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Personality Adjustment and Conflict Self Defense Mechanisms. Think of a situation in your life where you acted like nothing was wrong when there really was. Do Now. Defense Mechanisms. Defense mechanisms help us cope with unbearable thoughts, feelings and wishes .

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think of a situation in your life where you acted like nothing was wrong when there really was
Think of a situation in your life where you acted like nothing was wrong when there really was.

Do Now

defense mechanisms
Defense Mechanisms
  • Defense mechanisms help us cope with unbearable thoughts, feelings and wishes.
  • The idea of this comes from Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory that our subconscious can impact our lives by showing up in our behaviors.
why do we use defense mechanisms

Defense Mechanisms do for anxiety, what endorphins do for physical pain – reduce impact

  • They can be helpful – lead our lives in difficult times
  • They can be dangerous – distort reality, keepus from taking action in bad situations
Why do we use defense mechanisms?
why do we use defense mechanisms1
Why do we use Defense Mechanisms?
  • Defenses hide a variety of thoughts and feelings.
  • Anger, sadness, fear, depression, greed, envy, competitiveness, love, passion, admiration, criticalness, dependency, selfishness or helplessness and more.
what is repression suppression and denial
What is repression, suppression and denial?
  • Suppression involves the conscious desire to forget
  • Repressiondiffers from suppression in that you are not aware you are doing it
  • Freud: “repression is damming up a pool, repressed wishes, thoughts will leak through the barriers that separate the unconscious from the conscious.” = Freudian Slips
has anyone ever told you that your problem was all in your head

Has anyone ever told you that your problem was “all in your head?”

Have you ever heard of the word Psychosomatic?

what are conversion disorders
What are Conversion Disorders?
  • Serious psychological trauma that converts itself into a real dysfunction.
  • Severe examples: hysterical blindness, false pregnancy, hysterical paralysis. These physical symptoms DO exist, but are rare.
  • Hypochondrasis:most common conversion disorder. Over concern about health. Can begin from childhood when great attention was paid to them when they were sick, and not under healthy conditions.
how strong is the power of suggestion
How strong is the power of suggestion?
  • Psychological issues can impact biology
  • Extreme examples: voo-doo, sudden death syndrome, etc.
  • Somatoform Disorders:condition in which psychological issues are expressed in bodily symptoms in the absence of any real physical problem.
  • Mild examples: man feels morning sickness due to wife’s pregnancy, etc.
munchausen s syndrome by proxy
Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy
  • A condition that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker.— usually a mother — deliberately makes another person (most often his or her own preschool child) sick or convinces others that the person is sick.
  • As a result, doctors usually order tests, try different types of medications, and may even hospitalize the child or perform surgery to determine the cause.
  • An aspect of the syndrome is the ability of the parent or caregiver to fool and manipulate doctors. Frequently, the perpetrator is familiar with the medical profession.
what did we learn
What did we learn?
  • What is the name for feeling physically sick from an emotional reaction?
  • Hypochondrias (Hypochondria)
  • What is the name for pushing back memories that make you uncomfortable
  • Suppression
  • What is the name for totally forgetting memories that make you uncomfortable
  • Repression
  • Why do we use defense mechanisms?
  • To protect ourselves from emotional pain even when we are not aware we are doing it.
  • Taking out our frustrations on others who are not responsible – but safer.
  • Displacement
  • What is the disorder where parents, often the mother, cause harm to their child for attention and other psychological reasons?
  • Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy
  • Going back to a time when we felt safe and life was simpler/immature behavior
  • Regression
what is displacement
What is displacement?

I hate this pie!!!

  • Venting our feelings on someone other than ourselves

I can’t believe Bertha broke up with me.

Separation of emotion from its real object and redirection of the intense

emotion toward someone or something that is less offensive or threatening in

order to avoid dealing directly with what is frightening or threatening

what is regression
What is regression?
  • The process of going backwards in thoughts and behavior to a period when we were taken care of as children…or a younger simpler age when your life was happier.
what is reaction formation

What is Reaction Formation?

  • Expressing the opposite of what we really feel
  • Sometimes someone with very vocal and strong opinions about a topic actually practices the opposite of what they preach.

You have cooties!

You smell!

The process of expressing the opposite of what we feel

She’s really pretty, I wonder if she likes me?

Wow, he’s talking to me!!

what is undoing
What is Undoing?
  • Trying to reverse or undo your feeling by doing something that indicates the opposite.

I hate my boss – he makes my life miserable! I’ll send him a birthday email.

what is intellectualization
What is intellectualization?
  • The process of removing our feelings about an event and discussing it in a calm rational unemotional way.

…and then it burned down, can you believe that? Yup, lost everything. Can I have more iced tea?

what is projection
What is projection?
  • The process of attributing our own thoughts to someone else.
  • Example: Insisting that your friend is angry at you – when in reality you are angry at your friend.

What do you MEAN “How do I feel?” Are you giving me a reason to feel bad?!

what is sublimation
What is sublimation
  • The process of channeling

emotional energy into constructive or

creative activities

“Drive past any school playground and find the kid sitting by himself looking miserable…that’s your future successful writer”)

  • Sublimation takes the energy of something that is potentially harmful and turns it to doing something good and useful

It is probably the most useful and constructive of the defense mechanisms – to a point

what is rationalization
What is rationalization?
  • The process of explaining a problem so as not to take any blame

Victims of domestic violence are often told “You deserved it” or “I didn’t want to hit you, but you asked for it”. This is a form of rationalization. Victims also sometimes exhibit the defense mechanism “Identification with Aggressor”

identification with aggressor
Identification with aggressor

Taking on characteristics of someone who

  • has mistreated us in order to

psychologically avoid abuse.

  • Stockholm Syndrome: The behavior of kidnap victims who, over time, become sympathetic to their captors. The name derives from a 1973 hostage incident in Stockholm, Sweden.

The behavior is considered a common survival strategy for victims of interpersonal abuse, and has been observed in battered spouses, abused children, prisoners of war, and concentration camp survivors

what is acting out
What is acting out?
  • An emotional conflict that results in bad behavior
what is passive aggression
What is Passive Aggression?
  • Exhibiting anger in a non-threatening way. Sarcasm is an example of passive aggression.
what is isolation of affect
What is Isolation of Affect?
  • You “think” the feeling, but don’t really feel it.

I should be upset that I wrecked my car on the way here – but I really don’t care.

what did we learn1
What did we Learn?
  • There is a strong connection between mind and body
  • The key to handling life’s problems seems to be actual control, or at least the belief that you are in some control (locus of control and adaptability)
  • The belief that you can achieve things in a realistic manner (self efficacy)
  • Psychological defense mechanisms are used to protect us– using them in moderation helps to protect our sense of well-being to recover from: personality defects, mistakes, emotional pain or problems.
  • Healthy Personality: accepting yourself and others, being flexible, realistic but still optimistic, and exhibiting control over your life, even when faced with difficulties. A sense of humor helps too!
what did we learn2
What did we learn?

What is expressing the opposite of what we feel

Reaction Formation

What is the name for not really reacting to emotional pain and explaining it away in removed detail

Isolation of Affect/Intellectualization

What is the name for putting emotional pain into physical activity


What is doing something nice for someone we dislike


What is behaving badly for some unassociated reason

Acting OutWhat is the name for putting emotional pain into physical activity


What is attributing your own thoughts onto someone else


What is sarcasm and hostility done with a smile

Passive Aggression

What is taking the blame for something that is not your fault to keep peace

Rationalization for an aggressor


(Pg.476-480) Page 478 in text has cartoons of some mechanisms . Your notes and Defense Mechanisms Sheet will be useful too

In your group of friends, develop an example/situation for each defense mechanism in your handout

Good examples take some time to develop the scene, characters and situation at hand.

1 classwork early psych and approaches quiz grade
1. Classwork - Early Psych and Approaches – Quiz Grade

Page 23:

  • Vocabulary
  • Questions 1-5 and 10 – 20

Page 24:

  • Discussion Questions1, 3 and 4

Do in notebook – will check for quiz grade

You may work with a partner