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Best way to handle trauma - stiff upper lip?

life_stiff_lip_connory.jpg

This Bond would probably agree.

Britain's traditional stiff upper lip "may be a better strategy for dealing with shock than letting your feelings spill out, a new study claims".

The popular assumption is that talking about a terrifying experience, such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster, can be therapeutic and helpful.

But new evidence suggests "getting it off your chest" may not be the right thing to do.

Words are powerful, perhaps more secretly powerful than we know. People who repeatedly relive a trauma by describing it in detail in psychological counselling sometimes find they have burned it into their souls.

The study gives people who do not want to "bare their souls" support for keeping their souls in silence. But as you might expect in our modern world, this study has already been contradicted by another which blames the stiff upper lip for the depression of British men.

Casting a little doubt on the accuracy of this analysis is the fact that it is Professor Cary Cooper, president of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, whose earnings depend upon clients not taking a "stiff upper lip" approach to life, who offered the alternate view.

What to make of this? I imagine that the British men I know will face the misfortune of two contradictory studies bravely and resolutely, and exercise emotional self-restraint in handling the confounding twaddle that is so often the news.

Update: Worth looking into

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