by Bruce Wilson
Looking at the state of psychotherapy today, one might be forgiven for thinking that it’s always been about talking, analysis, and cognition. Psychoanalysis is focused on…well…analysis—examination, interpretation, and explanation with words upon words upon words, but it wasn’t always that way.
Before there was psychoanalysis, there was “cathartic therapy.” Freud and Breuer experimented with catharsis after being influenced by German philosopher, Jakob Bernays, who advocated Aristotelian catharsis in medical treatment. They called it abreaction — “to react away or to react off…. the act of giving vent in speech and action to repressed experiences, and thereby disburdening one’s self of their unconscious influences.”
Continue reading “Abreaction Part I: What it is and why it was abandoned in psychotherapy”