negative therapeutic reaction

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A temporary worsening of symptoms as a result of treatment. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) described this phenomenon in his book The Ego and the Id (1923): ‘Every partial solution that ought to result, and in other people does result, in an improvement or a temporary suspension of symptoms produces in them for the time being an exacerbation of their illness; they get worse during the treatment instead of getting better’ (Standard Edition, XIX, pp. 12–66, at p. 49). Freud attributed it to resistance and to the patient's preference for suffering over being cured.

Subjects: Psychology.

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