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n. pl. ca·thex·es (-thĕk′sēz)
Concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea.

[Greek kathexis, holding, retention, from katekhein, to hold fast : kat-, kata-, intensive pref.; see cata- + ekhein, to hold; see segh- in Indo-European roots.]


n, pl -thexes (-ˈθɛksiːz)
(Psychoanalysis) psychoanal concentration of psychic energy on a single goal
[C20: from New Latin, from Greek kathexis, from katekhein to hold fast, intended to render German Besetzung a taking possession of]


(kəˈθɛk sɪs)

n., pl. -thex•es (-ˈθɛk siz)
1. the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
2. the charge of psychic energy so invested.
[1920–25; < Greek káthexis retention, derivative (with -sis -sis) of katéchein to keep, hold on to =cat- cat- + échein to have, hold; translation of German Besetzung (Freud)]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cathexis - (psychoanalysis) the libidinal energy invested in some idea or person or object; "Freud thought of cathexis as a psychic analog of an electrical charge"
depth psychology, psychoanalysis, analysis - a set of techniques for exploring underlying motives and a method of treating various mental disorders; based on the theories of Sigmund Freud; "his physician recommended psychoanalysis"
libidinal energy - (psychoanalysis) psychic energy produced by the libido
References in periodicals archive ?
If we think about the cinema in these terms, we can imagine it as a space and process of identification unbounded, in which the spectator engages in multiple, often conflicting or contradictory cathexes not structurally organized or demanded by the cinema nor the film on the screen, but nevertheless occasioned by them.
In other words, polymorphous perversity includes 'innate' homoerotic/-sexual cathexes that must be repressed.
The rods of encroaching night and the gloom of the cinema are cathexes which compensate, albeit with a loss of selfhood, for the void created by the absence of the father.
Although Freud saw successful mourning concluding with the bereaved's eventually moving on to invest his/her object cathexes in another, psychologists such as Abraham and Potok saw mourning more as introjection: the interiorization and assimilation of the lost individual into an inner present.