Abreaction - for Pent-up emotions
by Dr. Angel V. Somera

A very important instrument that psychiatrists often use in helping dissipate a bottled-up or long repressed negative emotion is “catharsis.” Clinical Psychologists also call this as “abreaction.”

Psychiatrists, psychologists, as well as sociologists have consistently reported that most people in a highly urbanized and civilized society have been suffering from deep and hidden unresolved anger, hostility, resentment and other forms of indifferences or antagonisms towards their kin, relatives and neighbors. The unresolved negative feelings are the major causes of serious conflicts and stresses in life. All these antagonistic feelings, if kept and repressed for a long time, would be the main etiological roots of many psychosomatic illnesses in this world. Countless of people from all walks of life have filled up the hospitals with their complaints of stomach ulcers, bronchial asthma, hypertension, chest and joint pains, palpitations, sleeplessness, obesity, lack of appetite and other complaints where the doctors found no positive cause of their perennial and recurrent complaints.

The psychiatric treatment for all the repressed negative physical and emotional conflicts is known as psychotherapy. Catharsis is one of the major instruments treating neurotic patients. Psychologists generally call this instrument as abreaction.

Catharsis or abreaction is a psychoanalytic therapy wherein the client or patient is made to verbalize, express, or react with adequate emotionality and revive the repressed forgotten memories or experiences with full expression of the associated pent-up affects. Trained counselors usually use this therapy in their counseling to let the clients fully express their bottledup emotions.

Psychiatrists say that repression is bad for it affects the nervous system. The deadly psychosomatic illnesses; like heart attack, stroke, bleeding ulcers and other chronic and deadly diseases would result.

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

The emotional feelings of the penitent, after a sincere confession to his confessor, become so therapeutic; there is so much peace in his soul and whole being!

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