English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know there is a word that means 'healing' as in "The therapy session was very ______", blank meaning it was healing (possibly of emotional wounds from the past).

share|improve this question
I think you mean "spiritually healing" (as in healing to the spirit) rather than "Spiritual Healing" (healing by the spirit)! – user1579 Jun 1 '11 at 15:38
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I often see "cathartic" in this context, which describes the release of negative emotions. I think this word implies a healing process.

share|improve this answer
+1; Bah, I was just trying to post this. Ninja'd. :( – MrHen Jun 1 '11 at 14:46
That's the word, Cathartic. Couldnt for the life of me find it in the thesaurus. Thanks – Brian B Jun 2 '11 at 10:20
Today, the word is used more in the metaphorical than the absolute sense. So much so most are aware only of such use and not the dictionary meaning. – Kris May 12 '12 at 5:15

I think the word you want is


share|improve this answer
Which actually comes from the Greek θεραπεύω, meaning to heal. – snumpy Jun 1 '11 at 14:58
Makes me think "have one of the doctor's wholesome salubrious therapeutic restoratives!" ... though I doubt that's exactly the connotation the OP intended. – aedia λ Jun 1 '11 at 21:06

I would suggest sanative or sanatory. These words mean 'healing' and could be used in your sentence to convey this meaning.

The therapy session was very sanative.

I think both of the suggested words have some problems.

  1. Cathartic could mean either a release of strong emotions or purgative or laxative, so in your context there is a danger of the word being misconstrued.
  2. Therapeutic suits better, but does not fit well in your sentence. Saying "The therapy session was therapeutic" sounds repetitious.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.