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Foxe, A.N. (1942). A Psychomotor Sequence: (Abreaction and Catharsis). Psychoanal. Rev., 29(2):127-130.

(1942). Psychoanalytic Review, 29(2):127-130

A Psychomotor Sequence: (Abreaction and Catharsis)

Arthur N. Foxe, M.D.

In previous studies, I have indicated at some length the dynamics of various forms of fatalization such as terrorization, sensitization, etc. It seems that various forms of psychotherapy resort to means of a fatalizing type. Among these are the various shock therapies—insulin shock, metrazol convulsive therapy, dermal pain shock, psychodramatic shock, and the like. In the physical forms of shock therapy we must recognize the application of violence or threat, fatalizing tendencies. It is possible that in these therapies the threat and danger recreate past situations of danger, but in that they are new dangers they also make further demands upon vital tendencies and represent something of a drain. One would not expect, therefore, that they should bring about any change in the original personality, although they do seem to make a break in the disease; with what permanence we cannot say.

In these therapies internal fears are, in a way, externalized. The Doctor and the Institution very well may become embodiments of fear. Some sense of reality is re-achieved but it would seem that the patient must remain in some degree of contact with these embodiments in order to remain well. The more that actually has to be done for a patient, the more dependent he is left.

The therapies mentioned above are what might be called abreac-tions. Abreaction and catharsis are somewhat different. In catharsis, the emphasis is upon a general state of relaxation and an elimination of repressed material. The word catharsis is, in itself, something significant.

Psychoanalysis on the other hand, is concerned largely with analysis. The passive position of the analyst is based on the view that as long as the patient talks and releases what is stored unconsciously, he is accordingly benefited. Many technical devices are used to assist in this regressive reliving and affective orientation where resistances impede the working through. Where interpretations and reconstructions are used to produce such results we have

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