DefendedEncountered while making flash cards--hadn't seen this elsewhere, but seems helpful (and wouldn't fit on a card)--Vaillant's Levels of Defense Mechanisms:

Level I - psychotic defences (i.e. psychotic denial, delusional projection)
Level II - immature defences (i.e. fantasy, projection, passive aggression, acting out)
Level III - neurotic defences (i.e. intellectualization, reaction formation, dissociation, displacement, repression)
Level IV - mature defences (i.e. humour, sublimation, suppression, altruism, anticipation)

For visual learners, here's an animated walk through ten defense mechanisms from Psych2Go:

While we're at it, some defense mechanism descriptions (also from Wikipedia):

Repression: when a feeling is hidden and forced from the consciousness to the unconscious because it is seen as socially unacceptable.
Regression: falling back into an early state of mental/physical development seen as "less demanding and safer."
Projection: possessing a feeling that is deemed as socially unacceptable and instead of facing it, that feeling or "unconscious urge" is seen in the actions of other people.
Reaction formation: acting the opposite way that the unconscious instructs a person to behave, "often exaggerated and obsessive". For example, if a wife is infatuated with a man who is not her husband, reaction formation may cause her to – rather than cheat – become obsessed with showing her husband signs of love and affection.
Sublimation: seen as the most acceptable of the mechanisms, an expression of anxiety in socially acceptable ways.

Ready to put your defense mechanism knowledge to the test? Sign up to get started with SWTP's full-length practice exams.

March 1, 2009
Categories :