- defense mechanism
1. Physiol. the defensive reaction of an organism, as against a pathogenic microorganism.2. Psychol. an unconscious process, as denial, that protects an individual from unacceptable or painful ideas or impulses.[1890-95]
* * *In psychoanalytic theory, an often unconscious mental process (such as repression) that makes possible compromise solutions to personal problems or conflicts.The compromise generally involves concealing from oneself internal drives or feelings that threaten to lower self-esteem or provoke anxiety. The term was first used by Sigmund Freud in 1894. The major defense mechanisms are repression, the process by which unacceptable desires or impulses are excluded from consciousness; reaction formation, a mental or emotional response that represents the opposite of what one really feels; projection, the attribution of one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes (especially blame, guilt, or sense of responsibility) to others; regression, reversion to an earlier mental or behavioral level; denial, the refusal to accept the existence of a painful fact; rationalization, the substitution of rational and creditable motives for the true (but threatening) ones; and sublimation, the diversion of an instinctual desire or impulse from its primitive form to a more socially or culturally acceptable form. See also ego; neurosis; psychoanalysis.
* * *▪ human psychologyin psychoanalytic theory, any of a group of mental processes that enables the mind to reach compromise solutions to conflicts that it is unable to resolve. The process is usually unconscious, and the compromise generally involves concealing from oneself internal drives or feelings that threaten to lower self-esteem or provoke anxiety. The concept derives from the psychoanalytic hypothesis that there are forces in the mind that oppose and battle against each other. The term was first used in Sigmund Freud's paper The Neuro-Psychoses of Defence (1894).Some of the major defense mechanisms described by psychoanalysts are the following:●1. Repression is the withdrawal from consciousness of an unwanted idea, affect, or desire by pushing it down, or repressing it, into the unconscious part of the mind. An example may be found in a case of hysterical amnesia, in which the victim has performed or witnessed some disturbing act and then completely forgotten the act itself and the circumstances surrounding it.[m211]