Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Defenses of the Ego

Defense mechanisms are automatic, involuntary, usually unconscious psychological activities by which human beings attempt to exclude unacceptable thoughts, urges, threats, and impulses from awareness for fear of disapproval, punishment, or other negative outcomes. The defense expresses the forbidden impulse in symbolic, external form and serves to bind anxiety.

The Major Mechanisms:

Repression: a key mechanism; expressed clinically by amnesia or symptomatic forgetting serving to banish unacceptable ideas, fantasies, affects, or impulses from consciousness

Compensation: enables one to make up for real or fancied deficiencies
-e.g. a person who stutters becomes a very expressive writer

Conversion: repressed urge is expressed disguised of body function, usually of the sensory, voluntary nervous system
-e.g. pain, deafness, blindness, etc

Denial: primitive defense; inability to acknowledge true significance of thoughts, feelings, wishes, behaviors, or external reality factors that are consciously intolerable

Displacement: directing an impulse, wish or feeling toward a person or situation that is not its real object, thus permitting expression in a less threatening situation
-e.g. a man angry at his boss kicks the dog

Dissociation: a process which enables a person to split mental functions in a manner that allows him to exprss forbidden or unconscious impulses without taking responsibility for the action, either because he is unable to remember the disowned behavior, or becuase it is not experienced as his own
-e.g. pathologically expressed as fugue states, amnesia, dissociative neurosis or normally expressed as daydreaming

Idealization: overestimation of an admired aspect or attribute or another, may be conscious or unconscious

Identification: universal mechanism whereby a person patterns himself after a significant other. Plays major role in personality development, especially super ego development

Identification with an Aggressor: mastering anxiety by identifying with a powerful aggressor (such as an abusing parent) to counteract feelings of helplessness and to feel powerful oneself. Usually involves behaving like the aggressor.
-e.g. abusing others after one has been abused oneself

Incorporation: primitive mechanism in which psychic representation of a person is figuratively ingested.

Inhibition: loss of motivation to engage in (usually pleasurable) activity avoided because it might stir up conflict over forbidden impulses
e.g. writing blocks, social shyness

Introjection: loved or hated external objects are symbolically absorbed within self (converse of projection)
e.g. in severe depression, unconscious unacceptable hatred is turned towards self

Isolation of Affect: unacceptable impulse, idea, act is separated from its original memory source, thereby removing the original emotional charge associated with it.

Projection: primitive defense; attributing one's disowned attitudes, wishes, feelings, urges to some external object
e.g. believing a spouse is angry at the kids when one is angry at them oneself.

Rationalization: third line of defense, not unconscious. Giving believable explanation for irrational behavior, motivated by unacceptable unconscious wishes or by defenses used to cope with such wishes

Reaction Formation: person adopts affects, ideas, attitudes, behaviors that are opposites of those he harbored consciously or unconsciously
e.g. excessive moral zeal masking strong but repressed asocial impulses

Regression:partial or symbolic return to more infantile patterns of reacting or thinking. can be in service to the ego.
e.g. dependency during illness

Sublimation: potentially maladaptive feelings or behaviors are diverted into socially acceptable, adaptive channels
e.g. a person who has angry feelings channels them into athletics

Substitution: unattainable or unacceptable goal, emotion, or object is replaced by one more attainable or acceptable

Symbolization: a mental representation stands for some other thing, class of things, or attribute. This mechanism underlies dream formation and some other symptoms (such as conversion reactions, obsessions, compulsions) with a link between the latent meaning of the symbol and the symbol; usually unconscious

Undoing: a person uses words or actions to symbolically reverse or negate unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or actions
e.g. a person compulsively washes their hands to deal with obsessive thoughts

Turning Against Self: defense to deflect hostile aggression or other unacceptable impulses from another to self.

Splitting: defense mechanism associated with borderline personality disorder in which a person perceives self and others as "all good" or "all bad". It is a process in which introjects of opposite quality are kept apart, resulting in ego weakness that cannot neutralize aggression. this process leads to a selective lack of impulse control. splitting can serve to protect the good objects. a person cannot integrate the good and bad in people.

Projective Identification: a form of projection utilized by persons with BPD; unconsciously perceiving another's behavior as a reflection of one's own identity

Devaluation: a defense mechanism frequently used by people with BPD in which a person attributes exaggerate negative qualities to self or another

Acting Out: emotional conflict is dealt with through actions rather than feelings
e.g. instead of talking about feeling neglected, a person will get into trouble to get attention

Decompensation: deterioration of existing defenses.

Kohlberg - Theory of Moral Development

Theory of Moral Development - Kohlberg

Preconventional: Elementary School Age
-Stage One: Child obeys an authority figure out of fear of punishment. Obedience/punishment.
-Stage Two: Child acts acceptably as it is in his best interests. Conforms to rules to receive rewards.

Conventional: Early Adolescence
-Stage Three: Person acts to gain approval from others. "Good Boy/Good Girl" orientation.
-Stage Four: Obeys laws and fulfills obligations and duties to maintain social system. Rules are rules. Avoid censure and guilt.

Post-Conventional: Adult (this level is not reached by most adults)
-Stage Five: Genuine interest in welfare of others; concerned with individual rights and being morally right.
-Stage Six: Guided by individual principles; based on broad universal, ethical principles. Concern for larger universal principles of morality.

Mahler - Object Relations

Attachment Phase
Normal Autism: 0-3 months; alert inactivity
Normal Symbiosis: 2-6 months; No differentiation between self and others; mutual cueing

Differentiation: 6-12 months; Alert when awake; stranger anxiety (8 months)
Practicing: 7-18 months; Disengagement from mother with creeping; frequent return for refueling. Height of narcissism; runs away from mother, anticipating she will re-engage.

Rapproachment: 18-24 months; Disengagement alternating with intense demands for attention; splitting of objects (good/bad); can leave mother rather than be left; language development; individual means to solve dilemmas.

Object Constancy
Consolidation of individuality & Object Constancy: 24-38 months; Can substitute reliable internal image during absence; inception of unified self-image.


Erickson's Theory of Psychosocial Development

Stage One: Trust v. Mistrust
-Does the child believe its caregivers to be reliable?

Stage Two: Autonomy v. Shame & Doubt
-Early Childhood
-Child needs to learn to explore the world.
-Bad if the parent is too smothering or completely neglectful.

Stage Three: Initiative v. Guilt
-Play Age
-Can the child plan or do things on his own, such as dress him or herself.
-If "guilty" about making his or her own choices, the child will not function well.
-Erikson has a positive outlook on this stage, saying that most guilt is quickly compensated by a sense of accomplishment.

Stage Four: Industry v. Inferiority
-School Age
-Child comparing self worth to others (such as in a classroom environment).
-Child can recognize major disparities in personal abilities relative to other children.
-Erikson places some emphasis on the teacher, who should ensure that children do not feel inferior.

Stage Five: Identity v. Identity Diffusion
-Questioning of self. Who am I, how do I fit in? Where am I going in life?
-Erikson believes that if the parents allow the child to explore, they will conclude their own identity. However, if the parents continually push him/her to conform to their views, the teen will face identity confusion.

Stage Six: Intimacy v. Isolation
-Young Adulthood
-Who do I want to be with or date, what am I going to do with my life? Will I settle down?
-This stage has begun to last longer as young adults choose to stay in school and not settle.

Stage Seven: Generativity v. Self-Absorption
-Adulthood / the mid-life crisis
-Measure accomplishments/failures. Am I satisfied or not?
-The need to assist the younger generation.
-Stagnation is the feeling of not having done anything to help the next generation.

Stage Eight: Integrity v. Disgust
-Old Age
-Some handle death well. Some can be bitter, unhappy, and/or dissatisfied with what they have accomplished or failed to accomplish within their life time.
-They reflect on the past, and either conclude at satisfaction or despair.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Piaget - Cognitive Theory

Piaget's Cognitive Theory describes four stages of development and relates them to an individuals' ability to understand and assimilate new information.

1. Sensorimotor: 0-2 years.
  • Retains images of objects
  • Develops primitive logic in manipulating objects
  • Begins intentional actions
  • Play is imaginative
  • Begins to understand signals (i.e. a babysitter's arrival signals mom's leaving)
  • In the last part of this stage, begins to understand symbols & language

2. Preoperational: 2-7 years.
  • Language development enables symbolic functioning
  • Progress from concretism to abstract thinking
  • Can comprehend past, present, future
  • Acquires words, math symbols, music symbols, and other codes
  • Magical thinking may occur
  • Thinking is not generalized and is concrete, irreversible, egocentric (unable to see another POV) & centered on one detail or event.
3. Concrete Operations: 7-11 years.
  • Beginnings of abstract thought
  • Plays games with rules
  • Cause-effect relationships are understood
  • Logical implications are understood
  • thinking is independent of experience
  • Thinking is reversible
  • Rules of logic are developed
4. Formal Operations: 11-maturity
  • Higher level of abstraction
  • Construction of ideals
  • Planning for future
  • Thinks hypothetically
  • De-centers through interactions with peers and elders
  • Assumes adult roles and responsibilities

Freud & Structural Theory

Three internal structures guide personality functioning - the id, ego, and superego.

Id: the seat of primitive drives and instinctual needs
  • impulses
  • primary process thinking
  • unconscious
  • discharges tension
Ego: the mediator between drives (id) & external reality, the moderator between drives (id) & internalized prohibition (superego); the ego has an adaptive capacity in relation to external reality
  • Functions of the ego:
  • reality testing
  • judgment
  • modulating and controlling impulses
  • modulating affect
  • object relations
  • regulating self-esteem
  • mastering development challenges
Superego: the seat of the conscience & the ego ideals, the moral authority
  • uses internal and external rewards or punishments to control and regulate id impulses

Five Psychosocial Stages

1. Oral: birth - 2 years. The focus of gratification is the mouth (through nursing as well as exploring one's world by putting objects in the mouth). Weaning is an important experience during this stage, as it teaches the child about loss, and the lack of immediate gratification.

2. Anal: 2-3 years. The key experience here is toilet training, which forces some reconciliation between the id (which desires immediate gratification, easily found through eliminating upon desire in diapers) and the parents.

3. Phallic: 4-6 years. The focus of gratification in this stage is the gentials. The gratification found in this stage is not adult sexuality, but exploration. The key experience/conflict in this stage is the Oedipal Conflict, in which the child desires the attention of a parent and recognizes the other parent as a source of competition. The id is suppressed by the ego in this stage.

4. Latency: 7-10 years. Sexual drives lay dormant in this stage as the id has been suppressed by the ego. In the latency stage, pleasure is related to secondary process thinking and is no longer related to immediate gratification.

5. Genital: 11 years +: This stage lasts from puberty through the rest of development. The major task of this stage is detaching from the parents & finding appropriate sexual outlets.

an update

hello hello to anyone who stumbles upon this blog! it's been 7 months since I started this blog and a whole lot has happened since then! I got a job and put off taking my licensure exam until the very last minute - my eligibility expires on February 5 & I'll be taking the exam on Saturday, January 30. I'm not sure how much more I'll have the time or energy to post, but I figured I might as well make the most of this study resource.