The venting hypothesis appears to have been particularly applied to the expression of anger. The Kennedy-Moore & Watson review in the book (1999), review by Bushman (2002) and the influential writings of Tavris (1984, 1989) suggests that at the experiential, behavioural or physiological level, short term expression of anger does not bring relief but often the contrary – it heightens tension. The title of the chapter in which Kennedy-Moore & Watson propose the venting hypothesis is ‘The myth of emotional venting’ so the overall purposes of operationising catharsis seems to enable it to be disproved.
She has frequently been described as the first psychoanalytic patient, a view which Freud himself, lecturing at Clark University in the United States, once endorsed: If it is a merit to have brought psychoanalysis into being, that merit is not mine.
The answer, according to Freud, is catharsis: ..
Sigmund Freud, who believed that repressed negative emotions could build up inside an individual and cause psychological symptoms, revived the ancient notion of catharsis. Freud’s ideas form the basis of the hydraulic model of anger, which suggests that frustrations lead to anger and that anger, in turn, builds up inside an individual like hydraulic pressure inside a closed environment until it is vented or released. If the anger is not vented, the build-up will presumably cause the individual to explode in an aggressive rage.
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Confession has the same underlying assumption, and it is similar to the concept of cathartic treatment introduced by Freud and Breuer, because confession involves the recall, revealing, and release of forbidden thoughts, actions, and repressed emotions.