Research on confession has shown that it is psychologically beneficial. Divulging private thoughts and feelings that make you ashamed or depressed is a good way to let them go. An example of how confession can help is when new college students wrote about their anxieties verses the students who wrote about trivial topics. The students who confessed their uneasy feelings reported greater short term home sickness and anxiety but by the end of the school year these students had had fewer bouts of flu and fewer visits to the infirmary than those who did not discuss their issues.

People who are carrying the burden of painful secrets also find confession beneficial. College students who wrote about deep personal pains and traumatic experiences had temporary increases in anger and depression but over time their health and well being improved.

If the confessions are made to a confidant who is judgmental, unable to help, or betrays the confessing persons confidence, however, the confession of course will make the confessor feel worse instead of better. A confession’s benefits occur only when it produces insight and understanding about the source or significance of the problem. This is what ends the stressful repetition of obsessive thoughts and unresolved feelings.

Psychology Seventh Edition by Carole Wade and Carol Tavris
The World of Psychology Fourth Edition by Samuel E. Wood and Ellen R. Green Wood