Abreaction

Abreaction

Abreaction is a psychoanalytical term for reliving an experience in order to purge it of its emotional excesses; a type of catharsis. Sometimes it is a method of becoming conscious of repressed traumatic events.

Early in his career, psychoanalyst Carl Jung expressed interest in abreaction, or what he referred to as "trauma theory", but later decided it had limitations concerning the treatment of neurosis. Jung stated that:

"though traumata of clearly aetiological significance were occasionally present, the majority of them appeared very improbable. Many traumata were so unimportant, even so normal, that they could be regarded at most as a pretext for the neurosis. But what especially aroused my criticism was the fact that not a few traumata were simply inventions of fantasy and had never happened at all". [Collective Works of C.G. Jung: "Some Crucial Points in Psychoanalysis", Jung-Loy Correspondence (1914).]

Jung believed that the skill, devotion and self-confidence regarding the way the analyst did his work was much more important to the patient than the rehashing of old traumatic emotions.

Abreaction therapies

Abreaction therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which abreaction is used to assist a patient suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by re-living the experience in a controlled environment. Hypnosis is often used as a tool for recall in abreaction therapy.Fact|date=December 2007

The efficacy of this therapy has been likened to "lancing a boil". Exposing the wound releases the "poison" and allows the wound to heal. In the same way that the lancing process is painful, re-living the trauma can be highly distressing for the patient, and memories of the pain can be physically felt.

The auditing process in Dianetics and Scientology is in several ways similar to abreaction therapy. [Atack, Jon: "A Piece of Blue Sky", page 79. Lyle Stuart, 1999.]

Pop culture references

* In Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow, the main character experiences numerous abreactive episodes.
* In Peter Shaffer's 1973 play "Equus", the climactic scene is an abreactive episode.

References

External links

* [http://mentalhealth.about.com/cs/traumaptsd/a/abreact.htm Abreaction: The Baby or the Bathwater]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ABRÉACTION — Terme utilisé en psychiatrie et en psychothérapie et qui traduit l’allemand Abreagiren , mot inconnu sans doute avant Breuer et Freud. Dans le sens le plus général, l’abréaction désigne toute décharge émotionnelle qui permet à un sujet… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Abreaction — Abréaction En psychanalyse, on appelle abréaction la réduction de la tension émotive lorsque l affect et la verbalisation du souvenir font irruption en même temps à la conscience. Des gestes et des paroles explicitent l expérience qui a donné… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • abreaction — abreaction, abreaction therapy A term used by psychoanalysts to refer to the process of releasing repressed emotions by reliving in the imagination a previous negative experience. Sigmund Freud , in his early work, argued that the roots of… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Abreaction — Ab re*ac tion, n. [Pref. ab + reaction, after G. Abreagirung.] (Psychotherapy) the purging of emotional tensions. See {Catharsis}, below. Syn: catharsis, katharsis [Webster 1913 Suppl. WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • abreaction — index catharsis Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • abreaction — [ab΄rē ak′shən] n. [ AB + REACTION, transl. of Ger abreagierung] Psychoanalysis the release of emotions as the result of recalling or reliving a traumatic, repressed experience with which they are associated: cf. CATHARSIS abreact vt. abreactive… …   English World dictionary

  • Abréaction — En psychanalyse, on appelle abréaction la réduction de la tension émotive lorsque l affect et la verbalisation du souvenir font irruption en même temps à la conscience. Des gestes et des paroles explicitent l expérience qui a donné naissance à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • abreaction — noun Etymology: part translation of German Abreagierung catharsis, from ab off, away + Reagierung reaction Date: 1912 the expression and emotional discharge of unconscious material (as a repressed idea or emotion) by verbalization …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • abreaction — abreactive /ab ree ak tiv/, adj. /ab ree ak sheuhn/, n. Psychoanal. release of emotional tension achieved through recalling a repressed traumatic experience. [1910 15; AB + REACTION, on the model of G Abreagierung] * * * …   Universalium

  • abreaction — noun The re living of an experience with a view to purging its emotional dross …   Wiktionary

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