The paper is a synthesis of results obtained through guided writing of traumatic events or situations following a technique proposed by James W. Pennebaker in the ’80s (3-4 sessions of about 20 minutes on subsequent days, following specific instructions). In the general population effects include fewer medical visits, improvement in the immune situation, improvement in academic proficiency, higher rates of reemployment, longer duration of couple relationships. In clinical populations the technique appears promising in situations where a positive outcome may be expected and where subjects may exert some influence. Possible modifications of instructions and procedures are also examined, as well as interactions with individual features of subjects involved. Finally tentative explanations of the effects of the technique are put forth, on the line of an improved cognitive/emotional processing of events and situations, and of a more general activation, with effects on subsequent events, of this processing capacity. The writing technique may be defined as a true modality for health promotion, since it can improve health state, capacities and performance also in the absence of conscious distress and of explicit help request on part of subjects.