The Cathartic Function of Language: The Case Study of a Schizophrenic Patient

  • Antonino BuccaEmail author
Part of the Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology book series (PEPRPHPS, volume 20)


Language studies often concern the logical-propositional aspects and the referential or discursive uses. However, the emotional and cathartic aspects of expressive forms are also very important. The clinical cases of schizophrenia, but above all the psychotic language, highlight the psychological and/or psychopathological role of the emotional functions that (as well as with words) express the delusional ideas of the sick. In this paper, therefore, I will consider the emotive and cathartic functions of language in the case of a schizophrenic patient with fantastic delusion of imagination. The peculiarity of this clinical case concerns the expressive modalities wherewith he expresses the main themes of his fantastic delusion: a series of pictorial works. Moreover, the very sheets of paper this subject utilizes for his own drawings are utilized in order to write some delusional textual messages.

In this paper I try to show that the emotional and cathartic functions of language are psycholinguistic activities with a common emotional basis. I also observe that the cognitive, expressive and cathartic functions of language are interdependent linguistic processes. In fact, these linguistic processes concern – together – the ideas, the emotions and the cathartic mechanisms that also characterize the liberating psychological functions.


Artistic creativity Fantastic and/or imagination delusion Psychotic language Amateur artists and poets Emotive expressive forms Cathartic functions of language 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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