Defense Mechanisms


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Defense Mechanisms

  1. 1. Anxiety and Defense Mechanisms
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Life isn’t easy.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sigmund Freud </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Types of Anxiety <ul><li>Anxiety is an unpleasant state that signals that things are not right and something must be done </li></ul><ul><li>Signals that control of ego is being threatened by reality, by impulses from id, or by harsh controls exerted by superego </li></ul>
  4. 4. Three Types of Anxiety <ul><li>Objective/Realistic </li></ul><ul><li>Moral </li></ul><ul><li>Neurotic </li></ul>
  5. 5. Objective/Realistic Anxiety <ul><li>What you and I would call fear. </li></ul><ul><li>Actually Freud did, too, in German. But his translators thought “fear” too mundane! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Moral Anxiety <ul><li>This is what we feel when the threat comes not from the outer, physical world, but from the internalized social world of the superego. </li></ul><ul><li>It is just another word for feelings like shame and guilt and the fear of punishment. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Neurotic Anxiety <ul><li>The fear of being overwhelmed by impulses from the id. </li></ul><ul><li>Neurotic is actually the Latin word for nervous, so this is nervous anxiety. </li></ul><ul><li>It is this kind of anxiety that intrigued Freud most, and we usually just call it anxiety, plain and simple. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Purpose of Anxiety <ul><li>In all three types of anxiety, the function of ego is to cope with threats and to defend against dangers in order to reduce anxiety </li></ul>
  9. 9. Defense Mechanisms <ul><li>Denial </li></ul><ul><li>Repression </li></ul><ul><li>Reaction formation </li></ul><ul><li>Projection </li></ul><ul><li>Rationalization </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectualization </li></ul><ul><li>Displacement </li></ul><ul><li>Sublimation </li></ul><ul><li>Undoing </li></ul><ul><li>Introjection </li></ul><ul><li>Regression </li></ul>
  10. 10. Denial <ul><li>Blocking external events from awareness. </li></ul><ul><li>If some situation is just too much to handle, the person just refuses to experience it. </li></ul><ul><li>This is a primitive and dangerous defense. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Repression <ul><li>“ Motivated forgetting.” </li></ul><ul><li>Not being able to recall a threatening situation, person, or event. </li></ul><ul><li>This, too, is dangerous, and is a part of most other defenses. </li></ul><ul><li>Note that, to be a true example of a defense, it should function unconsciously. </li></ul><ul><li>Usually, it is the irrational fears we call phobias that derive from repression of traumas. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Reaction Formation <ul><li>“Believing the opposite” </li></ul><ul><li>Changing an unacceptable impulse into its opposite. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Projection <ul><li>Involves the tendency to see your own unacceptable desires in other people. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, the desires are still there, but they’re not your desires anymore. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Rationalization <ul><li>The cognitive distortion of “the facts” to make an event or an impulse less threatening. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Intellectualization <ul><li>Involves stripping the emotion from a difficult memory or threatening impulse. </li></ul><ul><li>Something that should be a big deal is treated as if it were not. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Displacement <ul><li>The redirection of an impulse onto a substitute target. </li></ul><ul><li>If the impulse, the desire, is okay with you, but the person you direct that desire towards is too threatening, you can displace to someone or something that can serve as a symbolic substitute. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turning against the self </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Sublimation <ul><li>The transforming of an unacceptable impulse, whether it be sex, anger, fear, or whatever, into a socially acceptable form. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Undoing <ul><li>Involves “magical” gestures or rituals that are meant to cancel out unpleasant thoughts or feelings after they’ve already occurred. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Introjection (Identification) <ul><li>Involves taking into your own personality characteristics of someone else, because doing so solves some emotional difficulty. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Regression <ul><li>A movement back in psychological time when one is faced with stress. </li></ul><ul><li>When we are troubled or frightened, our behaviors often become more childish or primitive. </li></ul><ul><li>Where do we retreat when faced with stress? To the last time in life when we felt safe and secure </li></ul>
  21. 21. Impulses, parapraxes, and humor <ul><li>Defenses work to prevent forbidden impulses from being acted on – or even thought about. </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes, though, these feelings and thoughts manage to make their way out into the open, anyway. </li></ul><ul><li>If this leakage is uncontrolled, it creates a slip of some sort, or a parapraxis . </li></ul><ul><li>If controlled, it can be the basis of humor and wit. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Parapraxes <ul><li>Another name for what is commonly referred to as a “Freudian Slip,” or a leakage of a thought or feeling from the unconscious mind into an overt manifestation by means of a mistake, accident, omission, or memory lapse. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forgetting – We discussed this one earlier, in the example of how I “forgot” the social function that I was to attend. Freud would state that I did this intentionally, so that I could avoid attending the function. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slips – We’ve talked about slips, as well. It’s important to remember that slips do not necessarily have to be “slips of the tongue,” but that they can also be “slips of behavior.” </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Humor <ul><li>There is an old saying that goes: “A lot of truth is spoken in jest,” and Freud agreed with this assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Freud viewed wit as a form of sublimation – an impulse that would otherwise be threatening or harmful can be vented in a way that is harmless, or even enjoyed. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Criticisms of Freud <ul><li>Lack of Parsimony </li></ul><ul><li>Untestability </li></ul><ul><li>Sexism </li></ul>