Articulated Frames of the Past, Present and Future: Impact on Health and Productivity



Since the time of Freud, the existence of a relationship between well-articulated representations of life events and health has been suspected. Freud believed that articulation produced catharsis, a health- promoting release of suppressed emotion. More recent philosophical, psychological and neuroscience-based research has indicated, instead, that well-formulated pragmatic self-based verbal representations replace uncertainty with certainty, decrease anxiety, and increase the probability of experiencing incentive-related reward. The psychophysiological consequences of such careful articulation are increasingly well understood: the reduction in uncertainty, to take a single example, appears to decrease release of the primary stress-hormone cortisol, which is destructive when produced in excess. I will describe the details of a series of online programs, designed to guide improved articulation of past, present and future, discuss data indicating their effectiveness, describe a model of their effects, and survey the results of various research programs investigating similar interventions.