Problems of protective mechanisms youth in psychology | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Рубрика: Психология

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №10 (248) март 2019 г.

Дата публикации: 12.03.2019

Статья просмотрена: 15 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Таштанова, Ё. Д. Problems of protective mechanisms youth in psychology / Ё. Д. Таштанова. — Текст : непосредственный // Молодой ученый. — 2019. — № 10 (248). — С. 221-224. — URL: (дата обращения: 06.03.2021).

In modern psychological literature there are various terms relating to the phenomena of protection. In the broadest sense, protection is a concept that means any reaction of the organism in order to preserve itself and its integrity. In medicine, for example, a variety of defensive disease resistance reactions (body resistance) or body defense reflexes are well known, such as, for example, reflex blinking of an eye as a reaction to a rapidly approaching object or withdrawing a hand from a hot surface. In psychology, however, the most common terms are related to the phenomena of psychological, and not only biological protection — defensive mechanisms, defensive reactions, defensive strategies, neurotic defenses and defensiveness as a personality trait. In addition, the now widely known phenomenon of perceptual protection was discovered in experimental psychology, which consists in a sharp increase in the perception thresholds of “taboo”, that is, forbidden words, objects, situations.

Currently, psychological reactions are any reactions that a person has learned and resorts to using them unconsciously, in order to protect their internal mental structures, their “I” from feelings of anxiety, shame, guilt, anger, as well as from conflict, frustration and other situations that are experienced as dangerous (for example, for someone it may be a decision-making situation).

The first scientist who created a rather harmonious theory of defense mechanisms of the “I” was the famous Austrian doctor and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. This part of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis created by him was met with understanding by scientists representing the fields of medicine (especially psychiatry) and psychology adjacent to psychoanalysis and was subsequently developed by many psychologists, although not all of them shared a psychoanalytic view of the nature of defense mechanisms. At present, the term “protective mechanism” means a durable behavioral protective pattern (scheme, stereotype, model) formed to ensure the protection of the “I” from the awareness of the phenomena causing anxiety.

The term «behavioral» here requires some clarification. For some authors, it means externally observable patterns of thinking, feeling, or action, which function as bypass maneuvers, as the avoidance of disturbing phenomena, or as transformers of what causes anxiety or anxiety. This view is more characteristic of psychologists and psychiatrists with a non-psychoanalytic orientation, who, however, recognize the unconscious nature of defense mechanisms. For other authors who adhere to the psychoanalytic understanding of the nature of defense mechanisms, externally observable and recorded types of defensive behavior (as well as, of course, feelings and thoughts associated with it) are only external, sometimes even private, manifestations of the internal, hidden, intrapsychic process, which, in their opinion, is precisely the true protective mechanism. For these authors, the externally observable, recorded behavior is only a defensive reaction, unlike the mechanism that provides a specific reaction.

The main and common features for different types of defense mechanisms, as Freud and all his followers believed, are that they:

a) Unconscious, that is, a person is not aware of the causes and motives, or the goals, or the very fact of his protective behavior towards a certain phenomenon or object;

b) defense mechanisms always distort, falsify or replace reality.

In general, it should be noted that representatives of the psychoanalytic, rather than psychological school, dealt with the anxiety problem much earlier, and already in his first works on defense mechanisms, Freud pointed out that there are two main ways to cope with anxiety. The first, more healthy way, he considered a way to interact with an alarming phenomenon: it could be overcoming an obstacle, an awareness of the motives of his behavior, and much more. The second, less reliable and more passive way is to cope with anxiety due to the unconscious deformation of reality (it can be external or internal), i.e. the way of forming some kind of protective mechanism. Interestingly, in modern psychology, this idea has acquired a new sound in the form of the separation of concepts, defensive strategies and strategies for coping with stress and other anxiety-generating events. Coping strategies can be different, but they are always conscious, rational, and directed at the source of anxiety (for example, a student who is worried about a particular exam can choose different strategies to prepare for it and pass it successfully). Protective strategies imply unconscious, irrational behavior in the form of, for example, forgetting exam time, loss of notes or records; the emergence of psychological dependence on any person; impulsive abuse of alcohol, smoking; overeating and even serious somatic diseases.

The main defense mechanisms differ in certain parameters: the degree of internal conflict handling, the way the reality is distorted, the amount of energy expended by the subject to maintain this or that mechanism, the degree of infantilism (i.e., depending on the previous particular stage of development of the person) and, according to the type of possible mental disorder that occurs as a result of resorting to this or that protective mechanism.

All this in one way or another describes the possible options for the dynamic transformation of our desires under the pressure of anxiety, threat, external or internal constraints, requirements of reality, that is, what Freud aptly called «fate of attraction». Using his well-known three-component structural model of the psyche («It», «I«and Super- «I«in Russian terminology or Eid, Ego, Super-Ego in foreign), Freud suggested that some defense mechanisms appear from the very first moments of human life, which was later confirmed by numerous experimental studies and clinical observations of children.

Although Freud himself apparently underestimated the presence of such thoughts in his earlier writings, it is undoubted that subsequently the study of defense mechanisms became an important topic of psychoanalytic research, especially in the works of A. Freud. [53] With specific examples, she showed the diversity, complexity, limits of application of protective mechanisms, emphasizing that very different types of actions can be used for protection (fantasy, intellectual activity), that protection can be directed not only against drives, but also against everything that is alarming (emotions, some special situations, the requirements of the Super- «I«, etc.).

Later developments of the theory of protective mechanisms allowed E. Bibring and S. Lagash to put forward the idea of the existence of a working mechanism, which they oppose to the mechanism of protection: the purpose of protective mechanisms is the urgent weakening of the internal stress in accordance with the principle of pleasure — displeasure; the purpose of the mechanisms of working out is the realization of the existing possibilities, even if at the cost of greater tension. Thus, they believed that it is possible to distinguish between the protective actions of the “I”, directed against the “Ono” drives, and the practicing “I” of working out their own protective actions. The very first protective repression mechanism was described. The term “repression” is found in the psychologist Herbart in his early 19th century works, but the extrusion as a clinical fact that people have no power over some of their significant memories was identified and described in detail by Freud at the end of the 19th century: “It was about things which the patient would like to forget, inadvertently pushing them out of their consciousness, ”that is, unintentionally forgetting.

Another very well-known and widely used concept in psychology was the concept of projection introduced by Freud. Freud denoted by this term the protective mechanism of isolating and localizing in another person or object qualities, feelings, desires, actions, i.e., “internal objects” that the subject does not recognize or reject in him. This is a very infantile, perhaps the first time of origin, protective mechanism, which is found in the infant as a way of removing unpleasant things outside and in mental disorders, for example, when one’s own aggression, or rather, the fear of one’s own aggression is not realized by man, but is projected out on other people (delusions of persecution); as well as with the «normal», ordinary thinking (superstition, prejudice). In a broad sense, a projection is a shift of a neurological or psychological phenomenon outside, a transition either from the center to the periphery (for example, in neurology), or from subject to object. In psychology, various processes, а called projections:

1) the subject perceives the world around him and reacts to it in accordance with his interests, abilities, expectations, spectacular states, etc. This phenomenon of the correlation of the internal and external world was discovered not only under the influence of psychoanalysis, but also Gestalt psychology.

2) the subject shows with his unconscious attitude that he likens one person to another, for example, he can project the image of his father onto a boss or the image of a strict teacher in a school onto a teacher at a university;

3) the subject identifies himself with other people, that is, projects his qualities on others (for example, on his beloved animal), or, on the contrary, identifies other objects — objects, people, animals, with himself;

4) the subject ascribes to other people qualities that he does not notice in himself (for example, such a person may assert that “all people are liars”). This phenomenon, called “alienating” projection in psychology, is closest to the concept of Freud's projection.

The notion of fixation does not explain anything, but its descriptive value is great: Freud used it during various periods of his work, describing, for example, fixation on an injury. Fixation acts as a source of repression and can even be considered as the first stage of repression in the broad sense of the word. At the same time, fixation prepares a future regression, which manifests itself in different ways with neuroses, perversions, and psychosis.


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