psychological 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 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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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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Withholding: A Personal Story

To Withhold Verb: 1.  Refuse to give (something that is due to or desired by another)            2.  Suppress or hold back (an emotion or reaction)   Are you sometimes aware of holding yourself back from being fully engaged in the experience of the moment?  Do you find yourself avoiding activities that bring you pleasure… Read more »

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Why It Is Good For You to Feel Negative Emotions

How can we best deal with our day-to-day emotional reactions? What can we do when our partner lets us down, when we have a struggle with our child, or when we feel provoked by a friend? Oddly enough, the first piece of advice is to stay with the pain. It turns out we expend much… Read more »

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On Being Vulnerable: Part I

[This blog contains excerpts from an interview with Dr. Robert Firestone by Fred Branfman, political activist and author of Voices from the Plain of Jars] Vulnerable: “A weak position, defenseless, helpless, exposed, at risk, in danger” Fred Branfman: In our culture the idea of being vulnerable is associated with being fearful, anxious, and weak. For… Read more »

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