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abreaction Syllabification: ab·re·ac·tion
Pronunciation: /ˌabrēˈakSHən/

Definition of abreaction in English:


The expression and consequent release of a previously repressed emotion, achieved through reliving the experience that caused it (typically through hypnosis or suggestion).
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Age regression was used to explore the perceived cause of symptoms, and abreaction of the associated emotions was encouraged.


Example sentences
  • During the Vietnam war, conversion disorders were seldom encountered as repressed memories, and abreactive treatments became a quaint historical artifact.
  • Whenever there was no spontaneous response, the abreactive effect was induced by verbal stimulation.
  • From my own experience, I can confirm that possession is certainly both abreactive and cathartic.


Early 20th century: from ab- 'away from' + reaction, translating German Abreagierung.

Definition of abreaction in:
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