What use is it to be silent?

Why it doesn't always help to talk about problems

"What you can't talk about, you have to be silent about it." The old Wittgenstein quote, from which Tocotronic once made a beautiful song, should be taken to heart here and there. Especially when it comes to personal problems.

At least that is what the author of this text wishes for in the ZeitOnline, for whom the general psychologizing and talking about his own problems, childhood injuries and wounds, which he perceives as permanent, is slowly becoming too much. Verbalizing problems, according to his thesis, which he underpins with painful self-awareness, cannot be seen as part of their solution. For weeks and months he pondered a breakup himself, discussed and analyzed it with every available interlocutor. And yet he wasn't feeling any better.

In fact, he is not entirely alone in this view. He quotes the American psychologist and well-known author Walter Mischel, who says that too much brooding and repeated dealing with negative feelings would not help people cope with what they have experienced, but on the contrary make it worse and even lead to depression. The author also presents newer forms of psychotherapy in which the focus is more on the future that can be shaped than on the painful past. And finally, he explains how researchers have found that a Tetris game can protect against trauma. A somewhat humorous text in some places, but with exciting approaches.