The therapy I offer is based on an understanding that feelings held in the unconscious mind are often too painful or uncomfortable to be realized. For that reason, we develop defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from actually knowing about, dealing with, or confronting these feelings.
Defense mechanisms are patterns of feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that are unconscious. These mechanisms can be either healthy or unhealthy, depending on what they are and how they are used. They are often an attempt to reduce stress, anxiety, and internal conflict—a way to cope with the world.
You know that saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” A popular way of negating your feelings around an often traumatic experience- popular after a painful break up or loss. We secretly know this is often a defense.
Common defense mechanisms include:
Denial—refusing to face or perceive an unpleasant reality
Projection—attributing one's unacceptable characteristics or motives to others
Displacement—changing the target of built-up emotions or feelings, often anger, onto those (usually people or animals) who are less threatening
Rationalization—making up logical explanations to conceal the real motives of one's thoughts or behavior
Reaction formation—adopting the opposite point of view or acting in a contradictory way than one really feels in an effort to hide from unacceptable emotions or impulses
Another problem, less well advertised is the Core Complex. This concept is universal, began in infancy and can continue throughout our lifespan in terms of how we relate to others. This can impact on our close intimate relationships. The wish to be close with another can feel too claustrophobic so a need to withdraw occurs. However, the problem is that when this withdrawal, a place of perceived safety occurs, one can feel abandoned and can leave the individual feeling mis-understood, hopeless and lonely. In the Transference relationship with the therapist one can begin to connect to and understand why this might happen and it's attempt to protect oneself.