Article of the Month

The Power of Catharsis

Tahir Altalib
9th Grade


In the world of psychology, one cannot underestimate the power of catharsis. For many it’s basically a magic “release valve” for emotions, a powerful tool to alleviate emotional turmoil. Its significance lies in its ability to help individuals manage their feelings, reduce stress,and improve overall mental well-being. Catharsis represents a psychological phenomenon that has the potential to bring immense relief and clarity to individuals’ lives. It serves as a beacon of emotional release, allowing people to find solace and understanding amid the complex “mess” of their feelings. Catharsis is a phenomenon that can transform the way people perceive and navigate their feelings. It is the process of letting out emotions that have been “festering” beneath the surface, whether it’s anger, sadness, or happiness. These emotions are released through various means, such as sharing with a trusted individual, maintaining personal journals, or even channeling them through art or other creative activities. Catharsis stands as a “psychological sanctuary,” a place where emotions are liberated and burdens are lightened.

One significant aspect about catharsis is its capability to make people feel better. When life becomes a puzzle of negative emotions, catharsis provides the solution. By letting out these emotions, individuals can experience a sense of relief and lightness, kind of like a “mental spa day.” Moreover, catharsis is one of the most effective stress-management tools. The pressures of daily life like school, personal relationships, and family can pile up and create a lot of stress in a person. However, catharsis helps individuals reduce their stress levels making their minds calmer and helping them maintain good mental health. Catharsis isn’t just about instant release, as compared to aggression therapy. Catharsis offers long term effects. By regularly practicing catharsis, individuals can prevent emotional build up, ensuring that they don’t burst like a bubble when touched. This process aids in emotional regulation, contributing to mental stability. Furthermore, catharsis plays a role in strengthening relationships. Disagreements and conflict are a natural part of any relationship, and catharsis can help navigate these challenges. Expressing one’s feelings or concerns by talking through issues fortifies and fosters better understanding between individuals.

However, catharsis comes with its rules. It’s important to choose the right moment and the right people to “emotionally release” to. Trustworthy friends and family members make ideal confidants for catharsis, but a journal always works too. The key is to express whatever’s pent up inside in a calm and collected manner. Besides talking and writing there are other forms of
catharsis. Some individuals turn to creative avenues like art or painting to convey their emotions. Others engage in physical activity like sports or running. Catharsis isn’t limited to only negative emotions as it can also enhance the celebration of positive ones. Sharing moments of joy or happiness is an essential aspect of emotional expression. Along with strengthening connections,
catharsis multiplies the joy. Catharsis embodies the saying “Happiness shared is happiness doubled.”

From a psychological point of view, catharsis is an invaluable tool as psychologists study the intricate relationship between emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It’s been observed that suppressing emotions can lead to problems such as anxiety, depression, and possibly physical health issues. Catharsis acts as a fundamental technique for psychologists, enabling them to
assist individuals in achieving their emotional relief and overall better mental health. In summary, catharsis serves as a superpower within the realm of psychology. It is instrumental in
helping individuals cope with their emotions, manage stress, and strengthen their relationships. This psychological tool acts as a safeguard against emotional build-up, promoting mental health and overall well-being. Embracing catharsis is akin to embracing a path to a happier and healthier self, where emotional expression is celebrated and acknowledged as a vital component of human existence.

Overcoming Barriers

Maaria Khan


Today, people practice different methods of therapy and catharsis all around the world, such as talking to friends, listening to music, or drawing things out, to help themselves express and release the tensions and stresses that had been stored in their subconscious mind for years. However, one form of catharsis that really benefitted me was cathartic writing. And of course, cathartic writing derives from the word “Catharsis”, meaning the ability to purify or renew a personality, from a pessimistic one to a more open-minded and accepting one. Like many other people who have tried out catharsis, I started it without any expectations of it helping me and didn’t think it could ever make an effective change in how I express myself. Luckily, I was proved wrong. In my ten days of practicing cathartic writing every day after school, I learned to write as if I were speaking to a friend and release all the tensions that were on my mind from the day. Every day, I sat down and wrote for 5 minutes, expressing my frustrations and venting to my diary about the negatives and the positives from each day. Later on, I was able to slowly get rid of all the bad and pessimistic thoughts, ideas, and memories from my mind and eventually give my brain enough space to create and introduce more constructive and optimistic memories and views.

As many people are aware of this, the human mind consists of three parts that can be described as an iceberg, the tip of it being the conscious mind, the middle parts, and the preconscious mind, and the bottom part of it being the subconscious, or unconscious mind. Here, the unconscious mind is where all the traumatic and negative memories store themselves and hold onto the back of the mind for so long that it eventually gets very difficult to get rid of those memories. For example, some people even need to use hypnotherapy in order to forget their disturbing or embarrassing memories. I, on the other hand, have also faced similar occurrences, for example, receiving bad grades all throughout fifth and sixth grade. That occurrence caused a great amount of trauma to me because I never imagined receiving such bad grades. However, this event was only one of my bad memories that stayed at the back of my mind for years, and in order to get it out of my mind, I wrote about it. Every time a bad and frustrating memory came to my mind, I immediately noted it down. As I continued to do this, I was able to eventually let go of all the past and focus on the present.

Practicing catharsis in the past week has helped me communicate with and directly console myself, allowing me to realize that things like this happen and that it is very common among people. I finally began to see the glass as half full and realized that receiving low grades isn’t a negative quality, and that I shouldn’t see it in such a dismissive light. Rather, I should take it as a constructive and beneficial factor to help me learn about everything I need to practice and redo to get my grades back up to its position. And telling myself these things made it easier for me to let go of all the trauma and find my way to the path of recovery and success. Because of cathartic writing, I was also able to create a better mindset in general and was able to get my mind focused on other major activities such as making better memories with friends and family, and focusing on my studies for better results. And later on, I finally opened up to new ideas, topics, and positive views on life.

Along with cathartic writing, I tried different forms of catharsis, some of them being meditation, talking to a family member or friend, and listening to podcasts of people dealing with relatable problems, to help me get over the depression that my memory was putting me through. I was wondering if I could benefit from those different methods as well, however, it didn’t work as effectively as cathartic writing did. I have realized that writing is such a powerful tool because it was the only form of catharsis that allowed me to express in detail what I was feeling at a certain moment. Later on, I was finally able to let go of the toxic and negative thoughts about my
self-esteem and release all the tension that was building up in my subconscious mind. I believe that writing out how people feel is a crucial part of life, whether they are in need of catharsis or just noting down what happens each day. I think it’s a great practice and allows people to cope with and move on from irritating moments, let it be major or minor. Cathartic writing is definitely the method of self-therapy that I would recommend for anyone going through various troubles. Everyone must try it out at least once, even if they don’t need to, as it has helped a myriad amount of people overcome their troubles and purify their subconscious minds, making a vast amount of space for new and constructive ideas and mentalities.