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Advantages and disadvantages of defense mechanisms:

1. What defense mechanisms have you noticed in the people around you?

2. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of these defense mechanisms?

Summary table of Defense Mechanisms:

Denial Refusing to acknowledge a painful or threatening reality: Ray, who is told that he has terminal cancer, believes instead that he simply has bronchitis.

Repression Excluding uncomfortable thoughts from consciousness: Lisa, who was once caught shoplifting when she was in high school, has no recollection of the embarrassing event.

Projection Attributing one's own repressed motives, feelings, or wishes to others: Marilyn is unfairly passed over for a promotion; she denies that she is angry about this, but is certain that her supervisor is angry with her.

Identification Taking on the characteristics of someone else to avoid feeling incompetent: Anthony, uncertain of his own attractiveness, takes on the dress and mannerisms of a popular teacher.

Regression Reverting to childlike behavior and defenses: Angry because his plan to reorganize his division has been rejected, Bob throws a tantrum.

Intellectualization Thinking abstractly about stressful problems as a way of detaching oneself from them: After learning that she has not been asked to a classmate's costume party, Tina coolly discusses the ways in which social cliques form and how they serve to regulate and control school life.

Reaction formation Expression of exaggerated ideas and emotions that are the opposite of one's repressed beliefs or feelings: At work, Michael loudly professes that he would never take advantage of a rival employee, though his behavior indicates quite the opposite.

Displacement Shifting repressed motives from an original object to a substitute object: Angry at his instructor's unreasonable request that he rewrite his term paper, but afraid to confront his instructor, Nelson comes home and yells at his house mates for telling him what to do.

Sublimation Redirecting repressed motives and feelings into more socially acceptable channels: The child of parents who never paid attention to him, Bill is running for public office.

Solution Preview

1.Denial Refusing to acknowledge a painful or threatening reality: Ray, who is told that he has terminal cancer, believes instead that he simply has bronchitis.

The defense mechanism of denial is advantageous as it assists individuals in concealing their failures, which they are not prepared to admit in front of others. This mechanism is particularly used by adults to a great extent as they are not always prepared to admit failures frankly in front of others in their daily life. Denial helps to postpone facing a problem caused due to failure in our life. But, such individuals will not be aware of the fact that one cannot conceal such issues as failure for a long period from the eyes of others. The behavior of an individual changes due to the fact of concealing failures from others. Such individuals develop behavioral problems in the long run.

The disadvantages of denial is that, it affects the overall personality of an individual when it is used quiet often in day-to-day life to postpone facing the problems which might arise at any point of time. It makes others feel that the person using denial as a defense mechanism is a liar and lies quiet often. It also brings down the ability of a person to accept and face failures which are a part and parcel of daily life. Such a person may turn out to be a timid person. Such individuals become introverts in the long run and try to avoid interacting with others in the society for the fear of their failures being revealed in front of others. Such a defense mechanism is sure to ruin not only the mental health of an individual, but also takes a toll on his physical health and changes his overall personality in the years to come.

2. Repression Excluding uncomfortable thoughts from consciousness: Lisa, who was once caught shoplifting when she was in high school, has no recollection of the embarrassing event.

The advantage of repression is that it is a form of motivated forgetting. It enables an individual to forget the sad and painful experiences in order to escape from mental conflicts and troubles. Here, such experiences are unconsciously and automatically excluded form the conscious thought process. The ego drags the impulses which conflict with social norms and taboos into ones unconscious. Thus, an individual can keep the dangerous and anxiety producing ideas out of consciousness.
The disadvantage of repression is that an individual cannot keep repressing dangerous and anxiety producing ideas out of ones own consciousness ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information regarding the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing various defense mechanisms in our daily life situations.

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