Protective mechanisms of personality

Being the concept of psychology, protective mechanismspersonalities are unconscious mental processes aimed at reducing negative experiences, and underlie the development of resistance.

This concept was first introduced by Z. Freud. They were so called techniques that use one of the personality structures to control the desires that can lead to emotional experiences and anxiety. Then it was about efforts that require a lot of energy and effort to protect their inner world.

The personal protective mechanisms were laterdeveloped by A. Freud. She described the complexity and variety of these processes and proved that protection is directed against everything that brings emotions, pain, anxiety and causes the appearance of stress, and at different ages a person uses different psychological defensive techniques.

Thus, a catalog of defenses was developed with their detailed description, which have the ability to maintain the psyche of a person in the norm. Let's consider this list in detail.

1. Negation is a mechanism by which the past negative experiences that bring suffering, as well as the impulses and sides of the character of the subject, are negated. Thus the person does not perceive any information which contradicts its installations.

2. Repression or suppression - the protective mechanisms of the personality, through which negative experience is blocked by forgetting its stimulus and all related objects. Thus, unwanted aspirations, drives and desires are eliminated from consciousness. However, they all show up over time in phobias and fears, so this technique is the least effective.

3. Projection is a mechanism by which negative qualities, thoughts and feelings are attributed to surrounding people, which is the basis for their rejection. Against this background, selfishness, self-esteem, hostility, isolation and other negative qualities develop.

4. Regression is a mechanism for avoiding anxiety by returning to early immature forms of behavior.

5. Substitution or displaced aggression are mechanisms of psychological defense of the individual, with the help of which tension is removed by transferring aggression from the source of anger to a more accessible and weak object or to oneself.

6. Rationalization is a mechanism for irrational interpretation by the subject of one's own actions and aspirations, which are caused by those reasons whose recognition threatens loss of self-esteem. A person in frequent cases explains his failures not by his own impotence, but by the influence of external circumstances or the bad attitude of other people towards himself.

7. Intellectualization - a mechanism of protection, through which the change of feelings is performed by logic with the aim to achieve complete control over the situation.

8. Compensation is a mechanism for replacing an object that causes negative feelings and experiences, as well as feelings of loss through fantasy or appropriation of others' own virtues, character traits or behavior.

There are such psychological defenses of personality,as reactive formations, which are often identified with hypercompensation. In this case, a person prevents the expression of unpleasant or negative thoughts through the development of the opposite. For example, pity can be a reactive formation of unconscious cruelty.

Psychological protective mechanisms of personalityare investigated using a questionnaire test that was developed by R. Plutchik, G. Kellerman, and H.R. Comte. This technique makes it possible to assess the use of human eight protective techniques, which are recognized as basic (described above).

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