Abreaction therapy is the practice of releasing suppressed emotions by revisiting a prior bad event in mind. In his early writings, Sigmund Freud claimed that early psychological trauma experiences were the source of hysterical symptoms. Numerous psychoanalytical treatment approaches include making the patient imagine reliving actual traumatic events to restore mental health.
Who came up with the idea?
Although Josef Breuer, Freud’s mentor, may have developed the idea earlier, it wasn’t until their collaborative book Studies on Hysteria, published in 1895, that it became widely known to refer to the concept that trauma-related feelings might be released via talking about them.
An emotional, unconscious response that an individual has in response to anything that triggers unpleasant memories for that person is called abreaction. For example, the individual could recall the incident, or it might have just come to mind when experiencing the emotion.
The purpose of reaction therapy
Abreaction Therapy aims to purge the patient’s body by having them relive their trauma and letting go of upsetting feelings and ideas. After therapy, the patient should feel comfortable discussing the incident in detail without experiencing discomfort or difficulty coping.
How to deal with abreaction?
1. Watch out for things that cause sensitivities.
Nobody is more familiar with the effects of your trauma than the person affected. Therefore, to avoid being surprised, the individual must be aware of all the possible triggers.
2. Acquire meditative breathing methods
All of the senses may become more acute due to an allergic response. To relax and calm down, the person may assist oneself by using breathing methods.
3. Spend time with family and friends.
If the individual is aware that they can be easily provoked, ensure that the support network is in close range. Spend time with individuals who are sympathetic to the individual’s situation and can help in relaxing.
4. Request for expert assistance
It would be preferable to seek expert guidance if abreactions were regular or had begun to bother the person. Then, the individual may work on their responses using a variety of treatments, including hypnosis, EMDR, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
5. Seek legal assistance to stop someone from harming others
It may be unlawful and punishable under national law in society if someone physically or emotionally harms another individual. Therefore, finding legal backing for this case and locking up the offender would give the victim’s mind psychological well-being and a sense of justice delivered satisfaction.
6. Adapting to new surroundings and social situations
The afflicted person may relocate and start again in a different social situation instead of repeatedly experiencing the same experience. This would provide the afflicted person new perspective and mental peace.
Criticism of Abreaction therapy
Freud first thought that encouraging abreaction in therapy would make the traumatic event less upsetting by allowing the unpleasant emotions to be released. Unfortunately, today’s professionals understand that continually going through terrible memories and feelings does not provide comfort. Therefore, they have rejected this therapy method.
Studies have indicated that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has nothing to do with abreaction, is one of the most influential and workable treatments for PTSD.