Talk:Defence mechanisms

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Older comments[edit]

Definately not a stubwhicky1978 02:18, August 12, 2005 (UTC)

My hat goes off to whomever wrote the example for Splitting LamontCranston 10:21, August 30, 2005 (UTC)

Los Caprichos[edit]

I know that Los Caprichos is on the Spanish wiki analog of this article, and was recently placed on this one, but I really can't figure out what relevance it has to the topic. Would anyone care to explain? ~XarBioGeek (talk) 01:02, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


Rationalization is not mentioned! Its incredible, having on account that it from the original list made by Freud, and that its probably the main one.

Rationalization is addressed through Intellectualization, but I agree that it deserves its own listing. XarBiogeek (talk) 19:18, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


the link for suppression leads to an article on censorship that is more political than psychological, in fact it mentions nothing of the inner workings of the human mind. Should suppression not link to it's own article or stub like the other mechanisms? -- suuta

Done. Now linking to article Thought suppression, as it does in Template:Defence mechanisms. --Jhertel (talk) 17:07, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Actually you could easily see self-defeating thought suppression is completely different from the usually healthy defense mechanism of emotion suppression. As it stands it seems (the latter) suppression has no article of its own at all; if we wish to see it linked to an article it'll have to be created. I've removed the links once but they were put back. Will someone please explain how I might be wrong?--Arpose (talk) 20:53, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
It's now linked to "Emotional self-regulation". All's good now.—Arpose (talk) 10:25, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Categorizations of defenses: plagiarism[edit]

I noticed that there is little to no attribution in the categorizations of the defense mechanisms, so started looking around online for more information. Only to find that the section was rather shamelessly plagiarised from I don't know how this is handled, only that it should be. Katsesama (talk) 19:47, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Categorizations of defenses and Adaptation to Life[edit]

If we're going to crib shamelessly from Vaillant, we might as well reference him (I have done so); but we ought probably to replace that silly text about 'unhealthy' with the division into psychotic, neurotic, immature and mature mechanisms that he espoused. I seem to recall that humor, sublimation and suppression were the mature mechanisms, but I don't have my copy lying around - anyone? Ikkyu2 08:17, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I added Vaillants classification as I remember it. Actually my knowledge is from Andrews & Bonds's empirical work, which is based on Vaillant's. I am planning also to add more classification, like in "Defense Mechanisms Inventory" (Ilijevits?): turning against the object (TAO), projection (PRO), principalization (PRN), turning against the self (TAS) and reversal (REV). Jalind 09:20, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Is there error in Vaillant's classification now? Should psychotic defenses be narcissistic defenses? If someone has the source, please correct. Jalind 15:47, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
(Moved from article hidden comment:) I added a great number of defenses and grouped them as above - I decided to do this work "off-site" because of the size of the job - feel free to drop by and edit User_talk:A_Kiwi/draft-Defense_Mechanisms
I appreciate your work Kiwi. Still I am not sure if all the defenses mentioned should be classified in this article. This is because I think this article should not be restrained to any particular theorist's view (ie. Vaillant). It could be problematic to decide what classifications should be used in the main article. Jalind 11:36, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, Vaillant certainly has a great number of adherents.. Who would you consider to be the other two major theories of classification?
I think it is important to present one or more classification systems for it is so vital to help the reader clarify in their mind that "not all defenses are created equal". To forego addressing this fact is unforgivable. --A green Kiwi in learning mode 13:44, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree that it is mandatory to introduce classifications of defense mechanisms. I meant that it would be best to preserve list of single defenses, AND apart from this to introduce different classifications. It may become problematic if we present BOTH the list and classification in the same chapter. Some proponents of different classifications could be based on questionnaires (the Coping and Defending Scales (Joffe & Naditch, 1977); the Defense Mechanisms Inventory (Gleser & Ihilevich, 1969); the Life-Style Index (Plutchik, Kellerman, & Conte, 1979)). Vaillant's work is best reflected in the Defense Style Questionnaire (Bond, Gardner, Christian, & Sigal, 1983). Also (observer based) classification from Perry & Cooper (1989) would be interesting, as well typological perspective such as Weinberger's or Byrne's repressors. For more proponents see my discussion with topic "Nothing About Recent Developments...". Jalind 15:42, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I am adding here my proposition about the chapter of categorizations of defense mechanisms. Comments and corrections (please check my english) are more than welcome. I would like to see Kiwi's text about Vaillant's work added here (detailed descriptions of different levels of defenses etc.). Also, unfortunately, I don't have DSM-IV TR where I could check the classification (now it is adapted from Vaillant's Adaptive Mental Mechanisms -article (2000) in American Psychologist and it is based on DMS-IV not TR). I know this is a bit stub, but good start IMHO. Jalind 19:13, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Jalind ... This is exactly what I dreamed of seeing and I am so excited at what is happening here. Way to go, everyone! -Kiwi 07:28, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Kiwi! I am now moving this chapter to article, I think it is ok... Jalind 18:55, 20 November 2006 (UTC)


I think it would help to add examples of each mechanism like they do on the Defence Mechanism section in the Sigmund Freud entry.

I think the article antiprocess should be included.

Number of defence mechanisms[edit]

It says Anna Freud identified 10 defence mechanisms but then lists 19. Where did the others come from?

Missing Defense Mechanism[edit]

Also, undoing, one of Sigmund Freud's original defence mechanisms, and not developed by Anna, is not listed. I'll get some info together and edit it later.Dallas 17:26, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

As for the examples, I'll try to provide a few, and make them unique from the Sigmund Freud entry. Dallas 17:31, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Why isn't "Identification with the Agressor" on the list?

Why the Freudian?[edit]

Freud was NOT a scientist, yet many psychologists regard his work as fact. All he did was come up with definitions for drives: the id, ego and super ego... and applied them to a machine, one that was totally made up. The human brain does not have an "id" gland or a "superego" cortex. These three words are toted around as facts, but in fact, they are just beliefs. Freudianism is a religion, not a theory. It is based on little or no observation or experimentation. He didn't know how the mind worked, so he made up several mechanisms for it. When we hear thunder, we know that it's not from God bowling. It's time we applied that kind of logic to psychology.

While his methods were certainly not ideal, Freud did contribute a significant amount to the study of the mind. His theories (I must admit they would be better called hypotheses) were at least supported by the evidence that he examined, although they are largely disregarded now.
As for the concept that mental classifications would have corresponding physical structures in the brain, that idea is simply infantile. As noted by Freud, the manifestations of his concept of "id", "ego", and "superego" had extensive interaction with each other; if this is to be the case, then anyone with the most limited information regarding the operation of neural networks would know that they would have to be extensively integrated, physically, to sustain that amount of cross-influence. These Freudian concepts are neither facts nor beliefs, but are linguistic constructs that are useful tools for referring to different classifications of thought; one uses "id" to refer to thoughts that they do not consciously monitor and act upon, the "ego" to refer to the mental entity that they identify as their conscious mind, and the "superego" to refer to the sociological conditioning and codes of conduct to which they are held. Regardless of whether such things are actually distinct, the words remain a valuable component of communication, as demonstrated by their widespread use.
Additionally, you typed "When we hear thunder, we know that it's not from God bowling." This makes about as much sense, in terms of logic, as "If you know immediately that the candle is fire, then the meal has been cooked long ago." In the most objective sense, one cannot logically prove that thunder is NOT a deific entity bowling, but rather one can effectively demonstrate that the same sound can be produced by lightning, and therefore the probability that it is caused by lightning is exceedingly great. If we applied such logic to psychology, as you suggested, we could end up with ideas like "When we remember stuff, we know it actually happened," which is certainly not the case, as erroneous memory is a part of everyday life. ~XarBioGeek (talk) 00:57, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't Confuse Psychology with Psychiatry[edit]

Defense mechanisms are psychological, the structure of the physical brain is psychiatry, of course they inter-relate, but not every aspect of phychology and how the mind works, relates the the physical structure of the brain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

"Psychiatry is a medical specialty which exists to study, prevent, and treat mental disorders in humans.[2][3][4]" - as indicated, it is in no way limited to the physical structure of the brain, and analysis of defense mechanisms can certainly be used in psychiatry. ~XarBioGeek (talk) 00:57, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Response to Why the Freudian?[edit]

In reference to the comment above:

Please be careful what you say certain groups believe unless you genuinely understand said training. I have never met a psychologist who believes -- and I was never taught in training -- that Freudian theory is "fact." Freudian theory is Freudian theory that different people regard with different levels of belief and respect. He never pretended to base his work on quantitative research -- but many important contributions to psychology have been qualitative. Freud was the first to come up with a complicated theory of personality, and given that Wilhelm Wundt and other early psychologists were off introspecting, Freud really did do something worth remembering.

Second, Freud didn't "make up" this machine. He based his ideas on drive-reduction theory, which was the popular understanding of how the body worked at the time. Drive reduction theory was developed by Clark Hull. You can read about it (and how it contributed to psychoanalysis) at .

Your statement that Freudian theory is a religion is ridiculous. (And your implication that it's a pseudoscience is also a little disturbing. Pseudoscience does not involve methodology, peer-reviewed journals, or studies involving statistical significance. I assure you that psychoanalysis has been subjected to all of these things.) I would encourage you to check out some of the peer-reviewed research journals like TheInternational Journal of Psychoanalysis or one of the many other journals listed on the APA's website: You might also take a look at Nancy Williams' amazing books on psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theory, readily available in bigger bookstores. I would also encourage you to learn a little about psychodynamic theory, which is the umbrella term for modern descendents of analysis, such as object relations and self psychology. While Freudian theory is rarely used as Freud originally envisioned it, it was a great impetus for modern psychology.

I'm glad you put your opinions on the discussion board rather than the wiki page, but they're misleading enough that I felt I had to respond.

I completely respect your right to be opinionated, but opinions should be backed by critical thinking and evidence, just like everything else on Wikipedia. I have tried to do just that in my argument above.


"Pseudoscience does not involve methodology, peer-reviewed journals, or studies involving statistical significance." Pseudoscience incorporates all of the aforementioned features. That's precisely what makes it dangerous and easy to confuse with the real thing. Pseudoscience differs from science in that it doesn't pay attention to contradicting evidence. (talk) 17:20, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Freud may be a way of thinking. Psychology and sociology aren't limited to one dominant theory or paradigm. He may have made some bizarre and unsupported claims but his theory can either be supported and used or disproven and not used. This wiki page takes Freud's theory in attempt to explain defense mechanisms.

One can either disprove everything on here or attempt to explain defense mechanisms with another theory.

-SonicKuz —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:53, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Nothing about "recent developments" in defense theory?[edit]

In this discussion it has been claimed that psychoanalysis and thereby also defense mechanism -theory is not scientific. Actually this proposition was most famously made by Karl Popper in 1963. (for a very recent discussion see for example [1]). The logic in his claim is that because there is no criteria to test (empirically or logically) psychoanalytic hypotheses, therefore psychoanalysis is pseudoscience. Historically this critisism was followed by critical studies and reviews by Holmes in 1970's, where he concluded that concept of defence mechanisms is not well-grounded. Of course from viewpoint of today, Popper's claim is not valid, and very interesting empirical research on defenses has been done. But still in this wiki-article there is total lack of empiric and scientific work done in the field of defense mechanisms. I think that in this article we need to move to larger focus from Freuds' theories, and also take into account more recent psychoanalytic theories. As empirically oriented researchers, I would like to mention authors such as Cramer P. (in development of defences and projective assessment tehniques), Vaillant and Bond (in theoretical and empirical classification of defenses), Plutchik R. (in evolutionary theory and emotions), and Weinberger (research done of repressive personality-type). Surely interesting related paradigms are emotion-regulation (Gross), coping (Lazarus), terror management (Pyszczynski) and attachment theory (ie. Horowitz, Mikulincer).

For enthusiastic people I would like to recommend the following sources for starters:

  • Huge review of the field. Paulhus, D.L., Fridhandler B., & Hayes S. (1997). Psychological defense: Contemporary theory and research. In R. Hogan, J. Johnson & S.R. Briggs (Ed.), Handbook of personality psychology (543-579). California: Academic Press.
  • Huge review including older empirical studies and Cramer's developmental theory Cramer P: The Development of Defense Mechanisms: Theory, Research, and Assessment. New York, Springer-Verlag, 1991
  • Review of quite recent study. Special edition of Journal of Personality (1998), 66(6).
  • Interesting viewpoint and easily available source. Emotional Control Theory and the Concept of Defense: A Teaching Document(J Psychother Pract Res 8:213-224, July 1999) Available in net: [2]

Jalind 12:04, 3 November 2006 (UTC)


Motion to move the article to "Defense mechanism" as the primary spelling. --Htmlism 15:47, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Nevermind. Wikipedia's spelling policy is stupid. GO AMERICA!!! --Htmlism 20:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

To the anonymous IP that edited this page for spelling, note that the vast majority of terms are spelling in the style of British English. --Htmlism 21:56, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

While the anonymous IP raised the point in the wrong place, I have to agree that it does look odd to have one spelling in the title and another in the article. (Any chance the Brits would be willing to sell English so the U.S can rightly claim ownership of it? Of course, that might make things even worse - putting English under the control of the same government that charges different tariffs for screws than bolts, sort of making it illegal to tighten a screw by turning a nut...) BitterGrey (talk) 06:18, 20 February 2011 (UTC)


So far, the "Defence mechanism" article's introduction and early sections use excessive Freudian jargon and can seem incomprehensible.

During any merge, please use the clearer, more natural wording of the "User:A Kiwi/Ego defense mechanisms" article in the introduction.

Also, the section defining the id, ego, and superego ("Definitions of individual psyche structures") should be moved upwards to appear before those terms are heavily used. Parsiferon 20:28, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

User:A Kiwi/Ego defense mechanisms appears to be well-written and well-referenced. Even though it doesn't conform to the Manual of Style, lacks embedded citations and I haven't had time to check the references, I think it probably has useful material to contribute (e.g. more detail about Vaillant's four levels). If there are no objections after 96 hours, I intend to proceed with the merge. (Do it Up, merge it..)NeonMerlin 03:21, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Remaining bits for merger[edit]

Here's a list of things that have not been categorized yet, please help!:

  • Conversion Reaction: Expression of psychic pain eg anxiety in the form of motor or somatic symptoms to express distress
  • Idealization: Form of denial in which the object of attention is presented as "all good" while masking one's true negative feelings towards the other
  • Inversion: Refocusing of aggression or emotions evoked from an external force onto one's self.
  • Rationalization: The process of constructing a logical justification for a decision that was originally arrived at through a different mental process; supplying a logical or rational reason as opposed to the real reason
  • Regression: Reversion to an earlier stage of development in the face of unacceptable impulses; returning to a previous stage of development
                                      -Shouldn't this be categorized as immature rather than neurotic?  It's immature in all of my textbooks.     — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:58, 16 December 2011 (UTC) 
  • Somatization: Manifestation of emotional anxiety into physical symptoms
  • splitting: Primitive defense mechanism-when a person sees external objects or people as either "all good" or "all bad."
  • Substitution: When a person replaces one feeling or emotion for another
  • Undoing: A person tries to 'undo' a negative or threatening thought by their corrective actions

Thanks. Radagast83 (talk) 05:15, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


Defense Mechanism 3 was vandalized. It was removed and replaced with ridiculous blather. (talk) 01:26, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Fixed. Miremare 15:02, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


I propose that Defence mechanisms and its linked subpages (for each of the mechanisms) be moved from Category:Personality Disorders (within Category:Personality) to Category:Psychological Adjustment (both Personality and Psychological Adjustment are under Category:Psychology, but I want to see if there is consensus, first. Is anyone for this? ~XarBioGeek (talk) 20:43, 20 January 2008 (UTC)


please take out the double brackets in the above post! 00:27, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I apologize for my inexperience with the effect of wikilinking categories. ~XarBioGeek (talk) 01:00, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


the psychological defense mechanism page into this one. Oldag07 (talk) 23:24, 27 May 2008 (UTC) remnants of talk page:

  • This article is already addressed, seemingly much more accurately and comprehensively, by Defence Mechanism. XarBiogeek (talk) 19:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

The old page archive


New page looks better than old page.

Thank you.

AnThRaX Ru (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 20:39, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

LInk to more readable article on defnse mechanisms[edit][3]

This link provides an easier to understand article on defense mechanisms. I have included it as an external link from this article.--Penbat (talk) 14:48, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Where is the empirical evidence?[edit]

Shouldn't this article have a section giving details of the empirical evidence for this theory? Or else admit there isnt any? I understand that Freudians have a come up with various excuses for the lack of scientific evidence - if this is not true, then now is your chance to describe and cite the experiments concerned! Its 2008 - we now expect evidence for theories like this. (talk) 11:53, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Some unsubstantiated comments[edit]

I don't know if the comments I am presenting are proper for this forum but I don't know where else I might put them. It may be that the concepts are,in fact, buried in the article and I just haven't studied it well enough to have recognized it. It may be that the concepts are, in fact, presented elsewhere in other articles and again, I haven't studied them well enough to recognize them. It may be that there are insufficent foundational article to sustantiate the ideas and they therefore can't be included within the body of the wiki. I think the concept remains valid and worthy of effort to find some way to either reference them by refering to foundational works or just getting them "air time" here.

While Freud's concepts may not be founded in documented empirical evidence, it remains as a good starting point for further models and analogies that might better categorized the functioning of the human psychy. The structure of the brain itself has become well documented and, while I cite no referenes here, the fuctioning of each of the sub-structures has been welll ellucidated. Comparison of the ego-superego-id and conscious-subconsious analogy presented by Freud has some substantial parallel in the actual structure of the brain itself. One categorization/analogy that has been set forth divides the structures into three groups; the "lizard" brain which is substantially the limbic system, the mamillary brain which includes the thalamus and hippocampus, and the ceribial cortex. It might be considered that consiousness is highly reliant on the cerebrial cortex while subconsicous is the result of processes involving the mamillary and lizard brain structures. More recent studies have indicated that the frontal lobe is highly involved in impulse control and higher order decision making processes and it might be reasonably categorized as the superego that Freud presents as a classification of certain behaviors and thoughts. This puts the ego as roughly analogous to a processes involving the remaining part of the ceribrial cortex combined with certain processes overlapping with the mamillary brain. The id, a more subconsious process, becomes analogous to the processes substantially dominated by the limbic system and the mamillary brain without any prefontal cortex involvement and with little if any other cerebrial cortex involvement. The defense mechanisms presented by Freud and latter added to by others may very fall into particular thought-emotional behavioral groups that are within themselves a spectrum. (Here, I refer to thoughts and emotions as behaviors themselves, though not necessarily expressed physically (as in the body), they are physical in the sense of physics. In particular, I am thinking of the supression, repression behavior where short term behavior of supression becomes repression after considerable practice. Just as well, as the brain develops through childhood, initial "suppression" of behaviors doesn't involve the ceribrial cortex and is little more than a process of repression. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:11, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

defence vs defense[edit]

should the page be renamed to "defense mechanism?" (i think that use is more common.) Twipley (talk) 03:20, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

It probably should, but it won't be. There are too many pretentious wiki editors obsessed with using the British method of spelling things. (Perhaps some actual Brits as well, I concede.) (talk) 11:23, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

In this case, it doesn't matter which is more common. The official Wikipedia policy (as far as I know) is that articles that show a clear tie to either America or Britain will use their respective spellings (e.g., the article about the American Civil War will use American spelling conventions, and the article on the English Civil War will use British spelling conventions). In the absence of a clear tie to one country or the other (like with this article), the spelling convention of the first major editor is used. I don't know who the first major editor was, but it seems like the "defence" spelling is pretty thoroughly ingrained in the article, and therefore British spelling conventions should be used (or at least, British spellings used in the article should not be changed. I don't think individual editors are required to modify their native spellings, but they may later be changed to fit the dominant spelling system). As a matter of fact, I think it would probably be best to remove the reference to the alternative spelling of "defense", since that discussion would fit best in the article about American and British English spelling differences.
And before anyone thinks that I'm playing favorites, I should tell you that I'm American, and I personally don't like most of the British spellings. But the policy seems fair enough, and Wiki policy is Wiki policy ;-) --Witan (talk) 23:42, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Edit: here's the official policy: Wikipedia:Manual of Style#National varieties of English--Witan (talk) 23:51, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

As far as the original spelling of defense mechanisms, Sigmund Freud coined the term and he was Austrian and wrote in the German language, but he gave Abraham Brill of New York the exclusive rights to translate his works from German into English and Brill used American spelling. So the original official English translations of Sigmund Freud’s works that first talked about defense mechanisms spelled it in the American spelling. Furthermore, the American Psychiatric Association is far larger and more influential in the field of society than the Royal College of Psychiatrists, its British equivalent, and American spelling is thus standard in most English-language works on psychiatry.

Of course, the official Wikipedia policy is pretty clear that, for this sort of thing where there is no strong connection to any specific English-speaking country and where one version of the word is not more widely understood or more clear than the other, whatever type of spelling the article is originally written in it should stay in unless there is a really clear consensus to the contrary. “Defense” and “defence” are equally clear and equally well understood to English-speakers regardless of country, the only difference is which one is considered the correct spelling. So while I would very much prefer to switch to spelling it as “defense mechanisms”, it seems we are stuck with the spelling this article originally used when it was first created due to Wikipedia policies.

Since the purpose of that policy being that way is to prevent unnecessary edit wars, it seems we ought to follow Wikipedia policies and keep it as “defence mechanisms” unless of course there is a strong consensus among editors to use American spelling. A strong consensus among editors is the only way to change the spelling according to Wikipedia policy, given the lack of any strong connection to any English-speaking nation and the equal clarity and understandability of both spellings. I do not see any evidence of such a consensus, so in the absence of consensus, the original spelling stays as much as I dislike that outcome. However, in the future, if anyone else really wants to change the spelling in this specific article to use American spelling, I would personally support that and do my part to help form a consensus, although I doubt enough other people would agree for it to succeed, because a simple majority is not what is needed, a strong consensus is what is needed, and that is really hard to achieve, that means getting almost everybody to agree, which is tough and probably unrealistic in this case. --Yetisyny (talk) 03:42, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

Isolation & Solitude[edit]

Hello. Seems to me, Isolation is wrongly redirected to Solitude (social behaviour). Юлиана Пучкова (Juliana Puchkova in Russian Wiki) (talk) 08:01, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Transactional Analysis[edit]

I just removed a few short statements effectively comparing Freud's Id, Ego, and Superego to Eric Berne's Child, Adult, and Parent respectively. Please remember not to make any such correlations in this article. The TA article itself as well as Games People Play (the book that defined TA; yes, I have read it) both mention that there is no direct correspondence between them, even though they are distinctly similar concepts (for example, the Adult represents logical reasoning unaffected by emotional pulls and the Ego represents the reality principle). (talk) 03:38, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Criticism Section[edit]

As we all know Freud never incorporated any scientific principles in his hypothesis, therefore it is unappropriate to give the impression that the article discusses any proven facts, but merely a widely applied hypothesis. I strongly suggest adding a section addressing the various points of criticism, such as for example the lack of empirical evidence, and quite arbitrary classification of defence mechanism. From a scientific perspective the order of defence mechanisms looks almost like a normative, value judgement driven composite similar to the 10 Commandments, the 5 Pillars of Islam or Kant's Categorical Imperative. A criticism section is highly needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:50, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Freud only introduced some defence mechanisms, many were formulated or developed more recently. The classification system used here is just one way of classifying the defense mechanisms - there isnt just 1 official way. i have restructured - should be clearer now.--Penbat (talk) 11:56, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't know the wikipedia policy for this kind of article, and I'm too lazy to find out. But from experience reading the wiki, this one definitely needs Criticism. Actually, this section was what I was looking for when going to this article (directly, by url-guessing): What is said from critics of defence mechanims. Freud was, by education, scientist, but... Take this intro from "his" article: "While some of Freud's ideas have fallen out of favor or have been modified by Neo-Freudians, and modern advances in the field of psychology have shown flaws in some of his theories, Freud's work remains seminal in humans' quest for self-understanding, especially in the history of clinical approaches. In academia, his ideas continue to influence the humanities and social sciences. He is considered one of the most prominent thinkers of the first half of the 20th century, in terms of originality and intellectual influence." Please note the wording, "prominent thinkers". At a very least, link to the part of the Freud article, where the criticism is referenced: - this I could use :) Vicaria (talk) 16:11, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm not an expert in psychology, but noted the lack of an "empirical support" section in the article on "projection" back in 2011. Such a section was later added by someone. Here is an excerpt from an article on another site, : "Baumeister, Dale, and Sommer (1998) subjected a number of Freudian defense mechanisms to controlled experimentation. They report that reaction formation, isolation, and denial appear to be real phenomena that serve defensive functions. Undoing, or counterfactual thinking, does occur, but did not appear to be an effective way to reduce anxiety. Projection was also observed in controlled circumstances, but the authors argue that it appears to be a 'by-product of defense rather than part of the defensive response iteself.' Finally, the authors found no evidence of either displacement or sublimation.

"Contemporary research shows that some Freudian ideas about defense mechanisms were correct, some require revision, and some have little support (Baumeister et al., 1998). When defense mechanisms are viewed as efforts to protect self-esteem (Fenichel, 1945), they become much more consistent with the ways contemporary social and personality psychologists think." A section along these same lines is needed in this article. Hopefully someone with expertise in psychology will add such a section. The last sentence above about how defense mechanisms might be viewed as efforts to protect self-esteem seems to need elaboration. The subsection of the article I quoted above is titled "Empirical Support for Defense Mechanisms" -- that would seem the right title for the subsection needed here. Many laymen talk about defense mechanisms as if they are proven scientific facts, and the Wikipedia articles on the subject currently don't discourage them from making this error. Note: I dread the idea of repeating this same comment in the talk section of the numerous articles on defense mechanisms, but it appears that they are all missing a section on empirical support. Articles on scientific theories should always have such a section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kbombga (talkcontribs) 12:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC)


could do with a section explaining how the different defence mechanisms collectively are used in narcissism.--Penbat (talk) 16:42, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Introjection and indentification[edit]

The differences between those two concepts are not explained well, on the internet there are a lot of contradictions between these two words. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:52, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

British vs American spelling[edit]

The title uses the British spelling 'defence' and a note in the editing function says to maintain spelling in the article to match it, citing some "aforementioned Wikipedia policy"; there is no Wikipedia policy mentioned as that note is the second thing in the entry, the first being a reference to biological anti-predator adaptations.

Also, the article cites Encyclopedia BRITTANICA which even spells it 'defense', so all of it needs to be changed, including the entry title.

According to WP:LANGVAR, the "English Wikipedia prefers no major national variety of the language over any other". Additionally, even though "within a given article the conventions of one particular variety should be followed consistently", exceptions include "quotations" and "titles of works such as books, films, or songs". Therefore, the article should not be moved, and thus the recent "Defense mechanisms" was just undone. --Duplode (talk) 23:15, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Defining "Humility" as "Humble"?[edit]

"Humility: A quality by which a person ... has a humble opinion" (quote source: wikipedia) The meanings seem too close to learn anything. How about: "Humility: A quality by which a person holds their-self in a non-threatening position." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:31, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Description of "Respect"[edit]

It is really true that even a nation or religion deserves respect? I thought that only a living beings deserve respect - in order to not harm them. But nations or religions? They are not alive, they don't have feelings. For example, does a philosophy deserve respect? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

Pseudo-altruism or pathological altruism[edit]

Shouldn't pseudo-altruism or pathological altruism be listed as a defence mechanism? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Find a reputable, reliable source. It's not up to us to decide what is or is not a defense mechanism. Doczilla @SUPERHEROLOGIST 18:40, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Defense mechanisms vs personal characteristics[edit]

Can someone verify that the items in the subsection Level 4: Mature really correspond to Vaillant's categorization of defence mechanisms?

The list contains several items that are a bit difficult to reconcile with the lead section in that these are supposed to be: unconscious and are not to be confused with conscious coping strategies. Do any of the cited references to Vaillant claim that these are really mechanisms which reduces anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful impulses? The questionable items (that I see) are Altruism, Courage, Gratitude, Humility, Humor, Mercy, Patience and Respect, but these are just the ones that strike at the moment as a stretch. The other items in the list do, in fact, seem like defense mechanisms. I am concerned that some editor came along and decided to add his/her opinions to the mix. Arbalest Mike (talk) 01:08, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

Dubious source[edit]

I find the source rather dubious. It seems to be a simple, almost amateurishly made website, and there is no source whatsoever; no indication of who wrote it, no contact information, nothing. Anyone could have written it. And the website does not even cite any sources. So I do not find it to be a trustworthy source. I find it problematic that it is used as the only source for many of the most prominent claims in the beginning of the article, with 4 references to it. --Jhertel (talk) 16:44, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

The use of the word coping in the beginning of the article[edit]

I just replaced this:

A defence mechanism is a coping technique that reduces anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful stimuli.[1] Defence mechanisms are unconscious and are not to be confused with conscious coping strategies.[2]

with this:

A defence mechanism is an unconscious psychological mechanism that reduces anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful stimuli.[3] Defence mechanisms are not to be confused with conscious coping strategies.[2]

This is to avoid the use of the word "coping" for defence mechanisms, as coping is a conscious technique, whereas defence mechanisms are unconscious.

I cannot check the reference[4] to see if it is still valid as a reference with the new wording.

Note, though, that states that defence mechanisms do not need to be unconscious:

"Defense mechanism, in psychoanalytic theory, any of a group of mental processes that enables the mind to reach compromise solutions to conflicts that it is unable to resolve. The process is usually unconscious, and the compromise generally involves concealing from oneself internal drives or feelings that threaten to lower self-esteem or provoke anxiety."

So something is not right in this article; the article seems to be unclear in its understanding of what a defence mechanism actually is. Or, if there are opposing views to what it is, the article should mention that there are opposing views. --Jhertel (talk) 17:07, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Defence is misspelled[edit] (talk) 02:56, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

No, it isn't. That's the British spelling instead of the American spelling. Doczilla @SUPERHEROLOGIST 10:21, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  1. ^ Schacter, Daniel L. (2011). Psychology Second Edition. 41 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010: Worth Publishers. pp. 482–483. ISBN 978-1-4292-3719-2. 
  2. ^ a b Kramer U (October 2009). "Coping and defence mechanisms: What's the difference? - Second act". Psychol Psychother. 83 (Pt 2): 207–21. doi:10.1348/147608309X475989. PMID 19883526. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ Schacter, Daniel L. (2011). Psychology Second Edition. 41 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010: Worth Publishers. pp. 482–483. ISBN 978-1-4292-3719-2. 
  4. ^ Schacter, Daniel L. (2011). Psychology Second Edition. 41 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010: Worth Publishers. pp. 482–483. ISBN 978-1-4292-3719-2.