Defense Mechanisms in Mental Health

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Defense mechanisms in mental health

1. Rationalization

Rationalization is something that every human being does, probably on a daily basis. Rationalization is defined as “Creating false but plausible excuses to justify unacceptable behavior.” An example of this would be a student stealing money from a wealthy friend of his, telling himself “Well he is rich, he can afford to lose it.” 2. Identification

Identification is defined as “Bolstering self-esteem by forming an imaginary or real alliance with some person or group.” This is a fairly common method of attempting to forget about ones troubles, happens fairly often, especially in insecure people. A person joining a sports team, fraternity, social clique or even subcultures are all examples of this. 3. Displacement

Displacement is defined as “Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target.” This frequently occurs in families, where we often see the father getting mad at the mother. The mother then takes her anger out on her son, the son in turn yells at his little sister, the little sister kicks the dog, and the dog bites the cat. Another example would obviously be a boxer taking out his frustration on a punching bag or an opponent. 4. Projection

Projection is defined as “Attributing one’s own thoughts, feelings, or motives to another.” This characteristic is not uncommon, and we have probably all witnessed it. An angry man might accuse others of being hostile and antagonistic. Another example might be a con-artist might be under the impression that everyone else is trying to con him or her.

5. Regression

Regression is defined as “A reversion to immature patterns of behavior.” There are plenty of examples of this (and we all know a couple we are guilty of). One of the more obvious examples might be a teenager not allowed to go on a trip for spring break, so he or she might throw a temper tantrum and scream and cry at his or her parents....
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