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July 2020

Absorption as a therapeutic agent

Journal/Book: Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. 1984; 14: 93-108.

Abstract: Suggests that the process of absorption is therapeutically adaptive for patients in a variety of contexts. Absorption is defined as the temporary loss of self through immersion in an object (e.g., music, nature) that eventuates in self-enhancement. Patients who become absorbed in animate and/or inanimate objects are better able to cope with a variety of problems and experience a heightened sense of well-being. Absorption is distinguished from symbiosis, mystic experiences, and religion. Recognition, validation, and employment of absorption in the analytic session are considered. Absorption is therapeutically useful to patients manifesting a variety of syndromes and symptoms; these include obsessive-compulsive patients who fear losing control over the structured environment, patients excessively preoccupied with themselves, and anxious patients. The absorption experience during sessions can be unilaterally experienced by the patient or reciprocally entered into by patient and analyst, who spontaneously immerse themselves in a shared object outside themselves, such as a dream. (37 ref)

Note: therapeutic adaptation through process of absorption; psychotherapy patients

Keyword(s): Psychotherapeutic processes; psychotherapy

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