What Is a Mechanism of Defense?
We are all agreed on this point: the theory of defense is a cornerstone of psychodynamic thinking. The analytical literature on various aspects of this theory is vast. Yet, there are few surveys of the theory as a whole (cf. Sjöbäck, 1973), and we find conspicuous confusion and salient dissent in the discussion of even its basic assumptions. Here are three instances of confusion and/or dissent.
KeywordsDefense Mechanism Causal Chain Ontological Status Mental Content Elementary Particle Physic
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Bibring, G.L., Dwyer, T.F., Huntington, D.S., & Valenstein, A.F. (1961) A study of the psychological processes in pregnancy and of the earliest mother—child relationship. Appendix B. Glossary of defenses. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 16, 62–72.Google Scholar
- Blum, H.P. (1983) Splitting of the ego and its relation to parental loss. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Suppl., 31, 301–324.Google Scholar
- Dorpat, T.L. (1979) Is splitting a defense? International Review of Psychoanalysis, 6, 105–113.Google Scholar
- Dorpat, T.L. (1985) Denial and defense in the therapeutic situation. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
- Freud, A. (1970) The symptomatology of childhood: A preliminary attempt at classification. In The writings of Anna Freud: Vol. 7 (pp. 157–188 ). Madison, CT: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
- Freud, S. (1971) A disturbance of memory on the Acropolis. In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud: Vol. 22 (pp. 239–250 ). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1936 ).Google Scholar
- Freud, S. (1971) Analysis, terminable and interminable. In The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud: Vol. 23 (pp. 216–253 ). London: Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1937 ).Google Scholar
- Gill, M.M. (1963) Topography and systems in psychoanalytic theory. Psychological Issues, 3, Monogr. 2.Google Scholar
- Grotstein, J.S. (1981) Splitting and projective identification. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
- Holt, R.R. (1975) Drive or wish? A reconsideration of the psychoanalytic theory of motivation. In M.M. Gill and P.S. Holzman (Eds.), Psychology vs. metapsychology. Psychoanalytic essays in honour of G.S. Klein. Psychological Issues, 9, Monogr. 36, pp. 158–197.Google Scholar
- Moore, B.E. & Rubinfine, D.L. (1969) The mechanism of denial. Monograph Series of the Kris Study Group of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute: Vol. 3, pp. 3–57.Google Scholar
- Rapaport, D. (1960) The structure of psychoanalyze theory: A systematizing attempt. Psychological Issues, Monogr. 6.. International Universities Press.Google Scholar
- Sandler, J. (Ed.) (1988) Projection, identification, projective identification. London: Karnac Books.Google Scholar
- Sjöbäck, H. (1973) The psychoanalytic theory of defensive processes. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Wallerstein, R.S. (1983) Self psychology and “classical” psychoanalytic psychology: The nature of their relationship. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 6, 553–595.Google Scholar
- Wallerstein, R.S. (1985) Defenses, defense mechanisms, and the structure of the mind. In H.P. Blum (Ed.), Defense and resistance. Historical perspectives and current concepts (pp. 201–225 ). Madison, CT: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
- Wilson, D. (1983) Rutherford: Simple genius. London: Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar