His studies also found that social sharing of emotion increases as the intensity of the emotion increases. Through sharing, there is a reciprocal stimulation of emotions and emotional communion.
This leads to social effects like social integration and strengthening of beliefs. Finally, individuals experience a renewed trust in life, strength, and self-confidence. Affect scientists have found differences in motives for social sharing of positive and negative emotions.
Reminiscing the positive experience augments positive affects like temporary mood and longer-term well-being. A study by Gable et al. The responsiveness increased levels of intimacy and satisfaction within the relationship. In general, the motives behind social sharing of positive events are to recall the positive emotions, inform others, and gain attention from others.
All three motives are representatives of capitalization. Negatively affected individuals often seek life meaning and emotional support to combat feelings of loneliness after a tragic event. If this repeats, it is then called "tertiary social sharing".
When communities are affected by an emotional event, members repetitively share emotional experiences. This then reactivates the need to share in both. Social sharing throughout the community leads to high amounts of emotional recollection and "emotional overheating". Pennebaker and Harber  defined three stages of collective responses to emotional events. In the first stage, a state of "emergency" takes place in the first month after the emotional event. In this stage, there is an abundance of thoughts, talks, media coverage, and social integration based on the event.
In the second stage, the "plateau" occurs in the second month. Abundant thoughts remain, but the amount of talks, media coverage, and social integration decreases. In the third stage, the "extinction" occurs after the second month. There is a return to normalcy. Effect on emotional recovery[ edit ] This cathartic release of emotions is often believed to be therapeutic for affected individuals. Many therapeutic mechanisms have been seen to aid in emotional recovery.
One example is "interpersonal emotion regulation", in which listeners help to modify the affected individual's affective state by using certain strategies. The pot has a locking lid and valve that can be used to reduce pressure. People are like pressure cookers, and their anger is like the fluid inside the cooker.
As the anger increases, the fluid rises. Almost as soon as psychology researchers began conducting scientific tests of catharsis theory, they ran into trouble. In one of the first experiments on the topic, published in , participants received an insulting remark from someone who pretended to be another participant a confederate.
The act of pounding nails should reduce subsequent aggression if catharsis theory is true. Participants in the control group received the same insult but did not pound any nails. Participants were then given a chance to criticize the person who had insulted them.
Apparently, venting anger against those nails made people more willing to vent anger against another person. Numerous other studies have found similar findings. In , Albert Bandura, a famous social psychologist, issued a statement calling for a moratorium on catharsis theory and the use of venting in therapy. A comprehensive review of the research published in found that venting anger does not reduce aggression; if anything, it makes people more aggressive afterward.
The authors also concluded that venting anger can reduce physiological arousal e. Venting against substitute targets does not reduce arousal. Aggression breeds further aggression. One variation of venting is intense physical exercise, such as running. Although physical exercise is good for your heart, it is not very good for reducing anger.
Angry people are highly aroused, and the goal is to decrease arousal levels. Exercise increases rather than decreases arousal levels. Also, if someone provokes you after exercising, the arousal from the exercise might transfer to the provocation, making you even angrier. In summary, venting anger is like using gasoline to put out a fire: It just makes things worse. Venting keeps arousal levels high and keeps aggressive thoughts and angry feelings alive—it is merely practicing how to behave more aggressively.
If the metaphor of a pressure cooker is used to describe anger, there are three ways to deal with buildup of steam. Every art medium has its power to help the artist - amateur or professional - release emotions. One person may spatter paint on a canvas, flinging away their anger as they do.
Another might draw in heavy black slashes of a charcoal pencil. In one study, incest survivors gained some relief as they worked with clay. Sometimes, the artist's expressions are so vivid that they bring about catharsis in the person viewing their work. Primal Therapy In primal therapy, the goal is to release the person's earliest childhood suffering.
The therapist may instruct them to express the feelings they've been hiding all these years by directing their anger to an imaginary parent sitting in an empty chair. For some people, this is enough of a trigger to allow them to re-experience those feelings and finally let them go.
Reliving Traumatic Events In therapy or on your own, you may come to a time when you relive a past event. It can happen for people with PTSD during exposure therapy. Or, it can happen automatically when they're forced to return to the scene of the trauma.
As they're confronted with the details of an environment where they felt threatened, they can now experience those feelings freely, knowing that the threat is in the past. Writing Writing can be very therapeutic. Many psychologists and mental health programs encourage journaling for just this reason. There's something cathartic about writing about your unpleasant experiences and the facts, scenes, and people that were a part of them.
Whether you're writing directly about your experiences in a journal or creating poetry to express those emotions through poetic words and images, the release is the same.
Reading LiteratureAnd Watching Films Writing and acting can provide catharsis, but so can experience the results of those creative endeavors. When you read a well-written book, you may find that the author expresses a familiar feeling so clearly that it brings up feelings that you thought had long been buried. The same can be true of a finely-acted movie. As the actor faces their greatest challenges, you're with them, feeling emotions that you never realized were within you.
Volunteering Source: pexels. An example is a rape survivor who releases their feelings of helplessness by volunteering at a rape hotline. Of course, this also involves community activism, which can provide catharsis as well.
Psychoanalysis When Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic method, much of his work centered on bringing about catharsis to promote psychological healing. His idea that repressed feelings caused neurosis prompted him to encourage his patients to re-experience past trauma.
Later on, Freud abandoned this idea, finding it ineffective in bringing about change. Now, psychoanalysts use catharsis, but only as the first step in understanding themselves and making better decisions now. Psychodynamic Therapy Psychodynamic therapy grew from the foundation of psychoanalysis. A psychodynamic therapist encourages their patient to talk about past experiences and emotions.
For some people, this is enough of a trigger to allow them to re-experience those feelings and finally let them go. Teiresias, Jocasta, the herdsman, each in turn tries to stop him, but in vain; he must read the last riddle, the riddle of his own life. Primal Page. The modern theories of catharsis are based on this hydraulic model. Catharsis, then, can be helpful, but it also comes with risks.
In the English language, a pressure cooker is often used as a metaphor for anger. He interprets catharsis as a purification German : Reinigung ,  an experience that brings pity and fear into their proper balance: "In real life", he explained, "men are sometimes too much addicted to pity or fear, sometimes too little; tragedy brings them back to a virtuous and happy mean. Rituals Perhaps throughout human history, people have used rituals to deal with mental and emotional problems. Angry people are highly aroused, and the goal is to decrease arousal levels.
References: American Psychological Association. Bushman, B. Even if you don't see a connection between today's problems and your earlier life, you may learn in therapy how they're related and what to do about them. The authors also concluded that venting anger can reduce physiological arousal e. People also describe experiencing catharsis after experiencing some sort of traumatic or stressful event such as a health crisis, job loss, accident, or the death of a loved one.
According to psychoanalytic theory , this emotional release is linked to a need to relieve unconscious conflicts. The use of a concept in the popular press is a sign of how widespread it is. The cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems are all affected as the pent-up emotions are released. Aristotle taught that viewing tragic plays gave people emotional release katharsis from negative feelings such as pity and fear.
Thanks for your feedback! Belief in Catharsis Is Widespread The belief in the value of venting is widespread around the world. Later on, Freud abandoned this idea, finding it ineffective in bringing about change. References: Bushman, B. Aggression breeds further aggression.
Else made the following argument against the "purgation" theory: It presupposes that we come to the tragic drama unconsciously, if you will as patients to be cured, relieved, restored to psychic health. A second approach is to periodically siphon off some of the steam. While under hypnosis, Breuer's patients were able to recall traumatic experiences, and through the process of expressing the original emotions that had been repressed and forgotten, they were relieved of their hysteric symptoms. By consciously expressing emotions that had been long repressed, Breuer found that his patients experienced relief from their symptoms. Brecht reasoned that the absence of a cathartic resolution would require the audience to take political action in the real world, in order to fill the emotional gap they had experienced vicariously.
The authors also concluded that venting anger can reduce physiological arousal e. Emotion-Focused Therapy Emotion-focused therapy is often used to help couples improve their relationships. Humor helps people release their emotions, often in a raucous burst of laughter. Primal Page. His works suggest that individuals seek social outlets in an attempt to modify the situation and restore personal homeostatic balance. This can happen individually, for example, a person touches their lost loved one's photo every day when they wake up.
What are your concerns? Exercise increases rather than decreases arousal levels.
The act of pounding nails should reduce subsequent aggression if catharsis theory is true. But there is not a word to support this in the "Poetics", not a hint that the end of drama is to cure or alleviate pathological states. The term is often discussed along with Aristotle's concept of anagnorisis. When compared with the control group that only discussed unemotional topics, there was no correlation between emotional sharing and emotional recovery.
All three motives are representatives of capitalization. Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox. This technique can be seen as early as his agit-prop play The Measures Taken , and is mostly the source of his invention of an epic theatre, based on a distancing effect Verfremdungseffekt between the viewer and the representation or portrayal of characters. Some scholars believe that "blowing off steam" may reduce physiological stress in the short term, but this reduction may act as a reward mechanism, reinforcing the behavior and promoting future outbursts. Volunteering Source: pexels.
Similar findings have been published regarding trauma recovery. The idea was that if the child took out their anger by hitting the punching bag, they would achieve catharsis and their anger would go away. Psychoanalysis When Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic method, much of his work centered on bringing about catharsis to promote psychological healing. Music has been used throughout history to help people deal with emotions. Numerous other studies have found similar findings. The cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems are all affected as the pent-up emotions are released.
The immediate cause of Oedipus' ruin is not "fate or "the gods"—no oracle said that he must discover the truth—and still less does it lie in his own weakness; what causes his ruin is his own strength and courage, his loyalty to Thebes, and his loyalty to the truth. Addressing difficult emotions is often a goal of therapy. Primal Therapy In primal therapy, the goal is to release the person's earliest childhood suffering. Other studies have also failed to prove that social catharsis leads to any degree of emotional recovery.