101 Defenses: How the Mind Shields Itself

101 Defenses: How the Mind Shields Itself

101 Defenses: How the Mind Shields Itself

101 Defenses: How the Mind Shields Itself

Synopsis

Defenses are mental operations that restore or maintain psychic equilibrium when people feel that they cannot manage emotions that stem from conflict; they remove components of unpleasant emotions from conscious awareness. For example, using sex, food, or hostility to relieve tension that's a defense - catalogued here as entry number 68: Impulsivity. Screaming at someone can be a defense. Playing golf can be a defense. So can saving money. Or at least all of these activities may involve defenses. In this book, Blackman catalogues 101 defenses ¿ the most ever compiled ¿ with descriptions detailed enough for use by therapists in the assessment and treatment of psychopathology and practical enough for anyone interested in understanding how psychological defenses operate in everyday life.

Excerpt

Let's recap the definitions of defense and unpleasurable affect. Then we can go further in describing a host of properties and functions of defenses.

DEFINITIONS OF DEFENSES AND UNPLEASURABLE AFFECTS

Defenses are mental operations that remove components of unpleasurable affects from conscious awareness.

Unpleasurable affects include anxiety, depression, and anger. Anxiety is composed of an unpleasurable sensation plus a thought that something terrible is going to happen. Depressive affect is an unpleasurable sensation plus a thought that something terrible has already happened (C. Brenner, 1982a). Anger involves an unpleasurable sensation plus a thought of destroying someone or something (C. Brenner, personal communication, 1990). The thought content for each of these affects may derive from perceptions or memories from any developmental stage through the present, and may be reality based, fantasy based, or some admixture of the two.

TRIGGERS FOR DEFENSES

Normal or "Average-expectable" People (Hartmann, 1939)

In normal people (E. Jones, 1942), a very intense affect may threaten to melt down (or overwhelm) the mental functions of thinking, organizing, and concentrating. Freud (1926), more technically, called affects "traumatic" if they interfered with the ego functions of thinking, organizing, and concentrating (Hartmann, 1939).

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.