Although I won't be researching writing in letter form, I find letter writing to be extremely useful in the healing process. I recently discovered that writing a letter to one of my overwhelming emotions (e.g. worry) actually helped me acknowledge it through personifying it and ultimately gain compassion towards it. Writing this letter allowed me to restructure my relationship with my worry in a way that helped me regain power in that situation--I didn't feel so helpless anymore. I was able to get out of bed and start my day with a more positive outlook. No matter to whom or what you address a letter, there is something in the direct communication that opens space for your transformation with that entity.
I really enjoyed Aimee's chosen article, "Writing Memoir and Writing for Therapy." This piece spoke to a lot of my own questions I have for my research paper. What exactly can a professor do to draw a line between therapy and writing? But in reality, this fear-driven separation doesn't give a fair portrayal of what counseling actually does. Both therapy and writing to heal have a process that involves confession, yes, but more importantly, the restructuring of thought processes surrounding trauma. DaPra describes this process when she says that "while the initial writing—the first draft—may provide a cathartic effect, the lasting benefit comes from seeing the problem in a new light—the organizing, editing, and structuring of a piece of writing."
Both therapy and writing have the potential to be ineffective. "The point is, that isn’t the fault of the subject. Poorly run group therapy, where members do nothing more than complain about the same problems over and over again, doesn’t make people better, either; in fact, it can make them much worse, by reinforcing negative thought patterns. But both writers of memoir and those in therapy must reflect thoughtfully on their stories."