Defense Mechanism

Student cheats on a
test, the teacher see
him doing it but
when asked about it
he denies it
happened. High
school students are
excepts at denial.
Umbrella to which all the
defense mechanism exist.
Denial, in ordinary English usage, is
asserting that a statement or
allegation is not true.[1]
psychological defense mechanism by
Sigmund Freud, in which a person is
faced with a fact that is too
uncomfortable to accept and rejects
it instead, insisting that it is not true
despite what may be overwhelming
The subject may use:
simple denial: deny the reality of
the unpleasant fact altogether
Example: A high
schooler get a failing
grade on the Maslow
test. However when
asked why they fail, the
student says it is because
the teacher hates her.
Instead of taking
responsibility for the
reality they didn’t
attend class and didn’t
study the content.
The defense mechanism
that occurs when the
ego does not accept the
real motive for the
individual’s behavior
and replaces it with a
cover motive.
A child was sexually
molested from the
age of 5-9 by her 1st
uncle, but she does
not remember the
event happening to
her. She does not
like to talk about
abuse, but doesn’t
think it pertains to
Works to push an
unacceptable ID
impulses and traumatic
memories out of the
Rationalization is the
foundation from which
all other defense
mechanisms work.
Example: A
parents has a
verbally abusive
boss at work and
doesn’t defend
themselves, but
when they get
home they yell
and spank their
Occurs when an individual
shitfs and unacceptable
feeling from one object to
another more acceptable one.
In Freudian psychology,
displacement an unconscious
defense mechanism whereby
the mind redirects effects
from an object felt to be
dangerous or unacceptable to
an object felt to be safe or
*Example, a person
extreme anger might
take up kick-boxing
as a means of
venting frustration
*Jack and Jill
Occurs when the ego replaces
an unacceptable impulse with
a socially approved course of
Sublimation is a defense
mechanism that allows us to
act out unacceptable
impulses by converting these
behaviors into a more
acceptable form. Freud
believed that sublimation
was a sign of maturity that
allows people to function
normally in socially
acceptable ways
If you have a strong
dislike for someone, you
might instead believe
that he or she does not
like you.
You have a tardy
problem and you are
upset when you are
meeting someone and
they are late.
Occurs when we attribute our
own shortcomings or
problem to the fault of others.
We can’t face how our own
unwanted feelings so we
project them onto others as
undesirable traits.
Projection works by allowing
the expression of the desire
or impulse, but in a way that
the ego cannot recognize,
therefore reducing anxiety
Reaction Formation
An example of reaction
formation would be
treating someone you
strongly dislike in an
excessively friendly
manner in order to hide
your true feelings.
You try out for the
basketball team
anddon’t make it but
say you didn’t want to
be on that team anyway.
Occurs when we
express an
impulse by
transforming into the
reduces anxiety by
taking up the
An individual fixated at
an earlier developmental
stage might cry or sulk
upon hearing unpleasant
An individual get into
the fetal position when
they see a scary movie.
Occurs when we behave in a
way characteristic of a
previous developmental
When confronted by stressful
events, people sometimes
abandon coping strategies
and revert to patterns of
behavior used earlier in
Final Thoughts:
mechanisms are
unconscious coping
mechanisms that
reduce anxiety
generated by threats
from unacceptable
mechanisms are
sometimes confused
with coping
Defense mechanisms are
psychological strategies brought
into play by the unconscious
mind[1] to manipulate, deny, or
distort reality.
Healthy persons normally use
different defenses throughout
An ego defense mechanism
becomes pathological only
when its persistent use leads to
maladaptive behavior such that
the physical and/or mental
health of the individual is
adversely affected.

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