Defense Mechanisms.docx

Secondary repression begins once the child realizes

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Secondary Repression begins once the child realizes that acting on some desires may  evoke anxiety. For example, the child who desires the mother's breast may be denied  and feel threatened with  punishment , perhaps by the father. This anxiety leads to  repression of the desire for the mother's breast. The threat of punishment related to this  form of anxiety when internalized becomes the "superego," which intercedes against the desires of the "ego" without the need for any identifiable external threat. Abnormal repression, or complex,  neurotic  behavior involving repression and the  superego, occur when repression develops or continues to develop due to the  internalized feelings of anxiety, in ways leading to behavior that is illogical, self- destructive, or anti-social. A psychotherapist may try to reduce this behavior by  revealing and re-introducing the repressed aspects of the patient's mental process to his conscious awareness, and then teaching the patient how to reduce any anxieties felt in  relation to these feelings and impulses. Suppression generally has more positive results than does repression. First of all, it  deals with unpleasant but not totally despicable actions or thoughts. It actually may be  even useful and rational to focus on one thing at a time, suppressing other problems  until that one is solved. Counting to ten when angry—prior to taking action—is not only  an example of suppression, it is also a technique very useful in everyday life. The problem with repression is that whatever we are trying to push away into the  subconscious is not lost. The subconscious tends to empower it, and the more one tries to repress something, the more powerful and attractive it becomes. Finally, the  repressed desire starts to manifest itself in actions, often in ways not noticeable to the  person repressing it, but noticeable to others. Sublimation Sublimation is the refocusing of psychic energy (which  Sigmund Freud  believed was  limited) away from negative outlets to more positive outlets. In Freud's theory, erotic  energy, or  libido , is only allowed limited expression due to repression, and much of the  remainder of a given group's erotic energy is used to develop its  culture  and  civilization Sublimation, therefore, is the process of transforming libido into "socially useful"  achievements, re-channeling drives which cannot find an outlet into acceptable forms of expression, such as art. Freud considered this defense mechanism the most productive, and psychoanalysts  have continued to refer to sublimation as the only truly successful defense mechanism.
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