defenses

Denial: The Danger in Rejecting Reality

“Denial was a weapon; it killed truth, numbed the mind, and I was a junkie.” – John Hart If you read the title and thought, “Oh, I don’t struggle with that,” then this post might be for you. In fact, one of Western society’s biggest problems is rooted in the defense mechanism theorized by psychoanalyst… Read more »

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3 Ways to Tell You’re Afraid of Intimacy

While most of us say we want love, pretty much all of us have some degree of fear around intimacy. The type and extent of this fear can vary based on our personal history: the attachment patterns we developed and the psychological defenses we formed to protect ourselves from early hurts. These patterns and defenses… Read more »

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How to Go “All In” in a Relationship (Without Losing Yourself)

As a therapist, I spend a good amount of time exploring the push and pull that occurs in relationships. For example, between couples, a lot of friction occurs when one person is wanting more closeness, while the other is seeking more space. With individuals, I observe many people who say they want love and intimacy,… Read more »

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Why It’s Important to Break Routines

Failing to examine or alter our habits can have a deadening effect on our lives. Having a routine isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can help you stay organized, be productive, or even, according to some researchers, find meaning. Certain studies have associated family routines with parenting competence and marital satisfaction. However, not all routines are created equal, and failing… Read more »

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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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Addiction Recovery: Why My Approach Is Trauma-Informed

It’s so hard to watch a loved one struggle with addiction. Whether it’s to using drugs, alcohol, food, pornography gaming, or something else, friends and family often feel helpless and hurt. We grieve losing connection with the person we care about. Why does addiction happen? What can friends or family do? I see addictive behavior… Read more »

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“You Need Psychotherapy”

Psychotherapy is a luxury that you deserve. When I was in my early 20s, I went into psychotherapy. At that point in my life, I had tried all of the things that were supposed to bring me happiness—college, marriage, moving to a different city—and I was getting more and more miserable. I wasn’t a mental mess; I wasn’t seriously… Read more »

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The Fantasy Bond in Couple Relationships

By the time they reach adulthood, most people have solidified their defenses and exist in a psychological equilibrium that they do not wish to disturb. Although they may be relatively congenial with more casual acquaintances, over time there is typically a noticeable deterioration in the quality of relating within their most intimate relationships. As a… 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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The Fantasy Bond or Primary Defense

This is the first in a series of blogs describing my theoretical approach known as Separation Theory. It represents an integration of psychoanalytic and existential systems of thought and describes how early interpersonal pain and separation anxiety and, later, death anxiety, lead to the formation of powerful psychological defenses. The primary defense is the fantasy… Read more »

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