Words of Wisdom:

"dnt wlk behind me 4 i wont lead dnt wlk behind me for i wont follow, dnt wlk beside me ether just leve me d hell alone" - HongNhung

Parliamentary Democracy Gateway to Good Governance 3

  • Date Submitted: 12/13/2011 06:36 AM
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Catharsis has been recognized as a healing, cleansing, and transforming experience throughout history, and has been used in cultural healing practices, literature, drama, religion, medicine, and psychology. Some contemporary modalities such as Psychodrama, Primal therapy, Emotion - Focused therapy, to mention a few, use catharsis as their core technique to achieve positive therapeutic change. Modern research on the subject is limited and presents contradicting data about the effectiveness of cathartic techniques in psychotherapy practice.
Defining catharsis
The word catharsis is derived from the Greek word which is translated as 'cleansing' or 'purification'. Most of the definitions emphasize two essential components of catharsis: the emotional aspect (strong emotional expression and processing) and the cognitive aspect of catharsis (insight, new realization, and the unconscious becoming consciousness) and as a result - positive change. Aristotle defined catharsis as "purging of the spirit of morbid and base ideas or emotions by witnessing the playing out of such emotions or ideas on stage" (Aristotle, 2001, p. 1458). Breuer and Freud described catharsis as an involuntary, instinctive body process, for example crying (Breuer & Freud, 1974). Schultz and Schultz (2004) followed the psychodynamic tradition and defined catharsis as "the process of reducing or eliminating a complex by recalling it to conscious awareness and allowing it to be expressed" (p.506). The American Psychological Association (2007) also associates catharsis with the psychodynamic theory and defines it as "the discharge of affects connected to traumatic events that had previously been repressed by bringing these events back into consciousness and reexperiencing them" (p. 153).
Scheff (2001) emphasized both essential components of catharsis: emotional-somatic discharge and cognitive awareness which he called 'distancing', when the person experiencing catharsis is maintaining the...

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