Trauma disclosure is the initial step toward healing trauma-related distress. This study used qualitative methods to better understand factors facilitating and inhibiting change in the disclosure process. Fifty-six veterans were interviewed about their disclosure experiences between August 2004 and 2005. Emerging themes and barriers to disclosure from 23 of these interviews are reported in this article. Barriers to trauma disclosure included lack of trust in the provider, fears about the potential negative consequences of disclosure, and trauma avoidance. Providers perceived as caring and communicating at the same level as the participants facilitated disclosure, whereas providers perceived as uncaring or disinterested inhibited disclosure. Veterans reported both positive and negative reactions to initial disclosure, but nearly all agreed that disclosure was worthwhile over the long term. Improving patient-provider communications and creating settings that facilitate trauma disclosure may improve healing after trauma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health