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Defence mechanisms

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

A series of subconscious mental processes - the individual is unaware that he is employing them, but may become aware of such motives through self-analysis or by having them pointed out to him. Mechanisms include:

  • Repression exclusion from awareness of memories,emotions that would cause distress/anxiety if allowed to enter consciousness.

  • Denial the patient behaves as though unaware of something that he might reasonably be expected to know.

  • Regression the unconscious adoption of patterns of behaviour appropriate to an earlier stage of development.

  • Projection the unconscious attribution to another person of one's own thoughts or feelings.

  • Reaction the unconscious adoption of behaviour formation opposite to that which reflect the persons true feelings and intentions.

  • Displace- involves the transferring of emotion from a -ment situation or object with which it is properly associated to another that gives less distress.

  • Rationalisation

  • Sublimation unconscious diversion of unacceptable outlets into acceptable outlets.

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