Mega Chart: Defense Mechanisms



Attribute feelings/thoughts onto someone else
I don’t like a boy named Mike, and I say “I know that dude hates me, I know it”
Avoid becoming aware of painful   reality
Dr: “Mrs. V. you have cancer”
Mrs. V: “No way, Jose”
All good or all bad. Black or white, no grays
“The nurses from the day shift are terrific. The ones from the night shift suck”

Temporary inability to remember
“I don’t remember his name! It’s   on the tip of my tongue!”
Return to earlier stage of development
“My 7 year old is wetting the bed   again, since he found out he’s having a sister”
Psych problems become physical
“I had a terrible headache during the exam”
Unconscious imitation
“The resident acts & dresses like the attending he admires the most”


Emotion or drive shifted to another person
“My dad was angry with my mother, and started yelling my baby sister”
Bad idea or feeling eliminated from consciousness. Forget& forget.
“The child was abused by his father, but he doesn’t recall any of that”
Isolation of affect
Reality accepted w/o emotional response
“The father of the victim identified his body. He didn’t show any kind of emotion”
Use of intellectual process to avoid affective expression
“All the methods used to get to this dx (end stage cancer) are really interesting”
Acting out
Emotional outburst. Covers up reality
“Temper tantrums”
Excuses, excuses. Rational explanations to justify ones behavior
“I didn’t pass the exam cause it was way more difficult than other years”
Reaction formation
Unacceptable impulse  transformed in its opposite
“Pyromaniac becomes a firefighter”
The action of “reaction formation”. Acting out the reverse of the unacceptable beh.
“Pyromaniac putting down fire”
Unconscious passive hostility
“She agreed to share her notes with me, but after class she went straight home”
Separates from ones experience, like outer body experience
“When woman was being raped, she felt like she was watching it from above”

Expression of feelings/thoughts w/o discomfort
“I’m gonna die foreveralone hahaha”
Unacceptable impulse into acceptable channel. Healthiest of mechanisms
“Pyromaniac starts working in a special effect company in Hollywood, where he can blow things up”
Conscious forgetting (the only conscious mechanism). Forget & Remember
“I’d rather forget that my dog was ran over by a car”

Similar but different
*Displacement & Acting out
·         Displacement: emotion is redirected.
·         Acting out: emotion is covered up.
*Reaction formation &Sublimation
·         Reaction formation: you find a way to stop what you consider unacceptable, by doing the exact opposite.
·         Sublimation: you find a way to do what you consider unacceptable, by making it acceptable.
*Repression & Suppression
·         Repression: not aware of mechanism, unconscious forgetting.
·         Suppression: aware of mechanism, conscious forgetting.

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item Mega Chart: Defense Mechanisms
Mega Chart: Defense Mechanisms
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