Other Defenses

by Helen Farrell, MD

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    00:01 We're going to now look at some other defense mechanisms that could be categorized as neurotic or immature.

    00:08 The main point is that these are also fairly destructive defenses that people use.

    00:15 As a first example, let's consider this case. A woman tells her new psychiatrist that he's the best ever, that her last one was just terrible.

    00:27 What defense do you think she's using? Splitting, absolutely.

    00:34 And splitting is when a patient labels someone is all good or all bad.

    00:39 They don't see any shades of gray in the middle, it's all or none with these people.

    00:44 We often see splitting in borderline personality disorder.

    00:50 So keep that in mind that's a big tip when you see splitting as a defense, that you could be encountering a patient who has a significant personality disorder.

    01:00 Here's another example, a student considers sabotaging his peers grades so he can be at the top of his class. But instead, he shares his notes with his classmates to help them study. What defense do you think he's using? Absolutely, undoing. So this man is attempting to reverse a situation by adopting a completely new behavior. And here's the case of a woman.

    01:31 So instead of leaving her home and taking chances with peers, this woman stays at home and fantasizes about having friends.

    01:40 What defense is she using? Absolutely, fantasy.

    01:46 So this is an autistic retreat involving the creation of imaginary lives to avoid conflict and obtain gratification. The trouble is, someone like this doesn't form peer relationships and they can later end up a very lonely, causing any number of problems whether it would be depression or anxieties.

    02:07 Consider this example. When trying to recall a horrific car accident, a man tends to zone out. What defense is he using? Dissociation.

    02:23 Yes. So this is a person who has a temporary and a drastic replacement of an unpleasant mood state or current personal identity with a more pleasant or neutral mood state, or it's an alteration in one's self of personal identity.

    02:41 And we often see dissociation in people who have gone through a significant trauma.

    02:46 Here's another example to think about. A woman is meeting friends at 10 o'clock.

    02:53 When they're only about five minutes late, she leaves without checking on them.

    02:58 And then hours later calls them to say that she had been waiting and is really upset that they did not show. What defense do you think she is using? Passive aggressiveness. And how would you define that? Well, It's aggression towards others, and it's expressed through passivity, masochism, and sometimes anger towards one self.

    03:24 Those are a few other defense mechanisms to keep in mind.

    03:29 And the important thing about defenses, is again to note that they are unconscious.

    03:34 There are things that we all use from time to time, whether they're mature, neurotic, or immature though, helps us understand our patients better in how they deal with their external world, and can give us some clues in terms of their pathology.

    03:50 Thank you.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Other Defenses by Helen Farrell, MD is from the course Personality Disorders.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Splitting
    2. Undoing
    3. Acting out
    4. Passive aggression
    5. Dissociation
    1. Attempting to reverse a situation by adopting a new behavior
    2. Labelling people as all good or all bad
    3. An autistic retreat involving the creation of imaginary lives to avoid conflict and obtain gratification
    4. Temporary change in personality and behavior to avoid emotional situations
    5. Expressing unacceptable thoughts and feelings through actions
    1. Dissociation
    2. Realization
    3. Passive aggression
    4. Displacement
    5. Splitting

    Author of lecture Other Defenses

     Helen Farrell, MD

    Helen Farrell, MD

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