Definition of abreaction in US English:



  • The expression and consequent release of a previously repressed emotion, achieved through reliving the experience that caused it (typically through hypnosis or suggestion)

    ‘he was using dream abreaction to treat a schizoid patient’
    count noun ‘a series of interviews and abreactions’
    • ‘The abreaction experienced by this patient as well as her comments after termination of the session suggest that unblocking her emotional response, rather than her gut, was the main factor in her recovery.’
    • ‘This would explain why alternating stimulation often initially produces powerful abreactions in traumatized patients.’
    • ‘Like Karon's patient, they were often treated with hypnotic abreaction in which the patient was expected to re-live the moment of trauma with unrestrained emotions.’
    • ‘All Freud says about her symptoms at this point is, ‘This process of abreaction certainly did her much good’, with no mention of her leg pains having abated.’
    • ‘Age regression was used to explore the perceived cause of symptoms, and abreaction of the associated emotions was encouraged.’
    purging, purgation, purification, cleansing, release, relief, emotional release, freeing, deliverance, exorcism, ridding
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Early 20th century: from ab- ‘away from’ + reaction, translating German Abreagierung.