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February 1947

ABREACTION IN THE MILITARY SETTING

Author Affiliations

MEDICAL CORPS, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES

Arch NeurPsych. 1947;57(2):161-172. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1947.02300250039003
Abstract

IN THEIR epoch-making work on hysteria, Freud and Breuer first used the term "abreaction" to describe the intense reproduction, under hypnosis, of the original emotion accompanying the recollection of traumatic experience.1 Recently, with the increased use of intravenously injected barbiturates in the treatment of war neuroses, the importance of abreaction as a therapeutic measure has been stressed. It is basic in narcosynthesis,2 or narcoanalysis,3 and in hypnoanalysis.4 The purpose of this paper is not to review the literature dealing with the subject but, rather, to present a brief outline of our experiences with, and our conclusions about, the use of abreaction in the treatment of combat-precipitated neuroses in the only general hospital in the European Theater of Operations in which the total case load was continuously neuropsychiatric.

Abreactive therapy seemed especially valuable as an initial step in the treatment of acute battle reactions with pronounced amnesias,

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