Definition of abreact in English:



[with object]Psychoanalysis
  • Release (an emotion) by abreaction.

    ‘they were unable fully to abreact their responses to the trauma’
    • ‘The process of releasing or abreacting the effects of a trauma is key: That process often leads to panic and a nervous breakdown.’
    • ‘What I was doing was abreacting my childhood attitude of compliance and the bitterness that it engendered in me.’
    • ‘He is now saying that patients can't be cured of their major hysterical symptoms unless the crucial infantile traumas are uncovered and abreacted, which calls into question all his earlier claims of therapeutic efficacy.’
    • ‘One person asked me why I had not mentioned in my audio programme the possibility that some people may abreact and discharge emotion.’
    • ‘Through most of the two hours, Ann remembered and abreacted until the memories had no further power to torment her.’


Early 20th century: back-formation from abreaction.