Memoir Writing Can Elicit Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Post traumatic stress syndrome is when someone relives a painful event or trauma over and over and over and over again. They get stuck there and can’t move forward. I believe in memoir writing, whether for publication or not. Since memoir entails memory and emotions, memoir can help you to recall and process your emotions, with lots of room to explore your thoughts and feelings. For individuals like me who were brought up in the “children should be heard and not seen,” this is huge, but the propensity for eliciting PTSD is real and should not be taken lightly. Many people begin writing memoirs and many stop; I suspect because they get stuck. Counseling during memoir writing is encouraged. Writing memoir should be a healing process, not an especially traumatic event.

Carolyn's Online Magazine

Carolyn’s Online Magazine



When you present harsh information on child abuse and domestic violence in groups, educational settings, or individually, there is a risk: the information can trigger emotions from the hearer’s past. Occasionally someone will have a melt-down. It comes with the territory. It is expected.

I was drawn to an online article, Post Traumatic Memoir Disorder, which brought back some intense training and counseling situations where the information presented did result in traumatic reactions.

Part of my experience working in the human service field was dealing with adults who were abused as children. This was particularly manifested in the 1992 Children’s Trust Fund Grant that I wrote, received, and administered during my sojourn in one community. The summary of that grant read The mission of the Family Support Program is to heal adults from the trauma of their childhood…

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