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Closure
November 13, 2000
10:41 am
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Cici
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We live in a culture of contradictions. On the one hand we are to move on with our lives after a tragedy or trauma (usually with chemical help), on teh other we should re-open old wounds and rehash painful memories. New research indicates that closure is better for the mind and body, as well as for self-esteem.

I find this has been true in my own life. AS long as my wounds were still open, as long as situations remained unresolved, I was bogged down with the depression of many many years of pain and guilt. After I "moved on" and found a happy place in my life (right now, with my fiance and a newly supportive family), my depression waned into a sliver of what it once was.

here's the article link, for further investigation, if you like, (following a brief intro to the article):

Psychologist Says Seeking Closure of Personal Problems --Not Only Talking About
Them -- Good for Mind, Body

Nov. 10, 2000 | 4:52 p.m.

ATTENTION: Health editors

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 10 (AScribe News) -- In the midst of a society that
encourages people to mull over their problems, air them publicly and discuss
them at length, a University of Arkansas psychologist says otherwise: finding
closure and putting problems to rest can ease people's minds, boost
self-confidence, even benefit their physical health.

``We're a talk show culture. We urge people to talk about their issues, to keep
events and experiences alive in their minds,'' said Denise Beike, assistant
professor of psychology. ``This can enable people to work through their
problems, but it also can be taken too far to the point where it interferes
with the healing process.''

Beike has been studying the phenomenon of event memory -the way people remember
their experiences and how they classify those memories within the overall
context of their lives. She presents her research today (Friday, Nov. 10) at
``Memory and the Self,'' a special symposium hosted by the University of
Arkansas, which has gathered renowned scholars of cognitive, social and
developmental psychology from around the nation.

Full text:
http://www.postnet.com/postnet.....enDocument

November 14, 2000
6:47 am
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its says document was deleted.

what i want to say is that all these news ppl are looking for someone o say something new tahts all.

just one guy comes up and says something that is not in agreeance with whateverone is saying, doesnt mean that hes right.

to believe such a thing, we need surveys, and research.

i can be a psychiologist and say feeding monkeys bananas for 3 hours daily can solve self-esteem problems in 1 month.

and they'll publish that too on the web.

how does he support his study ?
well maybe i couldnt read the whole article (its deleted as i said), so i cant say anythign about it.

but tell me, to someone who was abused a lot, how can he/she just forget it, bury it, and move ahead?

its not that easy, is it ? i dont think so. that psychologist is either seeking for attention or hes tired of old ideas. maybe he wants a raise in his pay. blahhhh.

what do u mean closure? how do we really close the old wounds ?

November 14, 2000
11:09 am
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Cici
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You achieve closure when you move on. When you stop dwelling on past issues that are no longer pertinant to your life that still seem to affect your functioning. (There was research to support her theories, if you read the short paragraph that was included with the link, she was presenting a research paper at a conference, which necessitate professional acceptance of her work).

For example, a woman is raped. As long as she still accesses her memory of being raped, she will feel the fear response she learned during her trauma. Even if she suppressed the conscious memory, the fear feeling will leak out and affect seemingly unrelated areas of her life because of the way our long-term memory is constructed (through association, for the most part). Closure is achieved in different ways in dfferent individuals, depending on their memory associations. One woman may need to confront her rapist and tell him how he made her feel. Another may feel closure after her rapist is imprisoned, and another may simply need to write about her feelings until they fade away.

And you couldn't "be a psychiologist and say feeding monkeys bananas for 3 hours daily can solve self-esteem problems in 1 month. and they'll publish that too on the web." because you would have to construct your study in a scientific manner and be able to support your claim through explanation of your observances. I have to say that this comment made me laugh. After taking research classes and doing actualy behavioral studies on animals, I can say that any person who has done research would not validate yor claim.

There has been extensive research done on optimism versus pessimism, and one of the main features of this research is that optimists tend to dwell less on their past obstacles than pessimists do. This is why pessimists are more prone to psychologicla dysfunction.

As for the rest of your post, I don't quite understand it. If a paper is presented at a conference, ccepted by professional peers, and published in a peer-reviewed journal, how much more rigorous eamination of research do we need? The point of psychological research is to discover better, more efficient ways to help people either overcome pre-existing psychological dysfuntion or to prevent future occurances of problems. Why else would you do research?

November 14, 2000
11:54 am
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Hi Cici, thanks for posting the link. Guest: I could read the article yesterday, maybe you should try again, the methods were explained fairly well.

I liked the idea to close something and realized that I have done this before. But I guess closure is just like positive thinking. It's wonderful if you can do it. But if somebody else tells you that you should better do it, this can go seriously wrong.
To me it seems like closure is what all therapy is about - you don't discuss your problems because you like them and want to dwell on them, but because you want to know what to do about them. And being able to close the door to a problem (whithout fear of coming back to have another look) seems a good way to deal whith a problem.

November 15, 2000
7:09 pm
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HTTP Web Server: Lotus Notes Exception - Document has been deleted

i couldnt get the doucmnet still.
neway..

well cici, arent pessimists pessimists cause of their bad past?

optimists are optimists cause of their good pasts, and nice upbringing. isnt that right?

actualy i gave the money example just as an example of something.

but as u say the thing was resaerched and there was a study so maybe thats fine. i cant access the document. i'll try to search in google. maybe they have it somewhere else too.

November 16, 2000
11:14 am
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eve
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guest, you're right: it's gone. I checked, and get the same message as you. Must have been deleted between my reading it and my answer here.

November 16, 2000
1:02 pm
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Here is the article:

Psychologist Says Seeking Closure of Personal Problems --Not Only Talking About Them -- Good for Mind, Body

Nov. 10, 2000 | 4:52 p.m.

ATTENTION: Health editors

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Nov. 10 (AScribe News) -- In the midst of a society that encourages people to mull over their problems, air them publicly and discuss them at length, a University of Arkansas psychologist says otherwise: finding closure and putting problems to rest can ease people's minds, boost self-confidence, even benefit their physical health.

``We're a talk show culture. We urge people to talk about their issues, to keep events and experiences alive in their minds,'' said Denise Beike, assistant professor of psychology. ``This can enable people to work through their problems, but it also can be taken too far to the point where it interferes with the healing process.''

Beike has been studying the phenomenon of event memory -the way people remember their experiences and how they classify those memories within the overall context of their lives. She presents her research today (Friday, Nov. 10) at ``Memory and the Self,'' a special symposium hosted by the University of Arkansas, which has gathered renowned scholars of cognitive, social and developmental psychology from around the nation.

According to Beike, people classify event memories in two ways. Closed memories represent those issues or events that people have resolved in their minds or otherwise put behind them. Open memories include experiences that have not been put to rest, issues people persist in thinking about long after the fact. Whether these memories represent unresolved conflict, unexplained mysteries or events that an individual wants to keep fresh in his or her mind, open memories in some way continue to relate to the person's life.

People recognize which issues are open or closed in their lives because they respond to the two types of event memory differently, Beike said. Open memories carry an emotional residue, so people often respond to these memories with great feeling. In addition, people tend to think about open memories more often and remember them more accurately. People may even feel compelled to act in some way as a result of remembering.

Beike's presentation will outline the differences between closed and open memories and will discuss the interplay that exists between event memories and self-perception. She'll do so by focusing on two research projects conducted at the U of A.

The first of these studies divided 50 UA undergraduates into two groups. Beike asked the first group to describe an experience in their lives that they now considered closed. She asked the second group to describe an open experience. After completing their descriptions, each group received a list of terms and were asked to select the terms they felt best represented them.

Beike found that the students who brought to mind closed events chose more positive terms to describe themselves, indicating a higher level of self-confidence at that moment.

``I theorize that by remembering an issue that they had resolved or overcome, these students felt more confident about their own abilities,'' Beike explained. ``Attaining closure is an accomplishment, and recognizing your own accomplishments makes you feel good about yourself.''

Beike speculates that this boost of self-confidence is one of the reasons people continue to remember closed events. In informal interviews, students have repeatedly told Beike that their open issues say more about who they are than closed issues do. From this, the researcher has deduced that open and closed memories serve very different functions in regard to people's self-perceptions.

People tend to define themselves according to their open memories, the issues they're currently facing, Beike said. While open, these memories become an important part of their thoughts and personalities. But closed memories are resolved issues - no longer part of this self-defining process. So why do people persist in remembering them?

Beike believes it's because closed memories act as a self-confirmation, attesting to the fact that people have been through difficult situations before and pulled through. This function helps ease people's minds and makes them feel good about themselves.

But mental health is not the only benefit of closed memories. Beike's second study revealed a correlation indicating that closure can boost a person's physical health as well.

Beike polled more than 400 students of general psychology, inquiring whether they'd ever experienced a traumatic event. Such events included death of a loved one, rape or incest, loss of a home to fire or a painful breakup with a romantic partner. Roughly 30 percent (120 students) reported they had experienced such an event. Each student was then asked how much closure they felt they had on these experiences.

When the questionnaires came back, Beike separated the students into three groups - those who had experienced trauma and felt that open issues remained associated with the experience, those who had experienced trauma and attained closure, and those who had never experienced trauma.

In addition to the questionnaire about trauma, the same 400 students also completed surveys about their self-confidence levels and their general physical health. By comparing the surveys between her three groups, Beike found that students with open, traumatic memories reported lower self-esteem while the students who had attained closure ranked just as high on self-confidence as those who had never experienced trauma. Furthermore, students with open issues reported a greater number of doctor visits each year.

``It's repeatedly been shown that mental and emotional stress can affect a person's physical health,'' Beike said. ``This study indicates that people who keep traumatic issues open do so despite a toll on their mental and physical health.''

If open memories put a person's health at risk, one must question why people continue to harbor - sometimes even nurture - such issues. Beike believes the answer is both psychological and social.

People tend to remember open events more vividly than those they've closed. Such vivid memories can, in fact, comfort people - especially those who have lost a loved one and who wish to keep the memory alive, Beike said. In addition, the emotional impact of open memories causes people to think about those issues more often and more deeply, and this type of thought can both encourage and facilitate closure. But there's a social component as well.

``Our society encourages people to explore their open issues,'' said Beike. ``If a person sought and achieved closure too soon, they'd be considered somewhat heartless and cold. By considering and discussing open events, we learn about ourselves and we grow closer to others. That's worthwhile as long as you don't allow such thought and discussion to become excessive.''

-30-

Media Contact: Denise Beike, 501-575-5817; dbeike(at)uark.edu

November 16, 2000
1:13 pm
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guest:

I think that although you are trying ot apply psychological theory, (which is good, good job!), your explanation for the origins of optimism and pessimism are a little too simplistic.

A person can grow up in severely terrible conditions and turn out optimitics. A person raised in teh luxury of a wealthy home, a stable family and with proper education can be a pessimist. It has to do with what you learned as you were growning up, but also how you as a person processes this information.

I have found, though my group therapy for people with my chronic illness, that there are certain people who simply chose not to feelbetter, they chose not to try anything new, they close themselves off in a wall of pain because they are afraid.

No individual is merely a conglomeration of their past experiences. Otherwise, we would be merely passive. We have sentience, though, and that mean free choice. If you would ever read that book I keep recommending, you would understand. But I also know that (see paragraph above) there are those who simply will never make the individual effort to be better. They seek relief from temporary sources, immediate gratification in pills, they think tha counselor should wave a magic wand and poof! all better.

People usually tend to abandon the counseling process early on because they say, I went there, I still don't feel better. Because they chose to hold on to past traumas and allow that to control them. I've said this to you tousands of times and I realize that this probably means nothing to you. But, I will always continue to try.

It still baffles me why some people can have others open a door for them, even show tehm the way, and yet they will still stand there, banging their heads against teh wall, and they will refuse to go through that door. Because they are afraid of what they'll see. Fear is the mind-killer.

November 16, 2000
5:58 pm
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wow, a choclate bar for me. hmmm. gotta take time to digest it.

November 22, 2000
2:23 pm
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This discussion stikes a chord with me, because I'm often encouraged by people around me to "move on." It seems that if I reflect at all on the past, I'm "dwelling." Most people seem to make no distiction between dwelling on an issue and continually working on it. Open is open. But I believe there are healthy ways to keep an issue open. And sometimes I think it's the only way.

I don't believe my feelings will ever "fade away" as with the hypothetical rape victim. Every time I reach a new stage in my life, new issues come up related to the incest I experineced as a child. For example, I became a parent 2 1/2 years ago, and that gave me many new feelings about how some one could abuse a child, and it was helpful to talk about them. I also expect that when my daughter reaches the age I was when I was abused that will trigger more feelings for me.

Also, I am motivated to help others who have been through what I've been through. I don't think I could help as well if the memory of my trauma had fadded too much.

I do not think of myself as a pessimist. I feel very optimistic about myself and my ability to hand problems as they come up, with the help of supportive people in my life. This gives me a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence the author associates only with closure.

I know that doesn't jive the research, but in any research it's important to remember that correlation does not imply causality. Closure may not be giving people better self-confidence, but better self-confidence may cause them to choose closure, or they may both be caused by another factor. In any case, we each have to do what is right for us.

November 22, 2000
4:53 pm
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Cici.
"Fear is the mind-killer." I whole heartedly agree!!!

You said,"...It still baffles me why some people can have others open a door for them, even show tehm the way, and yet they will still stand there, banging their heads against the wall, and they will refuse to go through that door..."

It seems to me that there is a pay off for every one in everything we do. Otherwise we would stop doing it. Going through the "door" that someone else "opens" for us is perceived as counterproductive in that it thwarts the 'old pay off'. The problem seems to me to be that dysfunctional people are unaware of their motivations, drives and needs.

Albeit sometimes dysfunctionally, every one of us has learnt over many years how to deal with life's eventualities. To admit to ourselves that we have learnt 'wrongly' and that our perceptions of 'reality' are very distorted is a horrific fear inducing experience. Once through this 'hurdle' though, a wonderful peace can result. The pathway is usually upwards from then on. Humility is the ability to see the truth about oneself, both good and bad.

It seems that only severe crises can bring about the right environment and the opportunity for such an admission to occur. Some never seem to have such a crisis. Others have the crisis but don't seem to have the courage to choose to admit the truth to themselves about themselves and they sometimes resort to defenses such as denial and withdrawal from reality. As you know, insanity is sometimes the consequences. Why some get well and others don't, is a perplexing conundrum.

I suspect that it is all a manifestation of the cosmic drama. It's like playing snooker. Balls ricochet at angles dependent on many complex variables. Players learn how to play but not how to explain how and why the balls go where they go. Is there a cosmic snooker player at work?

November 22, 2000
6:47 pm
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Gosh Tez you are so ellequent with your words. I admire you. I have often thought of God as the cosmic snooker player, but more like the coach of the game, watching us and laughing with the ball of free will. Closure is what I often label as getting off it, sometimes it is easy some times it is hard, but when we are on it, stuck, nothing seems to work right. I am discovering that depending on how full my life is , depends on how much I honor or dishonor the ca ca that I want to shed, or get off of. Although I say I am complete with this or that, often in the wee hours, the crap will creep into my conciousness, and I must chase it away, some things, the universe will not allow me to complete, and the acceptance is a forced learned behavior, just try ridding a bus in So Cal Traffic.

November 23, 2000
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Molly.

Likewise, I too sometimes have my wee hours involuntary 'contemplations' on my vulnerability. 🙂

At such times, I consciously choose to think about how my emotions - and consequent feelings - are all about survival. Then I think how right it is that I should die. Everything that is alive, dies; everything cycles. Creation, sustenance and destruction is the very essence of nature. All fears in their many disguises are just the result of nature's way of ensuring that we seek sustenance as opposed to destruction. Yet it is upon destruction that life is created and sustained. What is there to really worry about? We only 'worry' about 'things' when we see ourselves as isolated beings apart from the rest of nature.

When we stand way above ourselves and see 'ourselves' as being an integral part of a wonderful cosmic game, a peace comes over us that is worth more than all the money in the world can buy.

My prayer: Let me feel the fear, and happily accept it as a part of that great cosmic plan of creation, sustenance and destruction in action. For it is impossible for me to feel fear unless I try to deny, suppress or escape it in some way. My facing my fear headlong is the surest way for me to bring about its demise. It is surely based on the illusion that I can undergo real 'damage'.

Who is the 'I', who can be damaged?

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