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Defense mechanisms

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Defense mechanisms

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Defense mechanisms

  1. 1. DEFENSE MECHANISMS BY JOHNY KUTTY JOSEPH
  2. 2. WHAT IS A DEFENSE MECHANISM?  Defense mechanism refers to the unconscious processes that protect a person against anxiety by distorting reality In some way.  Sigmund Freud constructed a model of personality with 3 interlocking parts: the ‘id’, ‘ego’ & super ego’.  Id is the most primitive one-biologically based urges. To eat, drink, eliminate & especially to be sexually stimulated. id operates through pleasure principle without any rules, realities, morals.  Id is bridled & managed by ego. Ego delays satisfying id’s motives & channels behavior in
  3. 3.  Id’s unconscious demands are instinctual, infantile and amoral . They must be blocked by ego and superego.  Super ego, the conscience, prohibitions learned from parents & authorities.  Because of this conflict and persistence of unsatisfied demands, anxiety and guilt are aroused.  Defence mechanisms resides in the unconscious domain of ego.
  4. 4. GEORGE VALLIANT’S CLASSIFICATION  Narcissistic Defenses : Most primitive. In children and adults who are psychotically disturbed.  Immature Defenses: adolescents and some non neurotic patients.  Neurotic Defenses: in OCD and hysterical patients and in adults under stress.  Mature defenses:
  5. 5. NARCISSISTIC DEFENCES DENIAL DISTORTION PROJECTION 5
  6. 6. DENIAL  Avoiding the awareness of some painful aspect of reality by negating sensory data.  It abolishes external reality.  A person who is a functioning alcoholic will often simply deny they have a drinking problem, pointing to how well they function in their job and relationships. 6
  7. 7. DISTORTION  Grossly reshaping external reality to suit inner needs  Including hallucinations, wish fulfilling delusions, unrealistic megalomania. 7
  8. 8. PROJECTION  Mechanism by which the ego attributes its own intolerable sexual and aggressive impulses to the outside person or agency.  Coping with one’s unwanted motives by shifting them on to someone else.  A defense mechanism in which people protect themselves from awareness of their own undesirable traits by attributing those traits excessively to others.  An insecure student may have a strong tendency to cheat during exam, but his conscience will not allow him to even consider such a thing. He may then suspect that the 8
  9. 9. IMMATURE DEFENCES  ACTING OUT  HYPOCHONDRIASIS  PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR  REGRESSION  SOMATIIZATION 9
  10. 10. ACTING OUT  Expressing an unconscious wish or impulse through action to avoid being conscious of an accompanying affect.  Involves chronically giving in to an impulse to avoid the tension arising from postponement of expression.  Instead of saying, “I’m angry with you,” a person who acts out may throw a book at the person, or punch a hole through a wall.  For instance, a child’s temper tantrum is a form of acting out when he or she doesn’t get his or her way with a parent. 10
  11. 11. HYPOCHONDRIASIS  Exaggerating or overemphasizing an illness for the purpose of evasion and regression.  Responsibility can be avoided, guilt can be circumvented and instinctual impulses are warded off. 11
  12. 12. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR  These patients turn their anger against themselves. This phenomenon is called masochism, includes procrastination, silly or provocative behaviour, self demeaning ,clowning and frankly self destructive acts.  TURNING AGAINST SELF : Instead of expressing hostility against another person, represses the hostility but ventilates it against own self in the form of self criticism and self 12
  13. 13. REGRESSION  Attempting to return to an earlier libidinal phase of functioning to avoid the tension and conflict evoked at the present level of development.  For eg, an adolescent who is overwhelmed with fear, anger and growing sexual impulses might become clingy and start exhibiting earlier childhood behaviours he has long 13
  14. 14. SOMATIZATION  Converting psychic derivatives into bodily symptoms and tending to react with somatic manifestations rather than with psychic manifestations. 14
  15. 15. NEUROTIC DEFENCES  DISPLACEMENT  INTELLECTUALIZATION  RATIONALIZATION  REACTION FORMATION  REPRESSION 15
  16. 16. DISPLACEMENT  The motive remains unaltered but the person substitutes a different goal object for the original one. Often the motive is aggression that for some reason, the person cannot vent on the source of anger.  Shifting an emotion or drive from one idea or object to another that resembles the original in some aspect or quality.  Example is the man who gets angry at his boss, but can’t express his anger to his boss for fear of being fired. He instead comes home and kicks the dog or starts an argument with 16
  17. 17. INTELLECTUALIZATION  To avoid intimacy with people, attention is paid to external reality to avoid the expression of inner feelings and stress is placed on irrelevant details to avoid perceiving the whole.  A defense mechanism tries to make a person gain detachment from an emotionally threatening situation by dealing with it in abstract , intellectual terms.  A person told they have cancer asks for details on the probability of survival and the success rates of various drugs. The doctor may join in, using 'carcinoma' instead of 'cancer' and 'terminal' instead of 'fatal'. 17
  18. 18. RATIONALIZATION  Offering rational explanations in an attempt to justify attitudes, beliefs or behaviour that may otherwise be unacceptable.  It is a method to support an attitude with false reasons  A defense mechanism in which self-esteem is maintained by assigning reasonable and acceptable reasons for conduct entered on impulsively or for less 18
  19. 19. Rationalization is very common among medical professionals in covering up medical errors.  “Why disclose the error?, the patient was going to die anyway”  “Telling the family about the error will make them feel worse”  “It was patient’s fault, if he wasn’t so obese, sick etc. this error wouldn't have caused so much harm” “Well we did our best, these things happen.” 19 RATIONALIZATION
  20. 20. REACTION FORMATION  A defense mechanism in which a person denies a disapproved motive through giving strong expression to its opposite.  If this mechanism is frequently used at any early stage of ego development it can become a permanent character trait, as in obsessional character.  Ex : when a 2nd child is born in a family the first child may show extraordinary concern for the welfare of the Newborn. This way his unconscious hate and aggression for his little brother is covered up. 20
  21. 21. REPRESSION  This is a denial of an impulse or memory that might provoke feelings of guilt by its disappearance from awareness. This denial is a defense against internal threats.  Repression is the unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses.  Ego excludes from the consciousness all the psychological contents which it cannot fit in harmoniously.  A child who is abused by a parent later has no recollection of the events, but has trouble forming relationships. 21
  22. 22. MATURE DEFENCES These defence mechanisms are used consciously most of time in conscious mind.  Altruism  Humour  Suppression  Sublimation  Compensation DEFENCE MECHANISMS 22
  23. 23. ALTRUISM  Involves an individual getting pleasure from giving to others what the individual would have liked to receive.  behaviour of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.  Acting with an unselfish regard for others  Eg. Mother rearing children. 23
  24. 24. HUMOUR  Using comedy to overtly express feelings and thoughts without personal discomfort and without producing an unpleasant effect on the others.  Freud suggested that “Humour can be regarded as the highest of these defensive processes”  Mature humour allows individuals to look directly at what is painful. 24
  25. 25. SUPPRESSION  This is where the person consciously and deliberately pushes down any thoughts that leads to feelings of anxiety.  This approach is also used to suppress desires and urges that the person considers to be unworthy of them.  This may range from sexual desires to feelings of anger towards other people for whatever reason.  An older man has sexual feelings towards a teenager and quickly suppresses the thought. 25
  26. 26. SUBLIMATION  It is a defense mechanism that allows us to act out unacceptable impulses by converting these behaviors into a more acceptable form.  Consists of redirection of sexual impulses to socially valued activities and goals.  Ex. A writer may divert his libido to creation of poem/ novel. Thus indirectly satisfying drives.  Rejection by lover may induce one to divert hi energy to human welfare or artistic and literary activities.  For example, a person experiencing extreme anger might take up kick-boxing as a means of26
  27. 27. COMPENSATION  This defense mechanism allows the individual to counterbalance his feelings of inadequacy by doing well in another activity. Ex. A crippled individual could develop his physique through body-building exercise or excelling in sports. This is a positive compensatory act.  Negative compensation are found in people who pretend to be superior than others to cover up their feelings of inadequacy; in the student who distracts attention of classmates or making “show offs” because they believe that nobody notices them or is in need of recognition. 27
  28. 28. COMPENSATION  Overcompensation: This is also a type of compensation for a weakness by exerting too much effort to overcome it. Ex. Ludwig Van Beethoven suffered from deafness, yet became one of the world’s renowned musicians 28

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