Abreaction: a systematic review of the literature


Abreaction, or the ‘drug interview', was a relatively common therapeutic intervention in psychiatry in the middle to late 20th century. It is far less commonly practiced now, though there has been little investigation or understanding of why this decline in practice occurred. Dr Norman Poole and colleagues investigated the published English language reports on the process as applied to conversion disorder, and found that the reasons for its declining use were certainly not due to lack of evidence for its effectiveness.


Date published: 2 September 2010

Presenter: Dr Ovais Badat

Interviewee: Dr Norman Poole

Audio running time: 15 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will be able to:


  • understand the historical context and the theoretical bases for the drug interview and its utility in conversion disorders


  • describe the processes and challenges involved in conducting a meta-analysis of literature on any given intervention


  • be able to discuss the results and implications of this particular paper, with reference especially to the problems posed by biases in data and the conclusions that can be made for the systematic review as a result


  • understand the clinical implications of this paper and apply this understanding to your knowledge of conversion disorders and the nature of the therapeutic relationship in general.


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Please note: This podcast was recorded in 2010. Please be aware that some of the material covered and/or guidance may have changed.
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