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Flashcards in Defense Mechanisms Deck (28)
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1

Acting out

emotional conflict is dealt w through actions rather than feelings (ex getting in trouble to get attention instead of talking about feeling neglected)

2

Compensation

enables one to make up for real or perceived deficiencies (ex person with stutter becomes expressive writer, napoleon complex/Romano)

3

Conversion

repressed urge is expressed disguised as a disturbance of body function, usually sensory, voluntary nervous system (as pain, deafness, blindness, paralysis, convulsions - ex ER patient w pseudoseizures bc of repressed memory of killing child)

4

Decompensation*

deterioration of existing defenses

5

Denial

inability to acknowledge true significance of thoughts/feelings/wishes/behavior/external reality factors that are consciously intolerable

refusing to accept reality bc it is unbearable

6

Devaluation

person attributes exaggerated negative qualities to self or another (split of idealization)

7

Dissociation

enables person to split mental functions in a manner that allows them to express forbidden/unconscious impulses wo taking responsibility for the action because a) unable to remember the disowned behavior or b) is it not experienced as their own (fugue state, amnesia, dissociative neurosis; daydreaming)

8

Displacement

directing an impulse/wish/feeling toward a person or situation that is not its real object, thus permitting expression in a less threatening situation (ex man kicks dog when mad at boss)

9

Idealization

overestimation of an admired aspect or attribute of another

10

Identification

person patterns self after someone more powerful

11

Identification with Aggressor

identifying with powerful aggressor (ex abusive parent) to counteract feelings of helplessness and feel powerful oneself; usually involves behaving like the aggressor (abusing someone else)

12

Inhibition

loss of motivation to engage in usually pleasurable activities avoided because it might stir up conflict over forbidden impulses (ex social shyness, writer's block)

13

Introjection

loved or hated objects are symbolically absorbed within self (converse of projection) (ex in severe depression, unconscious unacceptable hatred is turned toward self)

Identifying with another so strongly that one absorbs that aspect into his/her own personality. This often is observed in children as they introject aspects of the parent into themselves.

14

Intellectualization

focus on facts/logic; emotional aspects are completely ignored; jargon used - focus on words rather than emotions

15

Isolation of Affect

unacceptable impulse, idea, act is separated from its original memory source, thereby removing the original emotional charge associated with it

16

Projection

attributing one’s disowned attitudes/wishes/feelings/urges to some external object or person

17

Projective Identification

unconsciously perceiving others’ behavior as a reflection of one’s own identity (Borderline)

18

Rationalization

(not unconscious) giving believable explanation for irrational behavior

19

Reaction Formation

person adopts affects/ideas/attitudes/behaviors that are opposites of those they harbor consciously or unconsciously (ex being excessively sweet to mask unconscious anger)

20

Regression

partial or symbolic return to more infantile patterns of reacting or thinking (ex dependency during illness)

21

Repression

expressed clinically by amnesia or symptomatic forgetting serving to banish unacceptable ideas/fantasies/ affects/impulses from consciousness

22

Splitting

person perceives self or others as “all good” or “all bad;” person cannot integrate the good and bad in people (associated with Borderline)

23

Sublimation

potentially maladaptive feelings/behaviors are diverted into socially acceptable, adaptive channels (ex person with angry feelings channels them into athletics, like in Mean Girls)

24

Substitution

unattainable or unacceptable goal/emotion/object is replaced by one more attainable or acceptable

25

Symbolization

mental representation stands for some other thing/class of things/attribute

a way of handling inner conflicts by turning them into distinct symbols - Ex a soldier explains his decision to join the army as 'defending the flag' instead of talking about feelings/thought on the war

26

Turning against Self

defense to deflect hostile aggression or other unacceptable impulse from another to self

27

Undoing

person used words or actions to symbolically reverse or negate unacceptable thoughts/feelings/actions (ex person compulsively washes hands to deal with obsessive thoughts)

Believing one can change an outcome by adopting a more acceptable behavior

When we act on an idea or impulse that we later regret, we may adopt a defense mechanism of attempting to “undo” that action in order to protect the ego from feelings of guilt or shame. A person may intentionally push past someone in a shop, but realising that the person was frail, feel guilty with regards to their behavior. They may try to undo their action by apologising or offering to help the person.

28

Altruism

Assisting others to avoid negative feelings