This article is going to continue to explore Sigmund Freud’s theory of the structure of the psyche and advance further into what occurs when imbalances appear. Freud believed that the ego deploys various defence mechanisms to prevent it from becoming overwhelmed; summary of Freud’s defence mechanisms will also be explored.
In the previous article we explained Freud’s conception of human psyche with the iceberg metaphor and the structural model of the mind; defining the id, ego and superego. We recommend reading this before this article here: ‘Freud: The Id, Ego and Superego‘
THREE IMBALANCES IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE PSYCHE:
The ego cannot always mediate conflicting demands between the id and superego, therefore creating inner conflict:
- If the ego dominate behaviour then one has a healthy psyche
- Moral anxiety: guilt, delivered to the ego by an offended superego
- Neurotic anxiety: when the ego holds too tight a leash on the id and the id which is powerful and irrational, threatens to overwhelm the ego
The ego cannot always mediate conflicting demands between the id and superego, therefore creating inner conflict.
The ego deploys various defence mechanisms to prevent it from becoming overwhelmed; repression is the most common defence mechanism whereby pain is driven to the unconscious.
SUMMARY OF FREUD’S DEFENCE MECHANISMS:
EXAMPLE OF CHILDHOOD TRAUMA:
Here we are going to explore an example of individual that has experienced a traumatic event in their childhood. This event caused them a lot of distress and pain which became stored in their unconscious.
Unknowingly placing an unpleasant thought or memory into the unconscious is a common defence mechanism known as ‘repression’.
The unconscious plays a large part in directing human behaviour. Latent material in the unconscious will manifest (conscious) at some time.
AN ADVANCED ASSESSMENT OF DEFENCE MECHANISMS:
All defence mechanisms below are unconscious except for suppression. Next we have explored many more that have been added and grouped into the following ‘clusters’; narcissistic, immature, anxiety and mature.