Now, we're going to review some of the more common mature defense mechanisms.
Let's start with a quiz. Consider this example:
A 45-year-old wealthy woman anonymously donates her fortune to an area
homeless shelter and then spends her time there serving foods to the patrons.
She asks for nothing in return and does her work with pride and enthusiasm.
What do you think she is displaying as her defense?
Right, altruism. And how would you define altruism?
Well, it's performing acts that benefit others in order to vicariously experience pleasure
yourself. Let's take another example. Here, a 35-year-old man
begins an important job interview with a tasteful joke and he's got everyone laughing.
What do you think his defense is? That's right. It's humor.
And how would you define humor as a defense mechanism?
Well, it's expressing feelings through comedy without causing discomfort
to oneself or others. Here's another example:
A 55-year-old man desperately wanted to have children but never did.
Instead, he coaches his nephews soccer and basketball team. What's his defense?
It's sublimation, and we define sublimation as satisfying one's wishes
or impulses in an acceptable manner. Thus channeling them rather than
preventing them. Consider this one, a medical student broke up with his girlfriend
the night before a major exam. He doesn't cry or show any emotion
until after he studies after for and takes his exam.
What defense mechanism did he employ to help him deal with his emotions while studying?
What would you choose from this list? It's suppression.
And we define suppression as purposefully ignoring an unacceptable impulse
or emotion in order to diminish discomfort and accomplish a task.
That summarizes some of the more common mature defenses.
Now we all use defense mechanisms in everyday.
It's very important in psychiatry to identify which ones are useful to us
and which ones cause harm and perpetuate pathology.
Mature defense mechanisms are actually quite useful because they help us get by
in day to day life. And actually help to prevent discomfort and anxiety.
That summarizes the mature defenses.