Most psychologists choose to use the psychological theory of catharsis in order to help their clients deal with painful or traumatic experiences from their past. To discover and understand the important role that catharsis plays in psychology simply continue reading below.
The Role of Catharsis in Psychology:
Many psychologists believe that if they can get their clients to talk their way through a difficult experience, which occurred in their past, that they’ll finally be able to accept their past and the feelings which they associated with their negative experience.
While it may seem a little risky to encourage clients to mentally relive potentially traumatic events from their past, psychologists believe that if individuals don’t accept what has happened and are not able to express their emotions freely, they’ll continue to be haunted by their past.
In fact, it’s most psychologists hope that by finally confronting situations in which individuals may have felt hopeless, their clients will finally be able to begin the process of healing.
How Catharsis is Linked to Repressing Trauma:
It’s a fairly common response for individuals who have experienced traumatic events such as abuse, rape, death, an accident or warfare, to block out as much of their traumatic experiences as possible. In fact, in severe cases, individuals may become disassociative when it comes to being confronted with their past. In some instances, an individual may not be aware to remember exactly what happened when they were traumatized.
Why is it so common for individuals to forget details of traumatic incidents? The answer is that the human brain will sometimes disassociate in order to protect an individual’s sanity. If an event is too extreme for an individual to accept as reality, their brain may decide to disassociate as a protective measure.
Thankfully through using the theory of catharsis psychologists can guide their client through the traumatic events of their past, in a safe environment. Sometimes even if an individual hasn’t been able to confront their past and to release their pent up emotions, they’ll be able to slowly work through each part of their traumatic experience, over time, with the guidance of a supportive, professional psychologist.
What Are Some of the Challenges of Using the Catharsis Technique?
It usually takes several sessions for a psychologist to successfully guide an individual through the entirety of a traumatic event. As many individuals can only handle putting themselves in the same headspace which they experienced in the past for short, controlled periods of time.
As an example, an individual may ask their psychologist if they can stop their therapy for a week if the emotions which they experience during their regression experience are too strong to process and handle. In which case their psychologist will usually give them time to recover before encouraging them to mentally relive the rest of their horrific experience.
Hopefully, you now are aware of how useful the catharsis theory and technique is in the practice of psychology and how psychologists can use catharsis as a positive tool to help their clients heal from their traumatic pasts.
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