Defenses

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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Why Do So Many People Respond Negatively to Being Loved?

Love — kindness, affection, sensitive attunement, respect, companionship — is not only difficult to find, but is even more challenging for many people to accept and tolerate.  In my work with individuals and couples, I have observed countless examples of people reacting angrily when loving responses were directed toward them. One man felt a flash… Read more »

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Why Am I Still Single? 8 Reasons People Often Stay Single

Clearly, some people are single because they choose to be. They are simply not interested in being in a serious relationship at this time in their life. Others are single due to the circumstances of their lives. They may have just gotten out of a meaningful relationship or have dated relentlessly and just haven’t found… Read more »

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Stop Procrastinating

Most of us are aware of that voice in our heads that screams to us, “stop procrastinating!” And most of us know that the pressure and stress that this voice puts on us just makes us more intimidated and less likely to get anything done. Procrastination is a self-fueled cycle, and it is becoming an… Read more »

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