So, according to a University of Buffalo study, it might be better to bottle up your feelings after a traumatic event than to go the trauma/grief counselling route.
The study followed 2,138 people who were closely affected by 9/11. About two thirds chose to talk about their trauma, while the rest didn’t. Turns out the ones who didn’t talk about it were much better off years later, while I guess the others were still talking about it.
This whole trauma counselling thing is relatively new. Every time there’s a school shooting or tragedy befalls someone in a community, counsellors are rushed to the scene.
I’ve often wondered if this was entirely healthy. I’ve found that children, (and a lot of men) don’t want to talk about stuff. They might have a couple of questions, but their natural instinct is just to get on with things. Maybe they have the right idea?
Language is a rational/cerebral medium. It’s great for expressing thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, but not so great for expressing feelings. And, the more intense the feelings, the less adequate language is to express them. Feelings are physical/emotional and can really only be expressed physically or emotionally.
So, you suffer a great trauma and spend years talking about it, but only become frustrated because nothing you or anyone else says can express (in all senses of the word) those feelings. The trauma takes on greater and more disturbing dimensions. Meanwhile the person who just let himself feel soon works through it in non-language directed ways.
Case Study #1: Sally’s home has been burglarized. She could:
a) Go to a support group and try to work through her feelings of anger, violation and fear; or
b) Hunt the bastard down and smack him upside the head with baseball bat when he least expects it.
Case Study #2: Jane is very attracted to Jim. She could:
a) Text Jim saying: im hot 4 U; or,
b) Invite him over and answer the door by tearing off her clothes and clutching him in a naked, four-limbed embrace whilst using her tongue in expressive and imaginative ways.