Thursday, September 14, 2006

Theories and Methods - Defense Mechanisms

This list is not comprehensive but instead offers an overview of the most common defense mechanisms.

Repression – is the most basic of all defense mechanisms, repression occurs when the drives of the id are forced into the unconscious and denied by the individual

Regression – occurs when a person retreats to a safer earlier stage of development

Projection – happens when a person attributes their own unacceptable needs and drives onto another person.

Reaction Formation – occurs when a person avoids a particular instinct by expressing its opposite.

Displacement – is the transfer of an instinctual drive from one target to a less threatening target.

Sublimation – is the acting out of a socially acceptable behavior as a direct reaction to the drive to do something unacceptable

Denial – is the admission of socially unacceptable impulses joined with the inability to attribute them to oneself

Introjection – is the ascribing of another’s thoughts and behaviors to the self in order to better control one’s own thoughts and behaviors.

Rationalization – is the interpretation of behaviors in a manner that makes them appear more rational or logical

Fixation – is the arresting of libidinal energy in an unresolved conflict

Undoing – is the repetition of a behavior in order to undo the effects of a past action.


jaxmumm said...

I found a pretty complete listing of defense mech at

Anonymous said...

I took one of the exams on ATTBS and the rational explained that Introjection is the most primitive/basic defense mechanism which occurs in the infant stage. Then projection followed by Repression which can occur in the Phallic stage.