religion onlineThis looks like a useful site. Stumbled on it with a Google search – when this item came up From Mimesis to Kinesis: The Aristotelian Dramatic Matrix, Psychoanalysis, and Some Recent Alternati by Ekbert Fass. Here is a quote from the item:
The catharsis concept, then, seems to cover the whole spectrum from Freuds “cathartic method” of acting out repressed experiences, to psychoanalysis proper purporting to cure the patient by making him understand these experiences as being part of his intelligible, consistent, and unbroken case history. The forces at work on the Aristotelian spectator of tragedy are of a similar nature. Without some display of violence or suffering, of course, no fear and pity can be aroused. But to Aristotle, this is not to be misunderstood in the sense of a theater of cruelty. Those, he writes, “who make use of the Spectacle to put before us that which is merely monstrous . . . are wholly out of touch with Tragedy.”39 Similarly, the best way of handling the deed of horror is found in a play like Cresphontes where Merope, “on the point of slaying her son, recognizes him in time.”40 More important than the actual presentation of violence and suffering is the device of peripety in causing surprise while at the same time letting us recognize what surprised us as an ordered sequence of cause and effect. For the arousal of pity and fear, like the emotions felt in reliving a repressed traumatic scene, will be purged by such hindsight. Aristotelian catharsis and Freudian therapy also share an almost exclusive reliance on discursive language. Just as Freud restricts analysis to the patients verbal articulation of his erratic life story towards the logically consistent discourse of his case history, so Aristotle, as already pointed out, prefers to have the cathartic impact of tragedy depend on the spoken word to the exclusion of a spectacle.
The Plot in fact should be so framed that, even without seeing the things take place, he who simply hears the account of them shall be filled with horror and pity at the incidents; which is just the effect that the mere recital of the story in Oedipus would have on one.41
The article goes to the hear of what it is that makes therapy therapeutic. It may even have in it or at least imply what I think is at the heart ofg psychotherapy! Which is that when the emotions of in response to a traumatic scene are aroused, that the traumatised self ‘sees’ that response to his or her trauma, feels seen validated and healed.
This is the final role reversal of most successfully resolved traumatic scenes, where the nurturing is soaked up by the the person while in the tole of the traumatised self.