Defence Mechanism PART I




Differentpeople experience different pain. Correspondingly, different peoplehave different strategies to deal with pain. These strategies areknown as defence mechanisms. However, some defence mechanisms arehealthy while others are unhealthy depending on the person using themor the circumstances at hand. Some of the defence mechanism includesdisplacement, sublimation, project reaction formation, regression,rationalisation, repression, denial, and intellectualisation.


Accordingto Freudian psychology, displacement is an unconscious defencemechanism. Here, a person’s mind substitutes either a new object ora new aim for a goal that was initially felt as unacceptable ordangerous. This mechanism operates with an unconscious mind,transference of emotions, wishes, and ideas that are used to allayanxiety (McLeod, 2008). In other words, displacement mechanisminvolves redirecting feelings, thoughts, and impulse that aredirected to a person and object to another person or object.Normally, people use this mechanism when they cannot express theirfeeling directly to the person in a safe manner. For instance, if aman is angry with the boss, he cannot express his feelings directlyto the boss. Alternatively, he may go home and start an argument withthe family members. In this way, the man is redirecting his feelingfrom the boss to the family members.


Sublimationis similar to displacement mechanism but its redirected feelings areconstructive rather than those of displacement that are destructive.According to psychologists, sublimation is the simply redirectingunacceptable impulses, emotions, and thoughts to be acceptable. Forinstance, humour can be used to redirect unacceptable feelings intolight-hearted jokes. In my case, when an angry with any member of thefamily, I opt to water the flowerbeds. In the end, no one is hurt.

ProjectReaction Formation

Projectreaction formation mechanism involves attributing one’sunacceptable feelings and thoughts to someone else who does notpossess these feeling and thoughts (McLeod, 2008). Commonly, thismechanism applies when feeling and thoughts are unacceptable toexpress. For example, if one has hatred feeling toward anotherperson, he or she can used projection mechanism to deal with thesituation. That is, the person tends to believe the other person alsohates him or her.


Regressionmechanism involves reverting from older to less mature way to dealwith stresses. For instance, an adolescent who is besieged with angerand fear may revert to childish behaviour such as bedwetting. Anadult may take a position of a child to deal with some problemsrather than deal with them in an adult way. For example, one of myfriends results to sucking a pen when faced with problems, which issimple and harmless strategy.


Rationalisationmechanism involves distorting the facts to make a situation lessthreatening. McLeod (2008) argues that rationalisation involvesjustifying one’s behaviour by substituting acceptable behavioursthat is, creating fake but convincing justifications. For instance,most of my classmate often blames their teachers for poor performancerather than their lack of preparation.


Repressionmechanism involves pushing unacceptable thoughts, impulse, andfeelings from the conscious to subconscious and unconscious. Forinstance, a person may choose to forget his or her childhood sexualabuse for the fear of trauma and anxiety. In addition, a person whohas insect phobia tends to forget first time he or she was afraid ofthem.


Indenial mechanism, a person fails to accept the fact that the painfulthought, event, and feeling do exist. According to McLeod (2008),denial mechanism is most primitive because of its early childhooddevelopment characteristics. Today, most people are adopting thismechanism to deal with painful situations in life. For instance,although smokers know that smoking is harmful to their health, theywill never admit smoking is a harmful habit.


Intellectualizationmechanism involves taking an objective viewpoint. In other words, itavoids unacceptable feelings and thoughts by focusing on theintellectual components. For instance, when a doctor diagnosis apatient with a terminal disease, a patient may focus on allsuccessful medical procedures rather than express their grief andsadness. In addition, the patient may ask about the success rate ofcertain drugs and the probability of survival.


Causesof Stress

Inlife, a human being is likely to face stress in one way or the other.According to McLeod (2008), stress is a reaction that triggers mentaland physical equilibrium. The instability of mental and physicalcomponent makes an individual to feels too much emotional or mentalpressure, which may turn to stress an individual do not deal with iteffectively. In life, there are many causes of stress, which are alsoknown as stressors. Stressors may fall under external or internalstressors, or even in both.


Thisincludes major life events and daily hassles. Psychiatrists havelisted about fifty stressors ranking the death of a spouse as themost stressful situation (McLeod, 2008). Other life events that causestress include death of a family member or a friend, health issuessuch as illness, injury, or unwanted pregnancy, physical change suchas change in working hours, vacating from one house to another,responsibility increase, money issues, family changes such as newbaby, marriage, separation, or divorce, self-abuse includingself-harm, drug abuse, or alcoholism. In addition, some of theday-to-day activities any also cause stress though they are nottremendous as the life events. Some of the daily hassles that maylead to stress include arguments, misplacing something, queuing, carbreakdown, time pressures, job dissatisfaction, and loneliness, amongothers.


Mostthink stress is because of external events, people, or situation.However, this is not always the cause. There are some internalfactors, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and attitudes may combinewith external factors to create stress. They include physical, work,psychological, family, social, and environmental stressors.

Effectsof Stress

Whena person is stressed, his or her body launches a response to dealwith the situation. It produces hormones that prepare the body tofight or take off. This response is known as “fight or flight”response. At that moment, an individual breathes faster, theheartbeat speed increases, muscles tense, and the person may evensweat. There are short and long-term effects of stress. Short-termeffects include fatigue, headache, irritability, and difficulties inconcentrating and sleeping, among others. Long-term effects of stressinclude depression, abnormal heartbeat, high blood pressure,hardening of the arteries, and weight gain or loss, among others.

Stressis an important topic in psychology. Its helps learners todifferentiate types of stress, as well as strategies used to dealwith it. In addition, psychologists learn to understand andappreciate people living with stress.


Schizophreniais a chronic and severe brain disorder. It affects how people think,feel and act. People suffering from Schizophrenia usually hallucinateand mostly have a negative mind. Although the main cause ofSchizophrenia is unknown, medics think it is caused by the gene,environment, and different brain chemistry. Schizophrenia can betreated with therapies that are accompanied with other medications.Although patients recover from Schizophrenia, there are higherchances of the symptom relapsing in the future. In psychology, thestudy of schizophrenia plays a significant role. It helps thepsychologists to deal with patients suffering from these disorders.In addition, it enables them to educate the patient’s family how tocope up with the situation.


McLeod,S. (2008). Defense Mechanisms | Simply Psychology. Retrieved April23, 2015, from