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 ?
I do not forget the position, assumed by some, that Constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court; nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding, in any case, upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government.
Come now, senor, can you deny what is commonly said around us, when a person is out of humour, 'I don't know what ails so-and-so, that he neither eats, nor drinks, nor sleeps, nor gives a proper answer to any question; one would think he was enchanted'?
And if he found them differing as much from one another as from his first counsellors, would he not act prudently in trying the experiment unanimously recommended by the latter, rather than be hearkening to those who could neither deny the necessity of a speedy remedy, nor agree in proposing one?
Nay, gracious Teacher, deny me not what I know it is in thy power to perform.
You dare not, you cannot deny, that you have been the principal, if not the only means of dividing them from each other-- of exposing one to the censure of the world for caprice and
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
And although he had the confidence, to deny the administration, he had not the power, to deny the nature.
So you deny the influence of philtres upon the blood, and unguents on the skin
But I deny that I am prejudiced by any personal feeling.
You deny, therefore, having ever been at Loewestein?
Will any one deny the other point, that there may be sons of kings or princes who are by nature philosophers?
He knew only too well how useless her gallant defiance was, since it was not the object of the defence to deny this point.