ANXIETY According to Freud, anxiety (intense feelings of nervousness, tension or worry) occurs because the unacceptable impulses are getting closer and closer to consciousness, as well as closer and closer to the limits of the ego to hold them in check
REDUCING/AVOIDING ANXIETY Unconscious themes: aggressive thoughts, incestuous thoughts, memories of traumatic childhood experiences, etc. Freud believed it was so threatening, that the main goal of the ego is to actively keep these thoughts in the unconscious to avoid/reduce anxiety. Anxiety is similar to nervousness, worry, agitation or panic. Awareness of particular unacceptable material = anxiety.
FREUD’S THREE TYPES OF ANXIETY Reality Anxiety : the most basic form, rooted in reality. Fear of a dog bite, fear arising from an impending accident. It is considered to be an Ego based anxiety. The most common tension reduction method is to remove oneself from the harmful situation. Neurotic Anxiety : Anxiety which arises from an unconscious fear that the impulses of the Id will take control at an inappropriate time. This type of anxiety is driven by a fear of punishment that will result from expressing the Ids desires without channeling it through some socially acceptable action. Moral Anxiety : Anxiety which results from fear of violating moral or societal codes; moral anxiety appears as guilt or shame.
DEALING WITH ANXIETY-PROVOKING MATERIAL The ego uses many different techniques Collectively known as defence mechanisms Used to deal with unwanted thoughts and desires. All Defense Mechanisms share two common properties : 1) They can operate unconsciously 2) They can distort, transform, or falsify reality is some way.
DENIAL Refusing to admit that something unpleasant is happening, or that a taboo emotion is being experienced E.g. 16-year old Buster Baxter was using drugs, but his parents didn’t believe the principal when he/she told them about the problem. The more we use is, the less we are in touch with reality and the less likely we are to function fully.
SUBLIMATION Rechannels an unacceptable impulse into a more socially desirable outlet According to Freud, the only truly successful defence mechanism. Freud suggested that sublimation was crucial to the development of culture and civilization. E.g. sexual activity may be redirected into athletics May explain why some people choose certain occupations.
REPRESSION Active effort by the ego to block a threatening memory from consciousness E.g. People held in concentration camps may not be able to remember what happened while there Freud believed that all of us use repression, however, the more repression, the less remaining energy for our egos to function. Without a strong ego, a stable personality is at risk
RATIONALISATION Justifying one’s failure with socially acceptable reasons instead of the real reasons. E.g. After Blair rejected him, Chuck told friends he didn’t think she was attractive, and he wasn’t crazy about her anyway.
DISPLACEMENT Redirecting an emotional response from a dangerous object to a safe one E.g. After her new baby brother came home from the hospital, the parents discovered Cheryl had dismembered her favourite doll Freud noted that many irrational fears or phobias are merely symbolic displacements. E.g. a fear of one’s father might be displaced to something that symbolically represents the father, such as strong and powerful horses.
PROJECTION Transferring unacceptable motives or impulses to others E.g. a man who feels strong hostility toward a neighbour as being hostile to him
REGRESSION Returning to a more primitive level of behaviour when a person felt safe and secure E.g. After Sue Ann’s baby brother was born, she began to suck her thumb
REACTION FORMATION The individual attempts to hide from a threatening idea/urge by becoming overzealous in the opposite direction. E.g. Treating someone whom you intensely dislike in a friendly manner.
INTELLECTUALISATION Removal of emotional content from the idea. Examining the idea in a strictly intellectual, unemotional manner E.g. a wife with a dying husband tries to learn all she can about the disease, prognosis, treatment options. By doing this she can help repress the emotional onslaught of feelings of loss and anger which can accompany the death of a loved one.