Defense Mechanisms in Psychodynamic Theory
Date: Tuesday, November 22 @ 00:05:27 IST
Topic: Psychiatry


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Commonly used defense mechanisms:

1. Repression
- Unconsciously expelling the anxiety provoking ideas or feeling from conscious awareness
Eg. Forgetting, Slips of tongues
Clinical Illustration : Psychogenic Amnesia

2. Regression
- Reversion to Childhood’s psychological functioning
Eg. Playful childlike activities
Clinical Illustration : Neuroses, Psychoses

3. Denial
- Involuntary exclusion of unpleasant & painful reality from conscious awareness
Eg. Grief 3 – 6 years olds
Clinical Illustration : Psychoses, Terminal Illness

4. Conversion
- Repressed forbidden urge is simultaneously kept out of awareness & also expressed in disguised or symbolic form of Somatic Disturbance (Mostly sensory & Motor)
E.g. During Catastrophic stress
it always implies a psychopathology
Clinical Illustration : Hysteria (Conversion Disorder)

5. Dissociation
- Involuntary splitting of mental function from rest of the personality & allowing the forbidden impulses to express out without having any sense of responsibility for actions
Eg. Near Death Experience
Clinical Illustration : Fugue, Amnesia, Mulitiple Personality, Possesion Syndrome, Somnabulism, Dissociative Disorder.

6. Displacement
- Unconcious shifting of emotions aroused out of threatening external object.
Eg. Deflection of anger on a substitute target.
Clinical Illustration : Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

7. Rationalization
- Providing Logical explanations for irrational behaviour motivated by unacceptable unconscious wishes.
Eg. a universal phenomenon
Clinical Illustration : Usually used to explain behaviours resulting from other defense mechanisms.

8. Projection
- Unconscious attributions of one’s own attitudes and urges to other person.
Eg. A universal phenomenon
Clinical Illustration : Persecutory delusions and Hallucinations

9. Fixation
- Attaching oneself in an unreasonable or exaggerated way to some person or arresting emotional development.
Eg. A bacholor middle aged still depends on his mother to provide basic needs.

10. Hypochondriasis
- Unconscious transformation of unacceptable impulses into inappropriate somatic concern
Eg. Abnormal Illness Behaviour in Physically Disordered or Normal Individuals
Clinical Illustration : Hypochondriasis
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©2005 DR.M.RAJARAM




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