General Structure of Psychological Defense

Whilst the primary defense mechanism of alcoholics is denial therapists may observe other psychological defenses such as those listed below.

Although abnormalities in the development of the functioning of ego defenses or defense mechanisms may have a fundamental relationship to the causes of various forms of psychopathology, defenses are not of themselves pathological. They may serve an essential function in maintaining healthy psychological well-being.

Primitive Defenses

These defenses range in severity from a psychotic level of functioning to borderline psychological functioning.

  • Denial
  • Distortion
  • Projection

Neurotic Defenses

  • Controlling
  • Displacement
  • Dissociation
  • Intellectualization
  • Isolation
  • Rationalization
  • Reaction Formation
  • Repression
  • Sexualization

Immature Defenses

  • Acting Out
  • Blocking
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Introjection
  • Regression

Mature Defenses

  • Altruism
  • Anticipation
  • Humor
  • Sublimation
  • Suppression

Recovery from alcoholism will see the alcoholic modify or discard the less productive defenses.

Any good psychology text or an Internet search will provide an overview and examples of these – see Amazon book below.

 

             Ego Mechanism Of Defense: A GUIDE FOR CLINICIANS AND RESEARCHERS
by GEORGE, ED. VAILLANT

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