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1. To show strong emotion while reliving a traumatic experience.
2. To discharge or release repressed emotion.


tr.v. abre·acted, abre·acting, abre·acts
To release (repressed emotions) by acting out, as in words, behavior, or the imagination, the situation causing the conflict.

ab′re·ac′tion n.


the expression of repressed feelings by revisiting the situation in a way that relieves anxiety. See abreaction.


(ab?re-ak'shon) [ ab- + reaction]
In psychoanalysis, the release of emotion by consciously recalling or acting out a painful experience that had been forgotten or repressed. The painful or consciously intolerable experience may become bearable as a result of the insight gained during this process.
See: catharsis (2) abreact (-akt')
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Goans are haunted by a history they must understand because "just as a trauma in the early life of an individual which continues to have disturbing effects at a later age must in some way be re-enacted and deprived of its maleficent power, so in the life of colonized peoples the foundational trauma must be abreacted, as it used to be said, relived in words so it can show itself for what it was and the people affected can take a certain control of the event and of themselves in the fact of it.
And while Sigmund Freud came to recognize in hysteria a malady of reminiscences, in the course of which psychosomatic disturbances enact memories that are residues and as such displaced representations of traumatic experiences that have not been sufficiently abreacted, his contemporary Pierre Janet spoke of hysteria as a maladie par representation.
Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok have suggested that when some part of an individual's psychic life, rather than being abreacted, remains concealed in his or her psychic topology, it can lead to the invention of phantoms meant to objectify the gap thus produced.