In recent years the written disclosure paradigm has been related to improvements in physical health in a number of populations. However, it still remains unclear why this paradigm is effective. In this paper the literature on the written disclosure paradigm is reviewed, and possible explanations for its beneficial effects are explored. It is concluded that, although the paradigm may produce beneficial effects for some individuals, more attention needs to be directed toward understanding why it works and for whom this approach might be best suited. Methodological considerations for future research are also offered.