Dr. Hamby’s take on “Rewrite Your Life”

“You can’t change the past, but you can change the person it makes you.” is the subheading of the lead article in the May 2016 Psychology Today (available online as well as in print). 

“Rewriting Your Present No Matter Your Past” is the title of the contribution by Research Professor of Psychology Sherry Hamby.  She briefly describes research by James Pennebaker in which students who briefly wrote about a traumatic experience months later reported better psychological health and that they had fewer visits to the student health center; those in the control condition wrote about time management. Dr. Hamby notes that the benefits of rewriting – understanding of who you are, how you became that person, where you are going – has been demonstrated in dozens of studies. She concludes by enumerating six principles for Rewriting Your Wrongs.

The other four contributions are

  • “Story Editing to Prevent a Downward Spiral” by Susan Gregory Thomas, a professional writer (newspapers & magazines, television and radio, two books, web).
  • “Updating Your Fable After the Glory Days Pass” by Susan Whitbourne, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst.  Her area of Training & Research (one of five in the department) is Developmental Science:  cognitive, neuroscientific, and contextual aspects of human development.
  • “Reinventing Yourself in Your Relationship” by Hal Shorey, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology.  He is Director of the Psy.D./M.B.A. and Psy.D./M.B.A.–Health Care Management Joint Degree Program.
  • “Rewriting Your Career” by Jean Twenge, Ph.D., a Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University.