Defenses

Defense Mechanisms

“When children are faced with pain and anxiety in their developmental years, they develop defense mechanisms to cut off that pain. But the tragedy is that in cutting off the pain, you also cut deeply into their lives, so that defenses that were basically survival-oriented psychologically also serve as terrible limitations to the self.” ~… Read more »

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The Origin of Polarization, Prejudice, and Warfare

One of the most significant contributions of my theoretical approach, Separation Theory, is that it offers an understanding of the core dynamics underlying human aggression. It explains how people’s defensive nature and dependency on fantasy bonds polarize them against others with different customs and beliefs. In a similar vein, Schneider’s (2013) concept of “psychological polarization” describes the elevation of one… Read more »

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6 Major Influences that Stop You from Becoming Your True Self

To be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best, day and night, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~ e.e. cummings Each individual faces a struggle against powerful odds to retain a unique selfhood and personal… Read more »

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Societal Defenses Against Death Anxiety

Faced with the painful awareness of death’s finality, individuals try to recreate a parent or parents in other people, groups, or institutions, or they search for a personal savior on earth or in the heavens. Just as the imagined merger with one’s family once provided its members with an illusion of immortality, group identification offers… Read more »

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It’s Not Your Fault: Overcoming Trauma

There is a famous scene in the film Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams, playing a therapist, compassionately repeats the line “It’s not your fault” to Will, a troubled young man with self-destructive tendencies, who happens to be a genius. The line is a response to the revelation of abuse Will endured as a child…. Read more »

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The Voice (The Enemy Within)

Discover the negative thoughts and attitudes at the core of a person’s maladaptation. The voice consists of a series of negative thoughts and attitudes toward oneself and others that is at the core of a person’s maladaptation. It can be conceptualized as the language of the defense system. The voice is not restricted to thoughts,… Read more »

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The Paradox of Psychological Defenses

Should we contend with painful realities or avoid them? Although psychological defenses offer a degree of comfort and a form of security, they also predispose distortion and maladaptation in adult life. Yet varying degrees of defense formation are a virtual necessity for the developing child. All children experience a certain amount of emotional pain and… Read more »

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You Don’t Really Want to Get Better

Of course psychotherapy clients want relief from their symptoms, depression, anxiety, and other painful emotions. But at the same time, they don’t want to change the fundamental defenses that would then allow them to develop and overcome their psychological maladies. Most people fear a basic change in their identity, be it positive or negative. From an early age, children form a powerful bond… Read more »

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The Simple Truth about Anger

Feeling angry is a universal human phenomenon. It is as basic as feeling hungry, lonely, loving, or tired. -Theodore Rubin “A thought murder a day keeps the doctor away.”  What this quote emphasizes is that feeling one’s angry thoughts is a healthy manifestation, whereas the denial or suppression of angry feelings has a pathological effect…. Read more »

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VIDEO: Dr. James Garbarino Talks about Resilience, Hardiness, and Compassion Toward the Human Experience

Watch an excerpt from PsychAlive’s exclusive interview with Dr. James Garbarino. Dr. James Garbarino talks about how hardiness impacts an individual’s resilience. Well, I think, as I see it, there is resilience, which is a sort of description of a situation that a person has faced adversity and has been able to recover from it. … Read more »

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