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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 ?
Both resonating with Fassbinder and diverging from Sirk's cathexes, Darboven arranges an array of errant mementos: stationery from the Gramercy Park Hotel (creating a link to her and his time in New York); pre- and postwar German postcards, depicting bucolic vacation spots, pleasure craft, zeppelins, illustrations of soldiers helping their own on the battlefield, the destroyed "Hermann Goring Haus," an anonymous fraulein.
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.
Freud's hypotheses about infantile sexual traumas and their repression, his theories of erotic drives and the way civilization is built on "sublimating" them, his complexes and cathexes, his phallic symbols and Oedipal conflicts, penis envy and castration anxiety.
Thomieres notes that these three characters find no respite from their cathexes, which drives these characters towards death, or, in Browns case, "death in life" (19).
Such cathexes become a bit more comprehensible upon analysis of research such as that reported by Posner (2002):
594) More strongly, she maintains that some "might even say that we insult women by attributing to them such milquetoast psyches that they can be imagined incapable of fomenting powerful phantasmatic cathexes and desires," (595) and so can be injured by sex.
Against the orthodox Freudian conceptualization of narcissism as innately fixed towards the actualization of distinction through authoritarianism and destructiveness, Fromm argues that it is possible to divert narcissistic cathexes into a common normative commitment to human solidarity.
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.
20) For Freud, successful mourning ended when the bereaved invested his / her object cathexes in another, while for other psychologists, mourning was essentially introjection--the interiorization and assimilation of the lost individual into an inner present.