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Writing as Therapy

by Laura P.
(Southwest Hbr, ME)

Photo Credit: Tnarik

Photo Credit: Tnarik

I am currently writing an essay on how "House of the Spirits" and "Paula" helped Isabel Allende overcome two different traumas. The first one, "House of The Spirits", started off as a letter to her dying grandfather in Chile, whilst she was in Venezuela.

It is a saga of three generations of a family, a fictitious story, which is actually entirely based on her family's story.

The second, "Paula", also started off as a letter to her daughter, Paula, who was in a coma. Allende has often described this particular book as part of her healing process, because it was what kept her going when she lost hope. Unfortunately, her daughter died, but the book helped her get through her grief.

So what my questions are: for the first book, "House of Spirits", how does basically transposing her family's life story into a fiction story help her cope with grief? what effect would that particular approach have on her? or even on her brain? I have read often that writing about a traumatic experience can be healing, because it increases activity in the pre-frontal cortex (linked to self control) and inhibits activity in the amygala (linked with fear in emotion). Would writing about oneself, but not about one's emotions, have the same effect?

I am not sure if my questions make sense, but please please try to understand them as I am quite desperate for help!

Thank you very much for your time.

PS if anyone does answer, could you please put down your sources so I could credit you in my bibliography and research?

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