psychological defenses

The Destructive Ways We Self-Parent as Adults

The relationship we have with our parents or primary caretakers is almost never black or white. Some of us may be more inclined to idealize our parents, while others may feel especially zoomed in on their shortcomings. Most of us are guilty of both. As adults, we’re often better able to see that our parents… Read more »

Learn More

Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

Many people struggle with reconciling what they think they want with what they go about getting. What I mean by that is, they don’t fully understand how and why they get in their own way when it comes to their goals. To a certain degree, many of us don’t actually want we say we want…. Read more »

Learn More

Staying in Love While Staying Yourself

A lot of couples talk to me about their struggles to stay close to each other in a way that feels vital and intimate. At the same time, they may also complain about a feeling of sacrifice or a way they’re having to compromise and give up certain aspects of themselves to be in the… Read more »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More

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 »

Learn More