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defence mechanism(PSYCHOANALYSIS) the method by which the EGO transforms the energies of the ID to make them acceptable to reality. Defence mechanisms reduce biological tension and mental anxiety The main defence mechanisms are:
- denial, where the instinctual urge is inhibited;
- repression, where it is made completely unconscious;
- projection, where the urge is inhibited in the self but attributed to another person;
- reaction formation, where the energies of the ID are redirected in the opposite direction;
- intellectualization, where unacceptable emotions are transformed by explanations making excuses for the undesirable behaviour;
- sublimation, where the energy of the ID is directed from the primary, but unacceptable, object to one that is socially acceptable. See also FREUD, LACAN.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000