Previous research suggests that the Pennebaker writing paradigm may improve physical and psychological health; however, inconsistent findings suggest that it may not be suitable for community dissemination in its current format. This study manipulated writing instructions across groups in order to emphasise putative emotional processes. Three processes were isolated consistent with Cognitive-Behavioral models of trauma: exposure, devaluation, and benefit-finding. Essay content reports, text analysis, distress, arousal, and physiological data demonstrated that participants assigned to different writing instructions responded during and after the writing session in a manner that was consistent with the putative emotion process. The results highlight the potential for the writing paradigm as a research tool for emotional processing.