Lives of the Unconscious

Lives of the Unconscious

Podcast on Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Episode 17: Repression, Rationalization, Sublimation – The “mature” defense mechanisms.

Lives of the Unconscious

Over the course of a therapeutic session, a depressed patient talks about his work colleagues with whom he is working on a group project for his studies. The patient says: “Yesterday we wanted to meet to discuss our project and everyone brought their work. As we were exchanging ideas, I noticed that everyone else was already much further along with their work than me. I have the feeling that they are all much faster in thinking and have more energy and…,” the patient takes a short break and then says: “Well, but that’s just the way it is, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. There is nothing that can done about it…”
What is the defense here? And is it really functional? We will hear more about these and other forms of so-called “mature” defense mechanisms in this episode.

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Literature Recommendations:

  • Freud, A. (1936/1994). The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence. London: Routledge.
  • Freud, S. (1896). Further remarks on the neuropsychoses of defence. Standard Edition (Vol. 3, pp. 162–185). London: Hogarth.
  • Freud, S. (1915). Repression. Standard Edition (Vol. 14, pp. 141–158). London: Hogarth.
  • Bornstein, M. (2013). Dissociation and repression: a clinical study. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 33(5), 439–448.
  • Cohen, J., & Kinston, W. (1984). Repression theory: A new look at the cornerstone. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 65, 411–422.
  • Vaillant, G. E., Bond, M., & Vaillant, C. O. (1986). An empirically validated hierarchy of defence mechanisms. Archives of General Psychiatry, 73, 786–794.

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