denial

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denial,

in psychology, an ego defense mechanism that operates unconsciously to resolve emotional conflict, and to allay anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality. In the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund FreudFreud, Sigmund
, 1856–1939, Austrian psychiatrist, founder of psychoanalysis. Born in Moravia, he lived most of his life in Vienna, receiving his medical degree from the Univ. of Vienna in 1881.

His medical career began with an apprenticeship (1885–86) under J.
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, denial is described as a primitive defense mechanismdefense mechanism,
in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions.
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. Anna FreudFreud, Anna
, 1895–1982, British psychoanalyst, b. Vienna, Austria. Continuing the work of her father, Sigmund Freud, she was a pioneer in the psychoanalysis of children.
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 studied the widespread occurrence of denial among small children and explained that the mature ego does not continue to make extensive use of denial, because it conflicts with the capacity to recognize and critically test reality. Most people employ denial at some time in their lives when coping with stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. Elisabeth Kübler-RossKübler-Ross, Elisabeth
, 1926–2004, American psychiatrist, b. Switzerland. After studying medicine at the Univ. of Zürich (M.D. 1957), Kübler-Ross became a pioneer in the field of thanatology, the study of death and dying.
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's influential theory describes denial as the first stage of a dying person's progress in coming to terms with terminal illness. In such instances, denial may be considered adaptive. It is considered maladaptive, however, when it becomes delusional. In recent years, the term is used more generally, to describe the suppression of reality rather than a particular defense mechanism in the Freudian sense.

denial

[di′nī·əl]
(mathematics)
(psychology)
An unconscious defense mechanism in which an individual denies herself or himself recognition of an observation in order to avoid pain or anxiety.

denial

1. the rejection of the truth of a proposition, doctrine, etc.
2. a psychological process by which painful truths are not admitted into an individual's consciousness
References in classic literature ?
Must I say it,--in spite of the solemnity of Monsieur Stangerson's words, we did not believe in his denial.
I do not trust him, in spite of his attempted denial.
Tom took his whipping and went back to his seat not at all broken-hearted, for he thought it was possible that he had unknowingly upset the ink on the spelling- book himself, in some skylarking bout -- he had denied it for form's sake and because it was custom, and had stuck to the denial from principle.
Notwithstanding Miss Pross's denial of her own imagination, there was a perception of the pain of being monotonously haunted by one sad idea, in her repetition of the phrase, walking up and down, which testified to her possessing such a thing.
The reparation of a denial, is sometimes equal to the first grant; if a man show himself neither dejected nor discontented.
Prince Andrew repeated, but Pierre, giving him no time to reply, took the repetition for a denial, the more readily as he knew Prince Andrew's former atheistic convictions.
The denial of landing and hasty warning us away troubled us much.
In the exaltation of the reason or intellect, in the denial of the voluntariness of evil (Timaeus; Laws) Spinoza approaches nearer to Plato than in his conception of an infinite substance.
This accusation young Mr Cheeryble most indignantly repelled, upon which Mrs Nickleby slyly remarked, that she suspected, from the very warmth of the denial, there must be something in it.
He did not look at us, but, on hearing my earnest request, he paused in the middle of a sentence to listen for her reply, and went on, with a look of quiet satisfaction, the moment he found it was to be a denial.
But the advantage which this united force hath in persuasion or entreaty must have been visible to a curious observer; for he must have often seen, that when a father, a master, a wife, or any other person in authority, have stoutly adhered to a denial against all the reasons which a single man could produce, they have afterwards yielded to the repetition of the same sentiments by a second or third person, who hath undertaken the cause, without attempting to advance anything new in its behalf.
I shall consider his view again in connection with words; for the present I am only concerned to combat his denial of images.