Amy Thinks Deep

philosophy for the curious soul 

Energetic Analysis of a Catharsis

            In the moments of healing, when one feels the release of sickness and the pain has evaded, the atmosphere changes from the inside out. Clarity, peace, cleanness, content, rest, and fresh can be characteristics of this moment. This release involves the mind, heart, and spirit most importantly. It is often recognized by counselors as a critical step towards healing, known as a catharsis.

            Not always will a person have a dramatic shift in the status of the internal issue they are processing. Some experience it quicker than a snap; some experience it as a build-up and release over several minutes; yet sometimes it is a continual process over multiple years. Catharsis is not linked with time as we know it.

            Breaking down the roots and history of the word, we find it originated from the Greek word “katharsis.” Meaning a purging of emotional build-up, Aristotle emphasizes the rather dramatic remedy for emotional troubles in Poetics for the first recorded time in history (Cook, 2005; Oxford Dictionaries, 2015).

            The functions of a catharsis serve the individual in an important and meaningful step in one’s healing journey. Spiritual and mental health counselors are trained to be aware of this shift in energy. Progress made in behavioral changes are reflective of internal progress being made, such that within one’s heart and mind, motives and attitudes are being renewed and the spirit is refreshed.

            During catharsis, energy is being shifted, released, or gathered, depending on how one is experiencing this phenomenon. Nonetheless, there is a shift of energy within the soul of the one experiencing such healing. Several other fields other than counseling are aware of this transfer of energy needed for healing: Reiki, various healing rituals observed across religious cultures, and even yoga, to name a few, all observe the shifts of energetic build-up and release. The energy is understood, and even practiced in different ways with different jargon. Even in terms of physics, a burst or change in energy is exactly the study of thermodynamics. Artists even “feel” when their project is complete – a settling and proud energy awakens their soul and a sense of rest from the process has begun.

            Until the cathartic moment is reached, much effort can feel tiresome, pointless, and dull. This valuable moment of energetic transfer is very rewarding and provides necessary momentum to the individual for their continuing journey. Before the moment of catharsis, energy builds up from various factors dealing with the process of healing. Energy is stored in different ways according to the personality of the individual and how they have learned to store that energy. Some store it energetically within their souls, which Reiki serves to fix by the movement of energy. Some store the build-up of energy physically with knots, which massages help release. Others store energy in mentally and emotionally unhealthy forms, which counselors help release through catharsis.

            Energy can be misplaced, misused, or used as a method of release or transfer. Releases and similar forward movements are found through cathartic moments which only avail when one is ready to let it happen. Cathartic transfer of energy serves to heal and cleanse one’s psyche and refresh and reenergize the spirit.




Cook, Elizabeth M. (2005). The definitions of katharsis in Aristotle’s Poetics. The Ohio State Univsersity Department of Greek and Latin Honors Theses. The Ohio State University. Abstract retrieved from  

Oxford Dictionaries, (2015). Catharsis. The Oxford University Press. Retrieved from

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