The Concept of Defense Mechanisms in Contemporary Psychology

Theoretical, Research, and Clinical Perspectives

  • Uwe Hentschel
  • Gudmund J. W. Smith
  • Wolfram Ehlers
  • Juris G. Draguns

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvii
  2. General Issues

  3. Methodological Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Uwe Hentschel, Wolfram Ehlers, Rainer Peter
      Pages 53-86
    3. Gudmund J. W. Smith, Uwe Hentschel
      Pages 101-121
    4. J. Christopher Perry, Marianne E. Kardos, Christopher J. Pagano
      Pages 122-132
  4. Personality and Applied Psychology

  5. Clinical Assessment and Psychotherapeutic Interventions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 251-251
    2. Hope R. Conte, Robert Plutchik
      Pages 275-289
    3. Gerhard Reister, Rolf Manz, Roland Fellhauer, Wolfgang Tress
      Pages 290-295
    4. Uwe Hentschel, Manfred Kießling, Heidi Teubner-Berg, Herbert Dreier
      Pages 321-338
    5. Christina Schwilk, Daniela Aeschelmann, Horst Kächele, Claudia Simons, Renate Arnold
      Pages 360-370
  6. Psychosomatics

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 425-439

About this book


What is the scientific status and the "truth value" of the concept of defense mechanisms? Among contemporary psychologists, three types of answers to this question may be expected. Some would wholeheartedly endorse the theoretical, clinical, and research value of this notion; others would reject it outright. Between these two extremes, a large number of observers, perhaps the majority, would suspend their judgment. Their attitude, compounded of hope and doubt, would capitalize on defense as an interesting and promising concept. At the same time, these psy­ chologists would express skepticism and disappointment over its clinical limitations, theoretical ambiguity, and research failures. The present volume is primarily addressed to the audience of hopeful skeptics-those who have not given up on the notion of defense, yet have been frustrated by the difficulties of incorporating it into the modern, streamlined structure of psychology. To this end, we have brought together theoretical and empirical contributions germane to defense together with reports about their applications to clinical and personality assessment, especially in relation to psychopathology, psychosomatics, and psycho­ therapeutic intervention.


Containing Evaluation Exploration Klinische Psychologie Psychotherapeut assessment attention diagnosis emotion interaction intervention personality psychoanalysis psychology stress

Editors and affiliations

  • Uwe Hentschel
    • 1
  • Gudmund J. W. Smith
    • 2
  • Wolfram Ehlers
    • 3
  • Juris G. Draguns
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Personality PsychologyUniversity of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LundLundSweden
  3. 3.Center for Psychotherapy ResearchStuttgart 70Germany
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Bibliographic information