Psychoanalytical Theory

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Psychoanalysis is a theory that describes how the human brain works. It is concerned with the unconscious psychological functioning. Sigmund Feud was the proponent of the hypothesis (1856-1939). According to Freud, the unconscious aspects of the brain shape human personality and actions. Psychoanalysis facilitates the expression of this unconscious aspect in order to achieve optimal mental functioning (American Psychological Association). Defense notions from Freud's psychoanalysis have become important pillars in psychotherapy. The paper will explore defense displacement and sublimation principles and present examples for each circumstance.

Defense systems are an important part of our daily lives. Displacement as an element of defense is where people transfer their emotional feeling to something else other than the trigger of such emotions. For instance, if people get angry over some situations at school or work, they may choose to redirect their emotions on something else like punching the wall or breaking the window at home. People often shift their focus from there source of resentment to a different thing that they imagine will lead to less harm (Whitbourne, 2017).

Another mechanism of defense is sublimation. This form of defense mechanism occurs when people channel negative emotions into something productive. In other terms, sublimation is the conversion of negative impulses into an element that is positive. For instance, if people are too controlling by nature, they may become successful leader and entrepreneurs. Another instance is when a person directs strong sexual desires into doing other useful activities like singing and engaging in outdoor sports (Whitbourne, 2017).

Apart from displacement and sublimation, there are other defense mechanisms that people use to cope with difficult situations. When people are faced with stressful situations, some form of mental energy is created. Displacement helps direct the energy to something that is less harmful while sublimation transforms the energy into actions that are acceptable.


American Psychological Association. (n.d). Psychoanalysis in Psychology. Retrieved Oct. 24, 2016, from

Whitbourne, S.K. (2017). The Essential Guide to Defense Mechanisms. Psychology Today. Retrieved Oct. 24, 2016, from age/201110/the-essential-guide-defense-mechanisms

April 26, 2023

Psychology Science


Scientific Method Biology

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Psychoanalysis Theory Brain

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