Formal And Tactical Defense Of Verbal Defense Essay

737 Words Mar 7th, 2016 3 Pages

Defenses consist of cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal strategies employed by patients to keep anxiety-provoking thoughts and feelings out of awareness (see figure 4). There are two types of defenses, formal and tactical. Formal defense are implemented to prevent conscious awareness of thoughts and feelings experienced as dangerous. There are two subcategories of formal defenses, repressive and regressive. Repressive defenses include intellectualization, rationalization, minimization, displacement, and reaction formation. Regressive defenses are projection, somatization, denial, and acting out or discharge of impulse. A reliance on regressive defense indicates a greater impairment in ego functioning than would the use of repressive defenses. Tactical defenses are employed interpersonally to prevent emotional closeness. Tactical defense include all the verbal and nonverbal maneuvers clients use to interpersonally deflect or prevent meaningful emotional contact. Examples of verbal defense are vague and tendency toward generalities, use of contradictory statements, and diversification. Nonverbal defenses include avoidance of eye contact, smiling and giggling, weepiness, or body posture. To effectively intervene, the therapist must proceed from the outside in, and should begin with tactical defenses that prevent emotional closeness before proceeding to work on formal defenses.


Defenses are employed in an effort to reduce the anxiety that accompanies…

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