Defense Mechanisms

What are Defense Mechanisms

Sigmund Freud was the first psychologist to categorize and describe defense mechanisms.  They may defined as behaviors that a person uses in response to frustration or conflict.  They are protective measures to shelter the person’s threatened self-esteem.  Defense mechanisms keep people from getting over anxious.  They are unconscious responses; we are usually not aware of using them and do not deliberately choose to use them for protection.

Defense mechanisms work by reducing anxiety using methods that deny, falsify or distort reality.  They are indirect and sometimes self-defeating ways of coping with problems, even when used with good intentions.

The most popular types of defense mechanisms :

  • repression, suppression, reaction formation
  • compensation, overcompensation, sublimation
  • projection, introjection, identification
  • procrastination
  • displaced aggression
  • rationalization
  • regression

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