abreaction

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ab·re·ac·tion / ˌabrēˈakshən/ • n. Psychol. the expression and consequent release of a repressed emotion, achieved through reliving the experience that caused it. DERIVATIVES: ab·re·ac·tive / -tiv/ adj.

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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 hysterical symptoms lay in early experiences of psychological trauma. There are, within psychoanalysis, numerous therapeutic techniques which attempt to restore mental health by having the patient imaginatively relive actual traumatic experiences.

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abreaction (ab-ree-ak-shŏn) n. the release of strong emotion commonly associated with a buried memory. Abreaction may be induced as a treatment for conversion disorder, anxiety state, and other neurotic conditions.