Acting Out

The phrase "acting out" describes impulsive actions that may reflect an individual’s unconscious wishes. The term is most often used by psychotherapists to describe behaviour during analysis when the patient “acts out”, rather than reports, his or her fantasies, wishes, or beliefs.

Acting out can also occur as a reaction to frustrations encountered in everyday life, often taking the form of antisocial, aggressive behaviour that may be directed against oneself or others.