acting out


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Related to acting out: acting up

acting out

 [ak´ting owt]
the habitual expression of unconscious feelings through nonverbal behavior as a means of avoiding the direct experiencing of them; reacting to present situations as if they were the childhood situation that gave rise to the feelings and fantasies, as the acting out of a transference. Often applied imprecisely to any sort of disapproved impulsive behavior.

act·ing out

(akt'ing owt),
An overt act or set of actions that provides an emotional outlet for the expression of emotional conflicts (usually unconscious).

acting out

/act·ing out/ (ak´ting out) the expression of unconscious feelings and fantasies in behavior; reacting to present situations as if they were the original situation that gave rise to the feelings and fantasies.

acting out

the expression of intrapsychic conflict or painful emotion through overt behavior that is usually pathological, defensive, and unconscious and that may be destructive or dangerous. In controlled situations such as psychodrama, Gestalt therapy, or play therapy, this behavior may be therapeutic in that it may serve to reveal to the patient the underlying conflict governing the behavior. See also transference.

Acting Out

Psychiatry A form of displacement (expressing unconscious emotional conflicts or feelings in actions, not words) in which a patient’s behaviour is a response to the current situation. The actor is not consciously aware of the significance of such acts. Acting out (AO) may be harmful or, in controlled situations, therapeutic (e.g., children's play therapy). In adults, AO represents an irrational solution to a conflict situation, leading to progressive emotional retreat and disintegration of the personality. In adolescents, AO may be a manifestation of masked depression, where desperation is denied or somatised, indicating a need for psychiatric intervention. In children, AO may be self-abusive, aggressive, violent and/or disruptive behaviour. 
AO behaviours in adolescents School truancy, substance abuse, and somatisation—headaches or abdominal pain.
Social medicine Negative behaviour—e.g., stealing, lying, constant whining—and other behavioural problems.

acting out

Child psychiatry Self-abusive, aggressive, violent and/or disruptive behavior Psychiatry A form of displacement in which a Pt's behavior is a response to a current situation. See Displacement.

act·ing out

(akt'ing owt)
An overt act or set of actions that provides an emotional outlet for the expression of emotional conflicts (usually unconscious).

acting out

Impulsive, irrational actions that may display previously repressed feelings or emotions or unconscious wishes. The term may be applied to uncontrollable outbursts in children or neurotic adults.