YOUR GRANDMOTHER WAS RIGHT: Debunking Freud: Suppressing Negative Thoughts May Be Good for Mental Health. “Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit trained 120 volunteers worldwide to suppress thoughts about negative events that worried them, and found that not only did these become less vivid, but that the participants’ mental health also improved. . . . Suppressing thoughts even improved mental health amongst participants with likely post-traumatic stress disorder. Among participants with post-traumatic stress who suppressed negative thoughts, their negative mental health indices scores fell on average by 16% (compared to a 5% fall for similar participants suppressing neutral events), whereas positive mental health indices scores increased by almost 10% (compared to a 1% fall in the second group). In general, people with worse mental health symptoms at the outset of the study improved more after suppression training, but only if they suppressed their fears. This finding directly contradicts the notion that suppression is a maladaptive coping process.”
A cynic might suggest that suppression is disfavored by mental health practitioners because it generates less business for mental health practitioners.