To find out current practice in the use of abreaction by consultant psychiatrists a survey was conducted, by postal questionnaire, of all consultant psychiatrists working with adult patients in the Yorkshire area.
Out of 170 consultants, 133 (78%) returned the questionnaire; 64 consultants (48%) had used abreaction at some point in their career and 20 (15%) had done so in the past 5 years. The median number of times abreaction had been used in the previous 5 years was two and only seven consultants (5%) had supervised a trainee in using abreaction.
Abreaction is used rarely and only by a minority of consultants. Few consultants have supervised trainees in the use of abreaction. Future psychiatrists are unlikely to be skilled in the use of abreaction and its use will decline.
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