"In the Introduction of Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis in Psychology,the following paragraph is there :

Weiss pointed out exactly what Penfield proved: that ego stated of former age levels are maintained in potential existence within the personality. This was already well-established clinically by the fact that such ego states "can be re-cathected directly under special conditions; for instance in hypnosis, in dreams, and in psychosis" He also notes that "two or more separate ego states may struggle to maintain integration and my consciously exist at one time". Repression of traumatic memories or conflicts is possible in many cases, according to Federn, only through repression of the whole pertinent ego state. Early ego stated remain preserved in a latent state, waiting to be recathected. Furthermore, in speaking of cathexis of ego states, Federn says that it is the cathexis itself which is experienced as ego feeling.This is related to the problem of what constitutes "the self".

Now, I have problem with the terms cathexis, cathected and re-cathected and hence can not understand the paragraph. It seems that the terms cathected and re-cathected are derived from the term cathexis and all of them are specialized psycological terms as I can not find them in the dictionary.

Could you please help me with the above three terms and the paragraph?"

Good afternoon Nikhilnath:

Thank for the question! Typically when cathexix is mentioned in terms of psychology it is spelled catharsis (note the different spelling). Question for you, is this from a psychology textbook and for a class? I can generally define the terms for you. You would have better luck in finding them in a scientific dictionary.

First stage of Jungian Treatment:

1. Catharsis and emotional cleansing. According to Seligman(2006)strong emotions are cast off or "discharged" while the therapeutic "forms". People understand their part with no need to relive events or memories. Jung saw the reliving of past trauma(s) to be counterproductive. Alternatively, catharsis with an understanding of the past and present allows people to improve present challenges without increasing their pain.

Merriam Webster defines this as 1: investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object or idea
2. libidinal energy that is either invested or being invested

This is the process of catharsis, while cathected is past tense and use re-cathected is to experience the process again.

Does this make sense?


Michael Stark
Ph. D in Progress Gen Psych


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Michael Stark


I can answer questions regarding substance abuse and chemical dependency as I was a Substance Abuse counselor for Mental Health Systems (MHS)and I have a AS degree in Alcohol and Other Drug Studies. Also I can answer questions on human sexuality. I have two additional degrees, a BS in Psychology and a MS in Psychology.


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