Abstinence Rule

The Abstinence Rule is a rule developed by Sigmund Freud governing that therapy patients should not participate in self-indulgences or gratifications, such as sexual activity or smoking. Freud believed these pleasurable activities would divert patients’ energies away from their therapy.

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Freud felt that withholding various types of gratification until treatment was complete would motivate patients to work harder to improve themselves. He even went so far as sitting behind patients who lay in his couch, so they couldn’t enjoy the conversational cues present in normal human interactions.

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