Psychotherapy SPECIAL Issue: HIV and Psychotherapy

Online Ahead of Print: Dr. Ennis’ manuscript, “Therapeutic writing as a tool to facilitate the therapeutic process in the context of living with HIV: A case study examining partner loss,” has been accepted for publication in the APA journal Psychotherapy’s special edition on HIV and psychotherapy.

This work presented a unique opportunity to delve into therapeutic writing as an adjunct process tool using a single case study design. For people with HIV/AIDS (PWHA), partner loss has unique factors that complicate the grieving process and can lead to prolonged bereavement. Empirical evidence has demonstrated the benefits of emotional disclosure through therapeutic writing on physical symptoms, immune responses, and psychological distress. Therapeutic writing is based on the assumption that writing about one’s deepest thoughts and feelings allows cognitive, behavioral, and kinesthetic processing of stressful life events and/or traumas. The case presented explores the benefits and challenges of using expressive writing, in addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy, to address partner loss and disenfranchised grief in the context of people living with HIV/AIDS. Results suggest that therapeutic writing assisted with symptom alleviation, improvement in psychological well-being, and increased overall quality of life. Although the loss of a partner is a common human experience, therapists need to be aware that PWHA may have additional or different care needs that can put them at risk of heightened or prolonged bereavement.

Recommendations for using therapeutic writing are included.

To access the article, follow the link below: