing about time management. Data were collected before and after intervention, and 8 weeks later.Those in the writing group were significantly less likely to avoid reminders and feelings associated with their relative's episode at follow up. Furthermore, carers in this group who exhibited trauma-like symptoms had significantly greater reductions in trauma severity.Written emotional disclosure can help carers who are experiencing trauma symptoms following a relative's first episode of psychosis. If writing about emotional events is beneficial through mechanisms of exposure then screening participants for trauma symptoms may eliminate previous research inconsistencies. These results, however, need to be replicated in a larger study.