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Freud's theory of defense mechanisms

Feist and Feist (2006) discuss Freud's theory related to defense mechanisms (see page 34-38).

1. What is the primary purpose of these mechanisms?

2. Is it possible for defense mechanisms to become harmful to an individual? Why or why not?

I need three peer reviewed for references please.

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1. What is the primary purpose of these mechanisms?

The primary purpose of defense mechanisms are unconscious behaviors the self (ego) engages in to protect itself from harmful or threatening situations i.e. intense anxiety, conflict, shame, situations which threaten self esteem, and so on.
According to Freud, the ego is the part of personality that deals with reality. However, while dealing with reality, the ego has also to contend with the conflicting demands of the id and the superego. Whereas the id seeks to fulfill all wants, needs, and impulses (mostly sexual in nature), the superego is attempting to get the ego to act in an idealistic and moral manner. As theory predicts, when the ego cannot deal with the demands of the id's desires, the ego's constraints of reality, and the super-ego's own moral standards, anxiety occurs. According to Freud, anxiety is an unpleasant inner state that people seek to avoid, through the use of defense mechanisms (Freud, 1937). According to Freud, anxiety acts as a signal to the ego that things are not going right, and he identified three types of anxiety:

1. Neurotic anxiety is the unconscious worry that we will lose control of the id's urges, resulting in ...

Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution discusses aspects of Freud's defense mechanisms. References are provided in APA format.