by Kathi Stringer
Defense mechanisms protect the human physic from raised levels
of anxiety. Often, the mechanisms are unconscious behaviors.
When used excessively, one is unable to face reality and solve
problems which can lead to psychosis. The goal is to bring the
unconscious behavior to conscious and to target the cause of
the behavior to establish greater insight. I have listed below
the defense mechanisms and their meanings.......
On the unconscious level, the involuntary forgetting of
painful ideas, events and conflicts.
On the unconscious level, one will not admit an unacceptable
behavior or idea.
On the unconscious level, *one takes on* the values and
attitudes of others, acting as if they are there own.
- Reaction formation
- Sublimation Displacement
Projecting or casting what is unwanted, or undesired onto
someone else. Such as looking for an scapegoat or blaming
When one separates on an unconscious level, feelings and
emotions from an object, idea or situation.
Return to an earlier and more comfortable developmental level.
The term *fixation* and regression are often associated with
each other. Fixation can frustrate reality and lead to
regression. Regression is related to the need of security.
Whether it is positive or negative depends largely on the
therapist. A mentally healthy person will progress though many
defense mechanisms - Denial Refusing to
acknowledge an undesirable experience, memory.
or internal need that is anxiety arousing and
behaving as if it did not exist.
overwhelming evidence and a death certificate,
Tom's mother refused to believe that her son
had been killed in the war
feelings from one object to a substitute that is
not as gratifying but is less anxiety-arousing.
baseball pitcher, often hits the next batter
with a pitch when someone has hit a home run off
to others unwanted feelings, thoughts or
has had several extramarital affairs, begins to
accuse his wife of being unfaithful.
socially acceptable feelings or reasons in place
of actual, unacceptable feelings or reasons for
his parents he got a D in his economics course
because all the As & Bs went to students who
against unacceptable feelings and behavior by
exhibiting the opposite of one's true wishes or
who is unsure of her own sexuality, frequently
makes homophobic & lesbian bashing remarks.
forms of behavior that are indicative of an
earlier level of development such as childhood
(usually in response to an overwhelming
began sucking his thumb after the birth of his
|A form of
displacement in which a sexual or aggressive
impulse is moved from an unacceptable object to
one that is acceptable and ultimately has value
who has always had pent-up hostile impulses
becomes a famous surgeon.
Compliments of Kathi Stringer
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