A catharsis is an emotional release. According to some theories, emotional release is linked to a need to relieve unconscious conflicts. Experiencing stress over a work-related situation may cause feelings of tension and anxiety. The individual may release these feelings in another way like through another physical activity but catharsis can really be motivating in a positive way.

Meaning of Catharsis

Katharsis is a Greek word meaning ‘purification,’ or ‘cleansing.’ the term is used in therapy as well as literature. The hero of the novel experiences catharsis that leads to restoration. Catharsis involves emotional issues which connect to a sense of purpose and bringing positive change in an individual’s life.

Catharsis in Psychoanalysis

This term has been in use since Ancient Greece but the first to use the term was a colleague of Freud who used it to describe a therapeutic technique. Treatments for hysteria were deemed ‘cathartic,’ meaning they involved having people recall traumatic experiences under hypnosis. By consciously expressing emotions long repressed, the colleague discovered people found relief from symptoms. Freud believed catharsis should play an important role in relieving symptoms of distress. The human mind is composed of three elements: conscious, preconscious, and unconscious. The conscious mind contains all things of which we are aware.

The Mind and Catharsis

The preconscious mind contains things we might not be aware of but can draw into awareness with effort or prompting. The unconscious mind is part of the mind containing a huge reservoir of thoughts, feelings, and memories outside awareness. The unconscious mind plays a critical role. While the contents are out of awareness, he believes they continue to exert influence on behavior and function. Through use of therapy tools, Freud believes these unconscious feelings and memories will be brought to light.

Daily Catharsis

The term catharsis has become part of a daily word exchange, often being used to describe insights or feelings and experience of closure. An individual going through divorce might describe this as a cathartic moment that brings a sense of peace and helps that person move past the bad relationship. People also describe catharsis after trauma or stress like a health crisis, job loss, or accident. This term is often used to describe an emotional moment leading to positive change in a person’s life.

A Step in the Right Direction provides quality care for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. Our goal is to encourage positive change and focus on recovery goals long term. We teach people how to live a sober life through programs, therapeutic support, and evidence-based therapies. Our recovery program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.