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Catharsis

Catharsis

The release of repressed psychic energy.

The term catharsis originated from the Greek word katharsis, meaning to purge, or purgation. In psychology, the term was first employed by Sigmund Freud's colleague Josef Breuer (1842-1925), who developed a "cathartic" treatment for persons suffering from hysterical symptoms through the use of hypnosis . While under hypnosis, Breuer's patients were able to recall traumatic experiences, and through the process of expressing the original emotions that had been repressed and forgotten, they were relieved of their symptoms. Catharsis was also central to Freud's concept of psychoanalysis , but he replaced hypnosis with free association .

In other schools of psychotherapy , catharsis refers to the therapeutic release of emotions and tensions, although not necessarily unconscious ones such as Freud emphasized. Certain types of therapy in particular, such as psychodrama and primal scream therapy, have stressed the healing potential of cathartic experiences.

See also Repression

Further Reading

Jenson, Jean C. Reclaiming Your Life: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Regression Therapy to Overcome the Effects of Childhood Abuse. New York: Dutton, 1995.

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catharsis

catharsis Literally ‘cleansing’ or ‘purging’, psychodynamically the term refers to a release of emotions that reduces underlying tensions and anxieties. Sigmund Freud initially suggested that catharsis could be accomplished through the simple re-enactment of the distressing early experiences that occasioned subsequent pathology. Later he argued that active processes of repression inhibited cathartic re-enactments. See also PSYCHOANALYSIS.

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cathartic

ca·thar·tic / kəˈ[unvoicedth]ärtik/ • adj. 1. providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis: crying is a cathartic release. 2. Med. (chiefly of a drug) purgative. • n. Med. a purgative drug. DERIVATIVES: ca·thar·ti·cal·ly adv.

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catharsis

catharsis the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. The notion of ‘release’ through drama derives from Aristotle's Poetics.

The word comes from Greek katharsis, from kathairein ‘cleanse’, from katharos ‘pure’.

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cathartic

cathartic cleansing, purgative. XVII. — late L. catharticus — Gr. kathartikós, f. kathaírein cleanse, f. katharós clean.
So catharsis purgation. XIX. — modL. — Gr. kátharsis.

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catharsis

ca·thar·sis / kəˈ[unvoicedth]ärsis/ • n. 1. the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. 2. rare Med. purgation.

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catharsis

catharsis (kă-thar-sis) n. purging or cleansing out of the bowels by giving the patient a laxative (cathartic) to stimulate intestinal activity.

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cathartic

cathartic (kă-thar-tik) n. see laxative.

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cathartic

cathartic (kəthär´tĬk): see laxative.

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cathartic

cathartic See laxative.

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catharsis

catharsisglacis, Onassis •abscess •anaphylaxis, axis, praxis, taxis •Chalcis • Jancis • synapsis • catharsis •Frances, Francis •thesis • Alexis • amanuensis •prolepsis, sepsis, syllepsis •basis, oasis, stasis •amniocentesis, anamnesis, ascesis, catechesis, exegesis, mimesis, prosthesis, psychokinesis, telekinesis •ellipsis, paralipsis •Lachesis •analysis, catalysis, dialysis, paralysis, psychoanalysis •electrolysis • nemesis •genesis, parthenogenesis, pathogenesis •diaeresis (US dieresis) • metathesis •parenthesis •photosynthesis, synthesis •hypothesis, prothesis •crisis, Isis •proboscis • synopsis •apotheosis, chlorosis, cirrhosis, diagnosis, halitosis, hypnosis, kenosis, meiosis, metempsychosis, misdiagnosis, mononucleosis, myxomatosis, necrosis, neurosis, osmosis, osteoporosis, prognosis, psittacosis, psychosis, sclerosis, symbiosis, thrombosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, tuberculosis •archdiocese, diocese, elephantiasis, psoriasis •anabasis • apodosis •emphasis, underemphasis •anamorphosis, metamorphosis •periphrasis • entasis • protasis •hypostasis, iconostasis

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cathartic

catharticachromatic, acrobatic, Adriatic, aerobatic, anagrammatic, aquatic, aristocratic, aromatic, Asiatic, asthmatic, athematic, attic, autocratic, automatic, axiomatic, bureaucratic, charismatic, chromatic, cinematic, climatic, dalmatic, democratic, diagrammatic, diaphragmatic, diplomatic, dogmatic, dramatic, ecstatic, emblematic, emphatic, enigmatic, epigrammatic, erratic, fanatic, hepatic, hieratic, hydrostatic, hypostatic, idiomatic, idiosyncratic, isochromatic, lymphatic, melodramatic, meritocratic, miasmatic, monochromatic, monocratic, monogrammatic, numismatic, operatic, panchromatic, pancreatic, paradigmatic, phlegmatic, photostatic, piratic, plutocratic, pneumatic, polychromatic, pragmatic, prelatic, prismatic, problematic, programmatic, psychosomatic, quadratic, rheumatic, schematic, schismatic, sciatic, semi-automatic, Socratic, somatic, static, stigmatic, sub-aquatic, sylvatic, symptomatic, systematic, technocratic, thematic, theocratic, thermostatic, traumatic •anaphylactic, ataractic, autodidactic, chiropractic, climactic, didactic, galactic, lactic, prophylactic, syntactic, tactic •asphaltic •antic, Atlantic, corybantic, frantic, geomantic, gigantic, mantic, necromantic, pedantic, romantic, semantic, sycophantic, transatlantic •synaptic •bombastic, drastic, dynastic, ecclesiastic, elastic, encomiastic, enthusiastic, fantastic, gymnastic, iconoclastic, mastic, monastic, neoplastic, orgastic, orgiastic, pederastic, periphrastic, plastic, pleonastic, sarcastic, scholastic, scholiastic, spastic •matchstick • candlestick • panstick •slapstick • cathartic •Antarctic, arctic, subantarctic, subarctic •Vedantic • yardstick •aesthetic (US esthetic), alphabetic, anaesthetic (US anesthetic), antithetic, apathetic, apologetic, arithmetic, ascetic, athletic, balletic, bathetic, cosmetic, cybernetic, diabetic, dietetic, diuretic, electromagnetic, emetic, energetic, exegetic, frenetic, genetic, Helvetic, hermetic, homiletic, kinetic, magnetic, metic, mimetic, parenthetic, pathetic, peripatetic, phonetic, photosynthetic, poetic, prophetic, prothetic, psychokinetic, splenetic, sympathetic, syncretic, syndetic, synthetic, telekinetic, theoretic, zetetic •apoplectic, catalectic, dialectic, eclectic, hectic •Celtic •authentic, crescentic •aseptic, dyspeptic, epileptic, nympholeptic, peptic, proleptic, sceptic (US skeptic), septic •domestic, majestic •cretic •analytic, anchoritic, anthracitic, arthritic, bauxitic, calcitic, catalytic, critic, cryptanalytic, Cushitic, dendritic, diacritic, dioritic, dolomitic, enclitic, eremitic, hermitic, lignitic, mephitic, paralytic, parasitic, psychoanalytic, pyritic, Sanskritic, saprophytic, Semitic, sybaritic, syenitic, syphilitic, troglodytic •apocalyptic, cryptic, diptych, elliptic, glyptic, styptic, triptych •aoristic, artistic, autistic, cystic, deistic, distich, egoistic, fistic, holistic, juristic, logistic, monistic, mystic, puristic, sadistic, Taoistic, theistic, truistic, veristic •fiddlestick •dipstick, lipstick •impolitic, politic •polyptych • hemistich • heretic •nightstick •abiotic, amniotic, antibiotic, autoerotic, chaotic, demotic, despotic, erotic, exotic, homoerotic, hypnotic, idiotic, macrobiotic, meiotic, narcotic, neurotic, osmotic, patriotic, psychotic, quixotic, robotic, sclerotic, semiotic, symbiotic, zygotic, zymotic •Coptic, optic, panoptic, synoptic •acrostic, agnostic, diagnostic, gnostic, prognostic •knobstick • chopstick • aeronautic •Baltic, basaltic, cobaltic •caustic • swordstick • photic • joystick •psychotherapeutic, therapeutic •acoustic • broomstick • cultic •fustic, rustic •drumstick • gearstick • lunatic

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