101 Defenses: How the Mind Shields Itself
Defense is the name given to the brain mechanism of shutting elements of feelings out
of consciousness. Defenses are sort of like circuit breakers, acting to relieve overwhelming
emotions, sometimes adaptively, sometimes not so adaptively.
There are two basic defenses: repression, the mechanism that shuts out thought content,
and isolation of affect, which shuts out sensations from consciousness. The other 99 listed in this
book are essentially "helper" defenses.
When defenses are maladaptive, they create symptoms such as phobias, compulsions,
and depressions. They can also contribute to character problems like chronic passivity,
obnoxiousness, shyness, and hypersexuality.
101 Defenses, aside from describing each defense and giving multiple clinical examples,
also includes chapters on constellations of defenses in pathological states. In addition, other
chapters discuss methods for finding defenses, the ways of approaching the defenses both
supportively and interpretively, and how to use defense theory in determining suicide risk.