NLP Appendix | Abreaction

In this short video, Michael Beale explains Abreaction – which is something that all coaches are likely to encounter at some point in their careers.  As long as you remain calm and reassuring, your client can actually learn a lot from the experience.

What Is Abreaction?

Abreaction is completely normal. It is a sudden release of emotion when a client accesses repressed memories that hold a great deal of emotional significance for them.  This emotional outburst can be both cathartic and distressing, and as a coach, it is easy to panic.  However, if you know what is happening, and what to do, an abreaction is actually a really great way to help a client to move forward.

How To Deal With Abreaction

As the coach, you need to be prepared when you deal with your client’s past. If an emotional outburst occurs, you need to show the client that they do not need to be concerned – that you are not uncomfortable, and that you are strong and providing a safe place for them to explore this difficult memory.

You must be very careful not to amplify the reaction, nor to anchor it by mistake.  Use the emotion to lead somewhere useful. It has taken a lot of courage for the client to open up, they can move forward.

If you are not yet experienced or comfortable in dealing with a situation like this, then avoid talking about the past with your client. Abreaction is far less likely to occur when dealing with the present or the future.

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