Sigmund Freud described several compoents which have been very influential in understanding personality.

Three levels of awareness
Freud identified three different parts of the mind, based on our level of awareness.

Conscious mind
The conscious mind is where we are paying attention at the moment. It includes only our current thinking processes and objects of attention, and hence constitutes a very large part of our current awareness.

Preconscious mind
The preconscious includes those things of which we are aware, but where we are not paying attention. We can choose to pay attention to these and deliberately bring them into the conscious mind. We can control our awareness to a certain extent, from focusing in very closely on one conscious act to a wider awareness that seeks to expand consciousness to include as much of preconscious information as possible.

Subconscious mind
At the subconscious level, the process and content are out of direct reach of the conscious mind. The subconscious thus thinks and acts independently. One of Freud's key findings was that much behavior is driven directly from the subconscious mind. This has the alarming consequence that we are largely unable to control our behavior, and in particular that which we would sometimes prefer to avoid. More recent research has shown that the subconscious mind is probably even more in charge of our actions than even Freud had realized.

Three components of personality
Clinical psychologist Don Bannister has described Freud's position on the human personality as being: "...basically a battlefield. He is a dark-cellar in which a well-bred spinster lady (the superego) and a sex-crazed monkey (the id) are forever engaged in mortal combat, the struggle being refereed by a rather nervous bank clerk (the ego)."

Thus an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are the result of the interaction of the id, the superego, and the ego. This creates conflict, which creates anxiety, which leads to Defense Mechanisms.

The Id contains our primitive drives and operates largely according to the pleasure principle, whereby its two main goals are the seeking of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. It has no real perception of reality and seeks to satisfy its needs through what Freud called the primary processes that dominate the existence of infants, including hunger and self-protection. The energy for the Id's actions come from libido, which is the energy storehouse. The id has 2 major instincts:
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Eros: the life instinct that motivates people to focus on pleasure-seeking tendencies (e.g., sexual urges). Thanatos: the death instinct that motivates people to use aggressive urges to destroy.

Unlike the Id, the Ego is aware of reality and hence operates via the reality principle, whereby it recognizes what is real and understands that behaviors have consequences. This includes the effects of social rules that are necessary in order to live and socialize with other people. It uses secondary processes (perception, recognition, judgment and memory) that are developed during childhood. The dilemma of the Ego is that it has to somehow balance the demands of the Id and Super ego with the constraints of reality. The Ego controls higher mental processes such as reasoning and problem-solving, which it uses to solve the Id-Super ego dilemma, creatively finding ways to safely satisfy the Id's basic urges within the constraints of the Super ego.

Super ego
The Super ego contains our values and social morals, which often come from the rules of right and wrong that we learned in childhood from our parents (this is Freud, remember) and are contained in the conscience. The Super ego has a model of an ego ideal and which it uses as a prototype against which to compare the ego (and towards which it encourages the ego to move).

The Super ego is a counterbalance to the Id, and seeks to inhibit the Id's pleasure-seeking demands, particularly those for sex and aggression.

Energy and Cathexis
Freud viewed the forces on us as a form of energy, with energy from the senses being converted into psychic energy in the personality through a topographic model that takes sensed energy, filters it through various associative metaphors, then passes it through the unconscious and preconscious before it finally reaches the conscious mind.

This is the investment of energy in the image of an object, or the expenditure of energy in discharge action upon such an object. It occurs in the Id.

This is the investment of energy in mental representations of reality through associations and metaphors, which is needed for the Ego's secondary processes. It occurs in the Ego.

This is energy used to block object-cathexes of the Id. Repression occurs in the battle between cathexis and anti-cathexis. It occurs in the Ego and Super Ego.

So what?
Although later theories have improved understanding, Freud's ideas still provide a useful model for the more complex actions that are really going on. To persuade, you can appeal either to the basic urges of the Id or the higher morals of the Super ego. Then encourage the Ego to make the 'right choice'. Values is a confusing word that often gets confused with 'value' as in the value you get from buying a cheap, but well-built house. Values are, in fact powerful drivers of how we think and behave.

About values
• • • • •

Value categories: different spheres into which we place values. Values, Morals and Ethics: splits hairs between these three rule-sets. Value of values: what are they for? Values types: there are two types of values: instrumental and end-state. Stress values: we use different values when we are under stress.

Values are also often a significant element of culture. From this: • • • Beware of the values in practice which can be harmful to you (will they betray you?). If I maintain my values when tempted to break them. Values in Action (VIA): Values from Positive Psychology. I will feel repulsed. The Seven Deadly Sins: Pope Gregory's anti-list. Schwartz's Value Inventory: research-based set of common values. The Seven Virtues: The counterpoint to the sins. Nicomachean Ethics: Aristotle's masterwork. When I break my values. Find values that can act as persuasion levers.Historical values • • • • • • • • American values: A list of traditional US cultural values. I will feel pride. If you break my values. Defense Mechanisms . Five Common Human Concerns: Kohl's beliefs/concerns. The Ten Commandments: Basic Christian values. So what? Know the the values to which the other person will subscribe (these are often common sense) as well as the actual values they enact in practice (watch them for this). Research on values • • • • • Career Anchors: identified by Edgar Schein as shapers of what we do. Know the values that if you transgress will lead to betrayal responses from them. If you act in a way which supports their values they will increase their trust in you. Prudentius' seven virtues: Source of Christian virtues. Governing Values: common modern values identified by Chris Argyris at Harvard. Franklin's Thirteen Virtues: Ben Franklin's advice for good people. Aristotle's Ethics: Values from the classical world. I will feel shame and guilt. where they form a part of the shared ruleset of a group.

Anxiety and tension Freud noted that a major drive for most people is the reduction in tension. If this is not fruitful (and maybe anyway). leading to eventual punishment (this is thus a form of Moral Anxiety). running away from the dog or simply refusing to go up the ladder. In Freud's language. Reality Anxiety This is the most basic form of anxiety and is typically based on fears of real and possible events. . or otherwise falsify reality. the mind first responds by an increase in problem-solving thinking. and that a major cause of tension was anxiety. a range of defense mechanisms may be triggered. Defense Mechanisms When anxiety occurs.Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Defense Mechanisms Anxiety and tension | Defense Mechanisms | So what? Sigmund Freud describes how the Ego uses a range of mechanisms to handle the conflict between the Id. He identified three different types of anxiety. these are tactics which the Ego develops to help deal with the Id and the Super Ego. such as being bitten by a dog or falling from a ladder. seeking rational ways of escaping the situation. All Defense Mechanisms share two common properties : • • They often appear unconsciously. Neurotic Anxiety This is a form of anxiety which comes from an unconscious fear that the basic impulses of the ID (the primitive part of our personality) will take control of the person. and appears as feelings of guilt or shame. They tend to distort. The most common way of reducing tension from Reality Anxiety is taking oneself away from the situation. the Ego and the Super ego. Moral Anxiety This form of anxiety comes from a fear of violating values and moral codes. which is why these mechanisms are often called 'Ego defense mechanisms'. transform.

Projection: attributing uncomfortable feelings to others. You should also watch for these mechanisms in yourself. Repression: pushing uncomfortable thoughts into the subconscious. Sublimation: redirecting 'wrong' urges into socially acceptable actions. there is a change in perception which allows for a lessening of anxiety. Reaction Formation: overacting in the opposite way to the fear. Rationalization: creating false but credible justifications. fears and thoughts back to the conscious level of awareness. Intellectualization: taking an objective viewpoint. So what? Psychoanalysis often involves a long series of sessions with the client in which original causes are sought out (often searching through childhood relationships) and cathartic experiences of realization are used to teach the client how these mechanisms are no longer appropriate. In persuasion. with a corresponding reduction in felt tension. and either learn to handle them or get professional help in doing so. For Freud. Freud's Defense Mechanisms include: • • • • • • • • • Denial: claiming/believing that what is true to be actually false. Two techniques he used are free association and dream analysis. Displacement: redirecting emotions to a substitute target. Denial Explanations > Behaviors > Coping mechanisms > Denial Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description . He also analyzed and interpreted the various defense mechanisms.In distorting reality. He considered dreams as the "royal road" to the unconscious. Regression: going back to acting as a child. the purpose of psychoanalysis was to bring repressed memories. you can watch for these dysfunctional mechanisms in people and either work around them or with them as appropriate.

So what? When you appear to deny a situation. Denial is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms. where stressful thoughts are banned from memory. It may also have a significant conscious element. behaving in ways that others may see as bizarre. and sufferers may be as mystified by the behavior of people around them as those people are by the behavior of the sufferers. . If I do not think about it. people engaging in Denial can pay a high cost in terms of the psychic energy needed to maintain the denial state. etc. as with age. In its full form. Children find denial easier. Optimists deny that things may go wrong. and yet refuses to believe it. still setting the table for her and keeping her clothes and other accoutrements in the bedroom. other people. where the sufferer is simply 'turning a blind eye' to an uncomfortable situation. A person having an affair does not think about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. People take credit for their successes and find 'good reason' for their failures. Example A man hears that his wife has been killed. then I do not suffer the associated stress have to deal with it. Pessimists deny they may succeed. blaming the situation. Alcoholics vigorously deny that they have a problem. Discussion Denial is a form of repression. it is totally subconscious.Denial is simply refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred. However. the ego matures and understands more about the "objective reality" it must operate within. then the other person may join you in the denial or may have to handle it in a way that is not as direct as they otherwise might. The person affected simply acts as if nothing has happened. Repression and Denial are two primary defense mechanisms which everybody uses.

Discussion Displacement occurs when the Id wants to do something of which the Super ego does not permit. becoming a gourmet. goes out with another man 'on the rebound'. Where possible the second target will resemble the original target in some way. I want to speak at a meeting but cannot get a word in edgeways. he goes and kicks the dog. the action itself may also change. . I start scribbling furiously. It turns out to be a displaced fear of his father. A woman. A boy is afraid of horses. A religious person who is sexually frustrated focuses their attention on food. The Ego thus finds some other way of releasing the psychic energy of the Id. rejected by her boyfriend. Where this is not feasible. Phobias may also use displacement as a mechanism for releasing energy that is caused in other ways. Example The boss gets angry and shouts at me. Instead.Displacement Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Displacement Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Displacement is the shifting of actions from a desired target to a substitute target when there is some reason why the first target is not permitted or not available. With nobody left to displace anger onto. A man wins the lottery. He turns to the person next to him and gives the person a big kiss. Displacement may involve retaining the action and simply shifting the target of that action. She then shouts at our son. I go home and shout at my wife.

not the displaced reason. work with them to find if there are other places from which they are displacing their energy . By using complex terminology. Attend to your own displacements. So what? When people do strange things. If I want to shout at a person but feel that I cannot. You probably have quite a few. where the person avoids uncomfortable emotions by focusing on facts and logic.then deal with the real reason. whilst the emotional aspects are completely ignored as being irrelevant. Dreams can be interpreted as the displacement of stored tensions into other forms (dreams are often highly metaphoric). although this may still be used if there is no other way I can release my anger. Displaced actions tend to be to into related areas or subjects. Jargon is often used as a device of intellectualization. The situation is treated as an interesting problem that engages the person on a rational basis. the focus becomes on the words and finer definitions rather than the human effects. then shouting at somebody else is preferred to going to play the piano. as do most of us. Displacements are often quite satisfactory and workable mechanisms for releasing energy more safely. . Displacement is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms. Intellectualization Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Intellectualization Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Intellectualization is a 'flight into reason'.Thus there is a transfer of energy from a repressed object-cathexis to a more acceptable object.

they may fight back (which is attack.Example A person told they have cancer asks for details on the probability of survival and the success rates of various drugs. The doctor may join in. Projection Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Projection . only that they are unable to handle the emotion at this time. and that intellectualization allows for the conscious analysis of an event in a way that does not provoke anxiety. A woman who has been raped seeks out information on other cases and the psychology of rapists and victims. A person who is in heavily debt builds a complex spreadsheet of how long it would take to repay using different payment options and interest rates. Freud believed that memories have both conscious and unconscious aspects. Discussion Intellectualization protects against anxiety by repressing the emotions connected with an event. another form of defense) or switch to other forms of defense. using 'carcinoma' instead of 'cancer' and 'terminal' instead of 'fatal'. So what? When people treat emotionally difficult situations in cold and logical ways. although you may also decide to challenge them in a more appropriate time and setting. It is also known as 'Isolation of affect' as the affective elements are removed from the situation. Intellectualization is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms. When you challenge a person who is intellectualizing. She takes self-defense classes in order to feel better (rather than more directly addressing the psychological and emotional issues). it often does not mean that they are emotionally stunted. You can decide to give them space now so they can maintain their dignity.

Example I do not like another person. The super ego warns of punishment if that somewhere is internal. Thus we see our friends as being more like us than they really are. and in doing so we allow ourselves to ignore those attributes they have with which we are uncomfortable. think and feel in the same way as you. Discussion Projecting thoughts or emotions onto others allows the person to consider them and how dysfunctional they are. but without feeling the attendant discomfort of knowing that these thoughts and emotions are their own.Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description When a person has uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. A woman who is attracted to a fellow worker accuses the person of sexual advances. So I project onto them that they do not like me. • • • Neurotic projection is perceiving others as operating in ways one unconsciously finds objectionable in yourself. We can thus criticize the other person.often in convenient other people. Complementary projection is assuming that others do. But I have a value that says I should like everyone. distancing ourselves from our own dysfunction. Complimentary projection is assuming that others can do things as well as you. This allows me to avoid them and also to handle my own feelings of dislike. they may project these onto other people. Projection may also happen to obliterate attributes of other people with which we are uncomfortable. An unfaithful husband suspects his wife of infidelity. Projection also appears where we see our own traits in other people. . One explanation is that the ego perceives dysfunction from 'somewhere' and then seeks to locate that somewhere. as in the false consensus effect. so the ego places it in a more acceptable external place . assigning the thoughts or feelings that they need to repress to a convenient alternative target. We assume that they are like us.

When you see others in a negative light. When others are using projection. When there is limited information on which to base a good estimate. We will use false consensus more when we attribute our own behavior to external factors as these are the . and so on are shared by other people. avoid projecting your woes onto them. for example where a person claims that they are sticking up for themselves amongst a group of aggressive other people. Empathy. think: are you projecting? Also understand that when others criticizing you. attitudes. etc. False Consensus Effect Explanations > Theories > False Consensus Effect Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References Description We tend to overestimate how the degree to which our own behavior. So what? To work authentically with other people. beliefs. As usual. are also very available). which is easier to deal with. Projection is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms.Projection turns neurotic or moral anxiety into reality anxiety. and we use the Availability Heuristic to deduce that many other people are similar (our own beliefs. Projection helps justify unacceptable behavior. This may be because our friends and people we spend time with are indeed like us. you can hold up a mirror to show them what they are doing. Projection is a common attribute of paranoia. may be considered as a 'reverse' form of projection. this may well be met with other forms of resistance. where a person experiences the perceived emotions of others. where people project dislike of themselves onto others such that they believe that most other people dislike them. then what we believe is a fair alternative to a wild guess. they may well be criticizing a projection of themselves. Identification may also be a form of reverse projection. where a person projects other people onto themselves.

When we are largely sure we are correct. Other people are very often taken in by such false empathy as they see it as normal that you are like them. rather than complete data. . we use this for judging frequency or likelihood of events. attitudes and beliefs. Example Romantic relationships between people often start off with a glow as hormones and False Consensus overshadow real differences.same factors which presumed to affect others. The matter at hand is seen as being important to the person. the cloud-9 effect eventually wears off as the loving couple eventually discover that they are not. Research Ross and colleagues asked students to walk around campus with a sign saying ‘Eat at Joe’s’. However. Availability Heuristic Explanations > Theories > Availability Heuristic Description | Research | So What? | See also | References Description We make a judgment based on what we can remember. that similar (and in fact often are amazingly incompatible!). False consensus is stronger when: • • • The behavior is seen to come from strong situational factors. In particular. So what? Using it Build rapport by assuming their behavior. Those who agreed said that 62% of other people would agree to carry the sign. False consensus also helps reinforce my own motivations. after all. Those who disagreed said that 67% would not carry the sign.

making these thoughts unavailable. Research Schwartz (1991) asked some people for six examples when they had been assertive (most could think of six). Make those things that you do not want them to use vague. abstract. We have thus been primed by the news. Is it because of information you have recently received? Who from? Why did they give it to you? Rationalization Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Rationalization Description | Example | Discussion | So what? . The ‘six’ people scored themselves higher because their available data had a greater proportion of being assertive. many women will be more nervous about going out alone at night. which few people could think of. pause and think why you are deciding as you are. This may also be why we can seem egocentric: because our own experiences are more available to us. He then asked other people for twelve examples. complex or uncomfortable. After a news feature about a rape case. for example with repetition and visual language.Because we remember recent experiences or reports. Things which are easier to imagine. Various factors can affect availability. Defending When making important decisions. for example if they are very vivid makes themselves more available. then the news has a significant effect on our decisions. So What? Using it Make those things which you want the person to use for decision-making (perhaps at a later date) vivid and very easy to bring to mind. He then asked both how assertive they were. increasing the accessibility of this information. Things which are uncomfortable to think about can push people into denial.

It may also be used when something happens independent of us which causes us discomfort.Description When something happens that we find difficult to accept. This is related to our need to explain what happens. The target of rationalization is usually something that we have done. The bully rationalizes what they have done by saying that their victim 'deserved it'. then the ego seeks to defend itself by adding reasons that make the action acceptable to the super ego. then we will make up a logical reason why it has happened. We rationalize to ourselves. . A man buys a expensive car and then tells people his old car was very unreliable. I tell a passer-by that I have recently been ill. Our need for esteem also leads us to rationalize to others. very unsafe. such as when a friend is unkind to us. Thus we are able to do something that is outside our values and get away with it without feeling too guilty. even those we do not know. such as being unkind to another person. Discussion When a person does something of which the moral super ego disapproves. A parent punishes a child and says that it is for the child's 'own good'. etc. Self-Serving Bias uses rationalization when it leads to taking more credit for success than we deserve and blame others for our failures. I trip and fall over in the street. We also find it very important to rationalize to other people. A person fails to get good enough results to get into a chosen university and then says that they didn't want to go there anyway. Example A person evades paying taxes and then rationalizes it by talking about how the government wastes money (and how it is better for people to keep what they can). Rationalization happens with bullies and victims.

If I fear that I will be criticized for something. If you can be honest with yourself and with other people. such as with teenagers and parents. A mother who has a child she does not want becomes very protective of the child. offer people logical reasons that people can use to rationalize their compliance with your arguments. A common pattern in Reaction Formation is where the person uses ‘excessive behavior’. Reaction Formation Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Reaction Formation Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Reaction Formation occurs when a person feels an urge to do or say something and then actually does or says something that is effectively the opposite of what they really want. So what? Watch for your own rationalizations. It also appears as a defense against a feared social punishment. . I very visibly act in a way that shows I am personally a long way from the feared position. you can gain esteem for your courage and integrity. Sometimes people disagree simply because they do not want to agree with you.Rationalization is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms. for example using exaggerated friendliness when the person is actually feeling unfriendly. so give them reasons to focus on the substance rather than the persuader. In persuasion. Example A person who is angry with a colleague actually ends up being particularly courteous and friendly towards them. or perhaps do not like to feel persuaded. A man who is gay has a number of conspicuous heterosexual affairs and openly criticizes gays.

where the person becomes trapped in a cycle of repeating a behavior that they know (at least at a deep level) is somehow wrong. To cause a Reaction Formation pattern. Reaction formation is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms. Reaction Formation thus can turn homosexual tendencies (love men) to homophobic ones (hate men). So what? When a person takes a position or stance on something. Then support their changing of position to somewhere that is more acceptable and appropriate for them. Freud called the exaggerated compensation that can appear in Reaction Formation ‘overboarding’ as the person is going overboard in one direction to distract from and cover up something unwanted in the other direction. show the other person that a particular behavior is socially unacceptable. help a person who is dysfunctionally forming contrary reactions by first create a supportive environment where they can admit and accept what is happening to themselves. and particularly if that position is extreme. Then give them the space and ideas to react against this undesirable pattern and create their own way of showing how they are actually very far away from the undesirable behavior. Simply showing . such as a person who fears war becoming a pacifist. This offers you two options in persuasion. Remember that defense mechanisms are usually symptoms of deeper problems and addressing them directly can be ineffective or even counter-productive. In a therapeutic situation. Discussion A cause of Reaction Formation is when a person seeks to cover up something unacceptable by adopting an opposite stance. For example the gay person who has heterosexually promiscuous may be concealing their homosexual reality. convincing themselves that war is wrong (rather than the ‘cowardly’ position that war is scary). Extreme patterns of Reaction Formation are found in paranoia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).An alcoholic extols the virtues of abstinence. This may be a conscious concealment but also may well occur at the subconscious level such that they do not realize the real cause of their behavior. Reaction Formation goes further than projection such that unwanted impulses and thoughts are not acknowledged. You can either support their current position or carefully expose how their underlying tendencies are opposite (and how it is ok to admit this). consider the possibility that their real views are opposite to this.

the person that their position is opposed to their real feelings can just cause deeper entrenchment. or where an all-powerful parent would take them away. A college student carefully takes their teddy-bear with them (and goes to sleep cuddling it). such as a person who is sucking a pen (as a Freudian regression to oral fixation). or may be more dysfunctional. with greater levels of stress potentially leading to more overt regressive acts. A person who suffers a mental breakdown assumes a fetal position. such as crying or using petulant arguments.. Regression Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Regression Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Regression involves taking the position of a child in some problematic situation. A child suddenly starts to wet the bed after years of not doing so (this is a typical response to the arrival of a new sibling). Example A wife refuses to drive a car even though it causes the family much disorganization. A result of her refusal is that her husband has to take her everywhere. rather than acting in a more adult way. . rocking and crying. This is usually in response to stressful situations. Discussion Regression is a form of retreat. going back to a time when the person felt safer and where the stresses in question were not known. Regressive behavior can be simple and harmless. you should first work on their primary conflict. Before this.

So what? If the person with whom you are working is showing regressive symptoms. They can have an accumulative effect and reappear as unattributable anxiety or dysfunctional behavior.In a Freudian view. you can respond to their child state in several ways. The level of 'forgetting' in repression can vary from a temporary abolition of uncomfortable thoughts to a high level of amnesia. including: • • • Oral fixation can lead to increase smoking or eating. Regression is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms. including taking a parent position of authority (nurturing or controlling) or join them in their child place (thus building alignment). where events that caused the anxiety are buried very deep. either planning to deal with them at another time or hoping that they will fade away on their own accord. the stress of fixations caused by frustrations of the person’s past psychosexual development may be used to explain a range of regressive behaviors. Thus when things occur that we are unable to cope with now. Obsessive-compulsive disorders can occur including those that lead to cruelty. A high level of repression . or miserliness Phallic fixation can lead to conversion hysteria (the transformation of psychic energy into physical symptoms) which is disguised sexual impulses. Anal fixation can lead to anal retentive behaviors such as tidying and fastidiousness. extreme orderliness. Repression Explanations > Behaviours > Coping > Repression Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Repression involves placing uncomfortable thoughts in relatively inaccessible areas of the subconscious mind. or vocal actions including verbal abuse. we push them away. Repressed memories do not disappear.

Discussion Repression (sometimes called motivated forgetting) is a primary ego defense mechanism since the other ego mechanisms use it in tandem with other methods. Repressed memories may appear through subconscious means and in altered forms. It is not all bad. i. think about the repressions that may be at the root of their problem. although this may also be caused by the repression of one particularly traumatic incident.e. Also listen for speech errors and other signals from the . such as dreams or slips of the tongue ('Freudian slips'). If all uncomfortable memories were easily brought to mind we would be faced with a non-stop pain of reliving them. repression is the restraining of a cathexis by an anti-cathexis. Repression is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms and.. So what? When a person is being defensive in some way. the goal of treatment. A man has a phobia of spiders but cannot remember the first time he was afraid of them. In Freudian terminology. Example A child who is abused by a parent later has no recollection of the events. was to bring repressed memories. Repression is unconscious. When we deliberately and consciously try to push away thoughts. A person greets another with 'pleased to beat you' (the repressed idea of violence toward the other person creeping through)..can cause a high level of anxiety or dysfunction. A woman who found childbirth particularly painful continues to have children (and each time the level of pain is surprising). An optimist remembers the past with a rosy glow and constantly repeats mistakes..'. fears and thoughts back to the conscious level of awareness. to him. but has trouble forming relationships. this is suppression. Thus defense is often 'repression + . of psychoanalysis..

as we sublimate the desire to fight into the ritualistic activities of formal competition. This is a surprisingly common attribute of persuasive situations. . of course . When we are faced with the dissonance of uncomfortable thoughts.done wrong. you may find that they act as if nothing had happened. Sublimation Explanations > Behaviours > Coping > Sublimation Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Sublimation is the transformation of unwanted impulses into something less harmful. A person who has an obsessive need for control and order becomes a successful business entrepreneur. A person with strong sexual urges becomes an artist. I end up with a useful pile of firewood. I go out and chop wood. This has to go somewhere. Sublimation channels this energy away from destructive acts and into something that is socially acceptable and/or creatively effective. Example I am angry. but can build up problems for later. Help a person recover from the discomfort and dysfunction that repression brings by digging out the original memory. Many sports and games are sublimations of aggressive urges. You can even start a conversation about recent weird dreams and then listen for further symbols. I am also fitter and nobody is harmed. Be very careful with this. This can simply be a distracting release or may be a constructive and valuable piece of work. It can gain compliance in the shorter term. as dreams can be very symbolic. it may only cause more pain.subconscious. If you have caused a person stress and they feel unable to respond. we create psychic energy. though be careful with this.

. less constructive. for example by their sexual advances or aggressive outbursts. Beware of 'on the boundary' activities (including your own) where sublimated energy may switch back into unwanted or anti-social activities or other. Transference is. A surgeon turns aggressive energies and deep desires to cut people into life-saving acts. Transference Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Transference Transference is.A man who has extra-marital desires takes up household repairs when his wife is out of town.. Freud believed that the greatest achievements in civilization were due to the effective sublimation of our sexual and aggressive urges that are sourced in the Id and then channeled by the Ego as directed by the Super ego. | Three types of transference | So what? Transference was identified by Sigmund Freud when he noticed that his patients often seemed to fall in love with him . Fortunately.. coping mechanisms.including the men. he considered such as painting as a potentially sublimated desire to smear one's own faeces. Sublimation is one of Freud's original defense mechanisms.. In his more basic musings. Discussion Sublimation is probably the most useful and constructive of the defense mechanisms as it takes the energy of something that is potentially harmful and turns it to doing something good and useful. So what? Help others who are causing themselves and others problems.. to re-channel their energies into more constructive activities.. he realized that this was caused by something other than his magnetic personality. .

In the way we tend to become the person that others assume we are. They reassure us that all will be well if we do as they tell us. and the threat of separation is very powerful. they recreate unity by holding us and making us feel as one. This can have both positive and negative outcomes. but you will also expect me to love and care for you. This transfers both power and also expectation.Transference occurs when a person takes the perceptions and expectations of one person and projects them onto another person.g. Mothers also are the source of ultimate authority. especially if the transference gives them power or makes them feel good in some way. Mothers appear in myth as both the fairy godmother and also the wicked witch. They protect us and tell us what to do. They know many things. a company CEO. In our early years in particular. Types of transference Paternal transference When we create paternal transference. where 'father knows best' and the pattern is one of trust and compliance. I can tell you what to do. powerful and protective. and we often have ambiguous relationships with them. They then interact with the other person as if the other person is that transferred pattern. authoritative and wise. Fathers are powerful. They make us feel safe. and so take on roles of babies more than children. When we regard higher-level leaders (e. we turn the other person into either our father or an idealized father-figure.or five-year old child. After the separation of birth. the person who has patterns transferred onto them may collaborate play the game. We often transfer as a four. mothers are the source of unconditional love. such a parent. or an idealized figure or prototype. Male managers in companies often encourage paternal transference by taking on the mantle and behaviors of classic fathers. They speak with authority. the pattern projected onto the other person comes from a childhood relationship. They provide a sense of control in our lives. This may be from an actual person. If you treat me as a parent. They assume wisdom. We can also become Oedipal in our desire to be the sole focus of attention of our mothers. the transference may be as a baby. Typically. Maternal transference We develop relationships with our mothers at much earlier dates. . where the father is distant.

People with preferences for sibling transference work well in horizontal. Who do you want others to be? How are you thus interacting with people? Then decide what transference you want others to put on you. When they see that you are threatened by the same things that they are. We also form idealized prototypes. or they will seek the protection of a parent (unless. and transfer these patterns onto others. that is what you are seeking). Other transference We also transfer non-familial patterns onto other people. who then become disillusioned when this does not happen (hence the manager becomes cast as a witch). A note: Bill Clinton was the subject of sibling transference more than other US Presidents. you also need to show that you are wise and protective. This is an increasingly significant pattern as families fracture and mothers spend long hours at work and are often away from the child during the critical early years. Women managers often have excessive expectation put on them that they will nurture their staff. You can promote sibling transference by creating a common enemy. they may have a doctor pattern transferred onto them. as they do not fall into the leader-seeking behaviors of parental transference. either with brothers/sisters or with friends. Sibling transference When parents are absent in our childhood. This can also lead to greater anarchy as we ignore leaders and work through networks rather than needing a controlling authoritarian hierarchy. Thus we form stereotypes. and often as we think they should be. with more primitive and emotional elements than paternal transference. He could thus get away with being the 'naughty older brother' that is secretly admired for his boldness. So what? First. for example of policemen. notice the patterns of transference in yourself. Thus when a person is hurt in the street and another stops to help. of course. team-based organizations. Remember the reciprocal nature of this: if you want to appear as a father who is unquestioningly obeyed. however. we may substitute these with sibling relationships. .Maternal transference is thus often deeper. priests. mother or sibling? Start behaving in the pattern and you are likely to create the relevant transference. of course. Do you want to be a father. In fact we invariably treat others not as they are but as we think they are. and project these onto people when we need the appropriate roles. Don't. make the enemy too scary. doctors and teachers. they will identify with you more as a peer than as a leader.

. Being unable to control the illness can be even more painful than impending death. you will soon fall into a power battle for control of the conversation and the agenda. deep need that people have for a sense of control. Control is a deep. That people (including ourselves) and things are consistent. this is not so much about how to control people as about their needs for control. of being unable to do anything about it. Understanding of how things work. The real secret is the deep. Our deep subconscious mind thus gives us strong biochemical prods when we face some kind of danger (see Fight-or-Flight reaction). By managing their sense of control. Other needs that lead to a sense of control include: • • • • • A sense of certainty. if we are in control of our environment. When we feel out of control. we experience a powerful and uncomfortable tension between the need for control and the evidence of inadequate control. with the particular revelation that when lower level needs are not met. you can achieve far greater actual control. is the feeling of powerlessness. then higher-level needs will be abandoned in favor of shoring up the deeper needs. so we don't have to worry about them. One of the most disturbing things about having a terminal illness.The need for: Control Explanations > Needs > Control Control is a deep. deep need | The control trap | So what? No. then we have a far better chance of survival.. Being able to predict what will happen. From an evolutionary standpoint. as those who unfortunately suffer from such afflictions will tell you. deep need Perhaps the deepest need people have is for control. If you ignore this. Maslow revisited Psychologist Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs. Completion of outstanding things.

. Control is embedded in much of what we do Look around and watch what people do. Why do we have them? They exist to reassure people everything is as it was and to provide a familiar framework for our daily lives. the more important control is. and even in our social environments. We work hard to control disease and our susceptibility to it. When our parents or our managers are controlling us. we don't actually need to be in control all of the time. Rituals. Being ill gives a terrible sense of being out of control. In fact many people actively seek parent-figures in all walks of their life who will provide this control. Likewise for having a roof over our head (or not).Take a look at the needs: Notice how control is important within this. A significant portion of our everyday activity is related to achieving our much-needed sense of control. Not control. just the sense In fact. What we really seek is a sense of control. and especially how. we can still be happy because we trust them to provide the control we seek in our lives. are everywhere. for example. When seek the advice of experts and obey those in authority. we are depending on them for our sense of control. the lower you go.

you can evoke the reciprocity principle. take the product and leave. The control trap There is a trap into which many sales people and other would-be persuaders fall. Let it out too far and the line will snag or the fish will swim away. A point which is initially accepted is later rejected at what gets seen as unfair punishment. you still have hold of the reins. Grabbing control causes resistance When I grab control of the conversation. we feel a sense of control. It is only through a sometimes-long process of give and take. such that the other person will willingly give up control of the conversation to redress the social balance. but you will not get true persuasion. what is right and wrong. . you will get increasingly frustrated as you wait for a pause in which you can respond. able to understand and predict the things around them. Pull to hard and the fish will slip the hook. what is good and bad. where and how you give control. This can be done by making things uncertain and inconsistent. So what? So manage the other person's sense of control by changing those things that make them certain. having allowed them to exercise control. It is possible that you get temporary compliance. you steadily reel in your fish. by choosing when. First.Social norms and values tell us what to do. talking past the point when you want to reply. When everyone in the group follows the rules. You have defined the cage in which the other person can play. This pitfall is to try to hold tightly to the reins of control throughout the whole process. Fishing is a delicate game The control game is much like fly fishing. Secondly. Sales people do this when they insist on going through the whole sales pitch even when the customer just wants to pay. Taking direct control of a conversation or situation does not persuade. Giving control to get control Giving up control gets control in two ways. Parents do it when they over-do the lectures to their children.

Because we make our easiest decisions by contrasting two things at one time. that they have controlled their environment. you are still in overall control. that they have been successful. when you are directing the action. and give them a simple choice ('Do you want the red one or the yellow one. Give them choice When people exercise choice. This will speed the point at which they will give you back the talking stick. because this makes the decision harder and can thus lead to a reduced sense of control. the best number of options to give is two. letting them talk. Don't give them too much choice. actively doing something. Just having them talk is itself a great persuader. Reflecting People often keep talking because they are not sure that you have really understood what they have said.As someone said long ago. Open questions give people the floor. One of the most common sales closes is the alternative close. Give them something to do The corollary of questioning is to give them something active to do. Just like when they are talking. This can be a scary step and can indeed lose all control. ensuring that whatever they choose gives you an advantage.'). When you reflect back to people what they have told you. When people talk about something themselves. in order that ye shall receive'. where you assume the other person is ready to buy. Open questions Closed questions do not give control. So give them a choice. you show them that you have heard. especially when they have choice. In fact they can seem very controlling. so choose the question well to contain their response and possibly even give you information. they are controlling their environment. . But you are the person who asked the question. As with questioning. gives a sense of control. 'Give. they are far more likely to believe in it than if they just sit back and listen to you.

What I do and what I believe I am. What I think of myself and what others think of me. Emotions that are felt as tension include: irritation. where your muscles tense up involuntarily.Tension principle Principles > Tension principle Principle | How it works | So what Principle I will act to reduce the tension gaps I feel. wishing. Although usually internally sensed as an emotion. It may seem very simple. like the hooks at either end of a stretched rubber band. longing. anticipation. What is good and what is bad. it actually is physical tension. hunger. Between two things Tension happens between two things. anger. The creation of tension is thus the identification of two contrasting items and the communication of this difference to the person being persuaded. It is uncomfortable and makes you want to do something to reduce the tension. What about all those retail displays that show you the things you don't have? How about babies crying in a pitch that nature has tuned to crawl up your spine? How it feels Tension is a feeling. but this is the bare core of most persuasion methods. Think of the 'good cop-bad cop' routine. How it works Tension is probably the fundamental driving force that moves us to change and is at the heart of virtually all persuasion techniques. What I like and what I do not like. such as: • • • • • What I have not got and what I want. emptiness. discomfort. Present and future . fear.

such as those lower in Maslow's Hierarchy will come first. we feel frustrated and annoyed.The most common things that cause tension in persuasive situations are based in the present and in the future. needs gaps will take precedence. We will only revise our goals when we realize that there is very little chance of us achieving them. when confronted with a foreigner who does not understand them. then we feel shamed. When it is we who have wronged. Goals gap We build our goals as ways to achieve our needs. perhaps louder or slower. Values gap Values provide us rules for living that maintain our sense of personal integrity and allow us to live within the shared rules of a group of other people. whereby a given future is considered more desirable than the present. I have created a gap for you between your deep need for safety and the near-term future. superior and indignant. you have created an identity needs gap for me. . they will often be the most powerful gaps and hence most motivating. When values are transgressed. and what is more or less important. repeating what we have done. Needs gap If I threaten you physically. we feel a sense of wrongness. will repeat the same words. values gaps are very powerful and the tension we feel may only be exceeded by that for needs gaps. guilty and fear the retribution of others in the group. When we do not achieve goals as expected or seem to be off-track on our way there. Likewise if you tell me that you are no longer going to be my friend. what is right and wrong. Likewise when there are many needs gaps. then we feel righteous. Revising goals creates tension itself as it is an admission of failure (and hence not meeting the need to win). If it is others who have violated the values. As needs are deep-programmed things. Only when the 'do it again' approach does not work do we change the strategy or tactics to achieve our goals. For example the action to change the undesirable present of not having a car is to go out and buy one. then the deeper needs. Values tell us what we should and should not do. For example most people. The typical response to a goals gap is to redouble efforts. The frustration of the confused foreigner will either drive us to blame him or her for stupidity and walk away or resort to such as written diagrams or miming. When there are many tension-creating gaps. As we are very socially driven. and where the desirable future requires us to act to change the continuation of the present.

when and where the person will move and design your tensions system to move them in the right direction. The anticipation when queuing up to see a new movie or the excitement of the story once we are inside are pleasant feelings. So what? So once you have create sufficient trust. In fact the anticipation can be more enjoyable than the actual experience--'It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive'. On the other hand. if we focus first on the undesirable present. Achieving or avoiding We respond in two ways to tension. we will not search for the best solution. . even if there may be better solutions out there.Positive and negative Tension can be both positive and negative for us. build the tension that will create movement. often around an uncomfortable present and a more desirable future. even though they know they are perfectly safe. This is called satisficing. Understand how. Find the two things that will create tension. but there are also ways in which scariness can be pleasant. they this has the effect to push us away from it as we seek to avoid a future where the discomfort remains. Many people hate rollercoasters. If we focus more strongly on a desirable future then this will pull us towards it as we seek to achieve that future. On the other hand. such as battered wives who become addicted to the abuse of their husbands (who are often also psychologically locked into the damaging behavioral pattern). There are many ways we can be made to feel unpleasantly uncomfortable. Satisficing If the tension is strong enough. such as riding on roller-coasters. people can get stuck in damaging cycles. as author Robert Louis Stephenson said. depending on how we view the two factors that are creating the tension. Positive attraction Anticipation can be a powerful and exciting force and we look forward to expected moments of pleasure. we will simply grab at the first one that comes along that will do the job. More hazardously. there are many ways we can be made to feel It is also possible to get positive and negative tension mixed up.

The need for: Certainty Explanations > Needs > Certainty What is certainty? | The effects of uncertainty | So what? A need we have that contributes to other needs is to be certain about what we know. Unfortunately. We will thus seek to understand and control in order to achieve certainty. Pride goes before a fall and over-certainty can make people so blind they do not see problems until they hit them in the face. Kennedy said. and are in control such that we can sustain our safety. from anorexia to compulsive-obsessive disorder. can be sensed as smugness or even arrogance. we feel that we understand things. stem from the deep need for control and certainty that can never be found. The feeling of certainty Certainty is felt as a comfortable feeling. Predictions which come true provide proof that we can continue to be certain about what we know. The effects of uncertainty Uncertainty is uncomfortable and creates tensions that motivate us. ‘There is nothing as certain and unchanging as uncertainty and change. The feeling of uncertainty is uncomfortable and leads to anxiety. can predict what will happen. Uncertainty causes anxiety Certainty is often only noticed when it is below a certain(!) level. Without certainty. Many psychiatric illnesses. Uncertainty is confusing .’ Many people spend their lives in search of certainty. although not always in the right direction. we become anxious and uncomfortable. do and say. What is certainty? When we are certain about the world around us. as John F.

Confuse them or otherwise make them anxious. When they incomplete. they are done and in the past and we do not need to think about them again. which is a fundamental technique that underpins many other approaches to persuasion. etc. complexity. Show how the future is not are predictable as they thought. Lead them along the path to a predictable future. whether they are sentences or things we are doing. What is it? When things are complete. Completion leads to a sense of closure. The need for: Completion of Explanations > Needs > Completion What is it? | Completion in stories | So what? Does the above title bother you? Did you ask 'Completion of what?' Things which are incomplete bother us. A confused person will clutch at straws to regain their certainty.Removing certainty often leads to confusion. Something which is incomplete is not certain and leaves us unsatisfied and seeking to resolve the incompletion by completing what has been left undone. Rehearsal exhaustion One of the effects of incompletion is that we constantly have to go back and think about all the incomplete things we know about. Keep them on their toes and stay one step ahead by being difficult to predict. Then show them how they can be more certain. to make sure we do not forget it and to predict . The opposite of certainty is confusion. So what? So create uncertainty to motivate people. which can be created by unexpected actions and words. where we feel the comfort of such as a job well done or an argument satisfactorily finished.

possible outcomes. section numbering in manuals may go to 1. we get more and more distracted and exhausted by the ever-increasing rehearsal. Completion in stories Writer of soap-operas and other installment-based entertainment know much about completion. The rule of three If someone starts something then leaves it incomplete and then starts something else.2. but seldom goes down to a fourth or lower level with section numbers such as 3. Do this several times.5. They will be so confused they will accept it often without question. however are a different matter).3.2. the greater the confusion and mental effort again to rehearse these. tying up the loose ends and giving a sense of control and that all is now well in the world. It sends us mentally inside. problems seem to set in around about three incomplete things. For example. Then slip in the real request or suggestion that you want to make. we have to keep going back and mentally rehearsing the story. This is the beginnings of trance (as is the repetition of rehearsal). As more and more things are left incomplete. Consider what an incomplete story forces us to do: • • • In order to be able to make sense of the rest of the story. The need to: Explain . to keep in in mind. then they will also be more open to your persuasive arguments.8. then break off and tell them something else. In wondering what will happen. paying attention to our inner world. So what? Incomplete stories and situations leave people wanting more. (Government specification. followed by satisfying completion. how many such nested incompletions can we stand? In practice. and then repeats this again and again. we start predicting possible conclusions. This appears in a wide range of places. So start telling them something. If you leave them open. All stories can be viewed as nothing but a series of tension-creating incomplete scenarios. when it appears.2 and 1.7.2. Technical writers know that such detail is too much for most people to handle. And the more possible endings. 1.

Build friendship by helping the other person save face through your rational explanation of their failures and strange misdeeds (that you may have engineered). The need to: Predict Explanations > Needs > Prediction To feel in control | To decide | Cause and effect | So what? . but beware in doing this that you do not belittle or embarrass the other person too much. Appearing rational When we goof off or do something of which others might disapprove. either in admiration (or fear) of my power or in gratitude from the use (or not) I have made of it on their behalf. This gives us two very useful benefits: • • Control : If I am expert in something. we can claim expertise. we will desperately try to explain ourselves. Social position :Expertise is a form of power. There are often unwritten group norms about appearing rational and we will help our friends save face when they appear irrational for example by explaining how they are having a 'bad day'. then I understand it and can use that knowledge to control it. that leads to other people looking up to me. Explaining demonstrates our rationality and enables others to predict what we are likely to do and hence not consider us a threat.Explanations > Needs > Explain Expertise | Appearing rational | So what? Expertise If we can explain something. Why is this? It is because we fear appearing irrational and hence being rejected by others. So what? Gain credibility by demonstrating your own expertise in a topic of interest.

they will look to other people. trying to decide the best course of action to achieve our goals and avoid potential discomforts.One of the things we are constantly doing is predicting the future. thus appearing predictable (and hence meeting their needs for prediction and control). The need for: Consistency . If we do not know what will happen next then we cannot relax and must constantly be on the lookout for danger. You can also be deliberately unpredictable to put them off balance. Cause and effect Being able to predict is about connecting cause and effect. then we will make good decisions and be successful in meeting our goals and objectives. And if we can create a chain of these. To decide In our ruminating and decision-making we are constantly looking forward. If we can connect the cause of today to the effect of tomorrow. So create a new situation for them. causing confusion that you can then utilize. When people cannot predict and do not know what to do. then show them what to do. whether it is the micropredictions of movement or forecasts of what might happen next year. If we can predict accurately. So What? Be predictable with other people and they will trust you and like you more easily. this gives us a lot better chance to control things. If we can predict what will happen. Being able to explain cause and effect meets yet another need and allows us to appear rational to other people. To feel in control A basic need we have is for a sense of control. we can predict what will happen next week. we can predict.

values. Thus if I believe I am a caring individual. where inconsistent attitudes. Cognitive dissonance In 1957 psychologist Leon Festinger described a very powerful motivator. concepts or ideas makes us feel uncomfortable. as we tend to idealize ourselves internally. attitudes. This makes us feel uncomfortable so we will hence act to make things more consistent. If we cannot do this directly. we may achieve consistency in what we perceive by distancing ourselves from the inconsistent items or people. which he called cognitive dissonance. morals. we find it difficult to predict and hence control the future. yet do not give money to a beggar. This drives us to such actions as seeking confirmation of any decisions we make and avoiding anything that might prove those decisions to be anything less than perfect and wise. etc. on occasion. isn't it? What is it? When things are inconsistent. You can also. mental models and so on. in order to create trust. when we buy a new car. yet we value science which tells us the world is round. all to align with one another. If we belief the world is flat. That is. So what? Be consistent yourself in your behavior with other people. we need for our beliefs.Explanations > Needs > Consistency What is it? | Cognitive dissonance | So what? Have you ever been to the supermarket and found that they have moved the aisle where the milk is kept? Or have you a colleague who is so inconsistent you do not know what they are going to do next? Annoying and uncomfortable. yet externally we have to face difficult choices. then we will feel uncomfortable about this difference. be deliberately inconsistent in order to cause confusion and hence . I will feel guilty and uncomfortable. Internal consistency We also have a need for internal consistency. but we will feel bad and discard magazines that show our decision to be unwise. This can cause a lot of problems. we will happily read articles that praise it. For example. We need consistency between our inner beliefs. and our outer actions.

tension, destabilizing the other person so you can guide them towards closure on the points you wish to persuade them. Show other people to be inconsistent, for example highlighting the differences between their values and their actions. Be careful with this, as they can jump in two directions as they seek to reduce one of the inconsistencies.

Open and Closed Questions
Techniques > Questioning > Open and Closed Questions Closed questions | Open questions

These are two types of questions you can use that are very different in character and usage.

Closed questions
There are two definitions that are used to describe closed questions. A common definition is: A closed question can be answered with either a single word or a short phrase. Thus 'How old are you?' and 'Where do you live?' are closed questions. A more limiting definition is: A closed question can be answered with either 'yes' or 'no'. Thus 'Are you happy?' and 'Is that a knife I see before me?' are closed questions, whilst 'How are you?' and even 'How old are you?' are not, by this definition, closed. This limited definition is also sometimes called a 'yes or no' question, for obvious reasons.

Using closed questions
Closed questions have the following characteristics:
• •

They give you facts. They are easy to answer.

• •

They are quick to answer. They keep control of the conversation with the questioner.

This makes closed questions useful in the following situations:



As opening questions in a conversation, It's great weather, isn't it? as it makes it easy for the other person to answer, and doesn't force them to Where do you live? reveal too much about themselves. What time is it? For testing their understanding (asking So, you want to move into our yes/no questions). This is also a great apartment, with your own bedroom and way to break into a long ramble. bathroom? For setting up a desired positive or Are you happy with your current negative frame of mind in them (asking supplier? successive questions with obvious answers either yes or no ). Do they give you all that you need? Would you like to find a better supplier? For achieving closure of a persuasion (seeking yes to the big question). If I can deliver this tomorrow, will you sign for it now?

Note how you can turn any opinion into a closed question that forces a yes or no by adding tag questions, such as "isn't it?", "don't you?" or "can't they?" to any statement. The first word of a question sets up the dynamic of the closed question, signaling the easy answer ahead. Note how these are words like: do, would, are, will, if.

Open questions
An open question can be defined as: An open question is likely to receive a long answer. Although any question can receive a long answer, open questions deliberately seek longer answers, and are the opposite of closed questions.

Using open questions
Open questions have the following characteristics:
• • •

They ask the respondent to think and reflect. They will give you opinions and feelings. They hand control of the conversation to the respondent.

This makes open questions useful in the following situations:

Usage As a follow-on from closed questions, to develop a conversation and open up someone who is rather quiet. To find out more about a person, their wants, needs, problems, and so on. To get people to realize the extend of their problems (to which, of course, you have the solution).

Example What did you do on you holidays? How do you keep focused on your work? What's keeping you awake these days? Why is that so important to you? I wonder what would happen if your customers complained even more? Rob Jones used to go out late. What happened to him?

To get them to feel good about you by asking after their health or otherwise demonstrating human concern about them.

How have you been after your operation? You're looking down. What's up?

Open questions begin with such as: what, why, how, describe. Using open questions can be scary, as they seem to hand the baton of control over to the other person. However, well-placed questions do leave you in control as you steer their interest and engage them where you want them. When opening conversations, a good balance is around three closed questions to one open question. The closed questions start the conversation and summarize progress, whilst the open question gets the other person thinking and continuing to give you useful information about them.

Trust is • • • • • • • What is trust: Core factors of trust. Reparative. The Hysteresis of trust and betrayal: An engineer's curve describes the human dynamics. If they do trust you. but at least they will now listen to you and take you seriously. then you haven't a hope in Hades of persuading them. Be dependable. Transaction cost: The cost of low trust. And the simplest way to do this is to be trustworthy.A neat trick is to get them to ask you open questions. Low-trust responses: What people do when they do not trust. Deception may persuade people for now. This then gives you the floor to talk about what you want. Trust in groups: The dynamics of trust in teams. Retributive. It can. . So what? So manage trust carefully. as they say. Where we trust: The people we will trust. When trust goes wrong • • • • • Four types of justice: Distributive. If they don't trust you. it doesn't necessarily mean you can persuade them. Trust Explanations > Trust Trust is | When trust goes wrong | So what? Trust is the key to the door of other people's minds. The way to achieve this is to intrigue them with an incomplete story or benefit. take a lifetime to build and a moment to lose. The effects of betrayal: How people react in the lost of trust. Procedural. Swift trust: Where trust happens quickly. but the cost of being found out can be extremely high. The spectrum of trust: From blind trust to paranoia. Care about people. 1. The economics of trust: The cost of trust and betrayal. Creating trust in organizations: How to increase trust in your company.

A parent . If we can surround ourselves with people we trust. I will swap you two sheep for one cow. It is easy to calculate the value in such material bargaining. which is the basis for all businesses as well as simple relationships. This allows us to spot and prepare for threats and also make plans to achieve our longer-term goals. Predictability It is a normal part of the human condition to be constantly forecasting ahead. Logically. We build internal models of the world based both on our experiences and what others tell us. There are a number of different ways we can define trust. it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss. We feel trust. calculating expected utility based on hard performance data. a reliable enemy can be preferable to an unpredictable friend. I trust you because I have experienced your trustworthiness and because I have faith in human nature. Emotions associated with trust include companionship. The greatest unpredictability is at 50%. and then use these to guess what will happen next. trust is a bit of both. love. Emotionally. comfort. In practice. it is where you expose your vulnerabilities to people. Here are the dimensions of trust and consequent definitions. Value exchange Most of what we do with other people is based around exchange.What is trust? Explanations > Trust > What is trust? Predictability | Value exchange | Delayed reciprocity | Exposed vulnerabilities | So what? Trust is both and emotional and logical act. Definition 1: Trust means being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. but believing they will not take advantage of your openness. then we can create a safe present and an even better future. friendship. it is exchange of goods. relaxation. Things get more complex when less tangible forces come into play. and concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner. At its simplest. agreement. as at least we know where we are with them.

because otherwise we are giving something for nothing. we may not only be giving them something in hope of getting something else back in the future.’ It sets up the dynamic for my giving you something now with the hope of getting back some unspecified thing in the indeterminate future. What makes companies and societies really work is that something is given now. don’t want to be sold a ringer which the seller knows is faulty. Definition 3: Trust means giving something now with an expectation that it will be repaid. I want it to be based on facts. Delayed reciprocity Exchange is not just about an immediate swapping of cows and sheep or hugs and kisses. . If I tell you in confidence about the problems I am having with work. This principle of reciprocity is what binds societies together. If I have a whole flock of sheep but no milk. we may also be exposing ourselves in a way that they can take advantage of our vulnerabilities. Trust now becomes particularly important. Exposed vulnerabilities When we trust other people. If I buy a car from you and I do not know a good price. Trust in value exchange occurs when we do not know fully whether what we are receiving is what we expect. The delay we have placed in the reciprocal arrangement adds a high level of uncertainty which we need to mitigate through trust. The advantage of this is that we can create a more flexible environment. possibly in some unspecified way at some unspecified time in the future. Value exchange works because we each value things differently. Definition 2: Trust means making an exchange with someone when you do not have full knowledge about them. their intent and the things they are offering to you. you could use this to further your own career at my expense. where you can get what you need when you need it. When we buy a car. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.exchanges attention for love. rather than having to save up for it. When I get advice in business. you can lie to me so you get a better bargain. but the return is paid back some time in the future. not wild opinions. A company exchanges not only pay but good working conditions for the intellectual and manual efforts of its workforce. What is often called the ‘golden rule’ is a simple formula for creating trust. then I can do business with a person who has a herd of cows but no clothes.

If we can identify where the other person is situated Blind Faith Everyone's trustworthy Trust without evidence Reasonable Trust Some are trustworthy Trust with evidence Paranoia Nobody's trustworthy Distrust without evidence Blind Faith At one end of the trust spectrum is blind faith. So what? So learn about trust. They assume that everyone else is trustworthy. how it works and how to build it. where the naive will happily do whatever anyone asks of them. they will hunt you to the ends of the earth. even in the face overwhelming evidence. I must be able to trust that such agonies will not come to pass. For our transaction to complete successfully. . There is an overall spectrum. other people will give you the earth.Although the threat of retribution or projected feelings of guilt can counteract your temptation to abuse my exposed vulnerabilities. ranging from blind faith to paranoia. Definition 4: Trust means enabling other people to take advantage of your vulnerabilities—but expecting that they will not do this. The spectrum of trust Explanations > Trust > The spectrum of trust Blind Faith | Paranoia | Reasonable Trust | So what We don't trust all people equally and we don't all approach trust in the same way. If you do it well. If you betray them. if you succumb I still get hurt and may still end up with the shorter stick.

For example. and act accordingly. a meeting in your office with a supplier may immediately make them feel threatened. though many of us do have blind spots. You may also be able to move the person to a different context in which they are less paranoid. They distrust without evidence. during and after the interaction may well be directed at ensuring that you do not get . and even assumes that 'everyone is out to get them'. Reasonable trust Somewhere in the middle is a reasonable position. You may even decide to abandon the persuasion if the other person remains at the higher end of the spectrum. A neutral location such as a restaurant may lead them to a more reasonable position. I will blindly believe my football team can beat all comers or that my great website will attract millions of admirers. they may be an easier course! Transaction cost Explanations > Trust > Transaction cost The cost of distrust | Organizations as trust boundaries | So what The cost of distrust Whenever you interact with another person. The paranoid person trust nobody. As with blind faith. then a certain amount of what you do before.Few of us are as foolish as to be blindly faithful in all other people. So what? Find out where the other person is situated along the spectrum. paranoia can be broad or narrow in focus. where evidence is required before I will trust other people. If you have alternatives to the persuasion. The more paranoid the other person is. Paranoia At the opposite end to blind faith is paranoia. I can be paranoid about one person or a whole football team. the more you will need to spend time building trust.

You still look up prices on the internet beforehand and also check the store's returns policy. Organizations thus act as 'trust boundaries' where people inside will automatically give a level of trust to the people inside their company that they will not give to outsiders. So what? So if you are running a company. If you can build an organization within which transaction costs are lower. Trust in groups . even on an individual basis. so you travel to a superstore. but you do not trust their prices. customers and other stakeholders. as it does not directly create value for you or the other person.deceived by the other person. Transaction costs include those around: • • • Search and information: Finding products and appropriate suppliers. This activity is effectively waste. Policing and enforcement: Ensuring the other person conforms with agreements. Organizations as trust boundaries Transaction cost is a founding principle of economics and organizational theory. the cumulative transaction cost can be a very significant part of the cost of doing business. reducing the transaction cost of the entire supply chain and thus create a highly competitive ecology. For example if you are going to buy a television. then increasing trust reduces the cost of those interactions (and vice versa). Bargaining and decision-making: Negotiating and establishing the agreement. work hard to develop trust within the company to reduce your transaction costs and hence the cost of operating your business. If you have any regular interactions with people. there is a bit of a rigmarole whilst they check your credit and there is a security man on the door who checks your receipt as you leave. This is the transaction cost. increasing their value to all concerned. then you can operate at a lower cost than a set of individuals who are collaborating but who have a higher level of distrust with one another. there may be a small local shop that sells them. At the store. It is also worth spending time breaking down trust barriers to partners. When your work involves interaction with many people. Companies have the opportunity to extend these boundaries into customers and suppliers.

A non-group person is immediately subject to a lower level of trust and will be scrutinized for other factors through which their potential behavior can be predicted. values. . where they will typically divide their work up into trusted roles which they are individually best suited. values. etc. but in practice the second question is often more significant than the first. so also will these develop in the group. They can be even more clearly defined by what is not in the group. they also emphasize the values. Just as individuals have beliefs. These not only serve to isolate the group. The primary ‘glue’ that holds the group together is the trust as defined within the group beliefs. they will typically go through the formative ‘form. out-group people and other groups are often caricatured with exaggerated non-group personality factors such as stupidity or cruelty. The ultimate threat to breaking this in-group trust is rejection from the group. where entrants must submit to examination and regular financial payments. of the group through which in-group trust is maintained.Explanations > Trust > Trust in groups In-group conditions | Boundary conditions | Induction |Boundary threat | So what? What makes a group a group: Is it the similarities between the people in the group? Or is it their differences with people outside of the group? The answer is yes to both. Within the group. even to the point of killing other people. Boundary conditions Groups are not defined solely by their similarities and shared culture. perform’ sequence. storm. norm. Professional associations have similar practices. which is such a powerful motivator it has led to people abandoning their personal values. and the trust within the group develop around these. etc. In-group conditions When a group forms. Induction Induction into a group can often be through a ritualized process. mental models and goals. such that they can together meet the larger group needs. from the ancient practices of the freemasons to the group beatings (and worse) of Los Angeles street gangs.

other than their membership of the same group. but also seek to achieve the status of trusted advisor. They must work out their differences on the fly and blindly trust one another to do their jobs. Act differently if you are an outside. So what? So manage your relationship with groups carefully. Boundary threat When the group is threatened in some way. Swift Trust Explanations > Emotions > Trust > Swift Trust Characteristics of temporary systems | Key factors that make for swift trust Sometimes there is no time to build a trusting relationship. key grips. It is also a known psychological effect that we deduce our beliefs from our actions. A classic example of this is on the movie set. When joining a group. they will forget internal problems and band together against the threat. in-group bickering and schisms form and this threat from within can lead to subdivision of the group. often trusting an in-group person with their lives. . The opposite also occurs: when there is no threat. The people under threat work closely and passionately together to defeat the enemy. stunt-men and many others are all on the job from day one. be prepared to go through an induction ritual and work to demonstrate how you have adopted group rules and processes. Make-up artists. and the neophyte will often deduce that they have accepted the group trust rules because of the actions that they took to join the group. even though no trust has been developed between them. This threat often leads leaders to create crises and other threats that will heighten fears of damage to the group and lead to more cohesive. with little or no ‘getting to know you’ sessions. trusting behavior. In these situations in-group trust goes sharply up and outgroup trust sharply down. such as when group of people are thrown together and must start work immediately. as the ‘sunk cost’ of membership can never be recouped. Take for example a wartime situation.A person that has had difficulty in joining a group will be less inclined to leave.

If there is no time to develop trust slowly. Constrained environment Time. Interdependent tasks that require a high degree of collaboration. have common factors which may include: • • • • • Many different skills. Focusing on the task or process removes focus on the people. where people are brought together to complete a given task. Tight timescales and high cost of failure. no trust is needed. A focus on acting as and treating others as professionals leads to trust in their professional capabilities. Complex and on-standard tasks which are only partly understood. Interdependence. assembled by a contracting organization to perform a defined task. Trust broker . rewards and penalties. Limited history of working together and unlikely to work together ever again. they are forced to develop a system of trust. Slack time also give space in which idle hands can be turned to selfish or non-productive activities. refocusing on the process and context that caused the problem is more productive and supports trust. There should be sufficient resources to do the job. Key factors that make for swift trust Swift trust does not just happen. By putting people in the same boat. Non-person focus Professional role focus. the pace is forced. If some are more dependent on others. Aligned activity Linked overall goals. otherwise battles for resource will erode trust. If there seems to be a personal problem. Task/process focus. Too much resource is simply wasteful. If they are independent. There are factors in the environment which are preconditions by enable and encourage trust to be given and used well. such that they share the glories of reaching the shore and sink or swim together. then power positions are created with a much less trusting environment. Just-enough resources.Characteristics of temporary systems Temporary systems such as the movie set or organizational task force.

Creating trust in organizations Explanations > Trust > Creating trust in organizations Values and culture | Interdependence | Role and process clarity | Goal congruity | Visibility | Consequences of transgression The way an organization is designed can have a significant effect on the trust that is engendered within its walls. fires and leads the charge. including values and behaviors. Trust may be explicitly mentioned in company values.Hires. Values which act to reduce trust are often those which emphasize individual excellence and financial goals above any statements of trust. as evidenced by the Christian Ten Commandments. including what remains of historical social values. they are a single point where issues of difference are clearly resolved. Where people are rewarded more for the achievement of individual rather than group goals. Written sets of values are not new. this divisive encouragement is likely to lead to non-collaborative and untrustworthy behavior. rights and wrongs. A central person who recruits everyone is responsible for ensuring everyone is professional and can perform as above. Discouraging such overt actions are the broader social rules. along with themes such as ‘focus on the customer’ through which people can legitimately request things of one another and trust that they will support activities that are working towards these common goals. Values and culture Values are the ‘unwritten rules’ of how people interact including as shoulds and shouldn’ts. musts and must nots. Values which support trust are those which encourage interdependent working and support of others just because it is the right thing to do. Organizational elements that affect trust include the softer side of the house. . rather than any written set of company values. and things which are important and unimportant. Writing them down is a good thing only to the degree to which these are communicated and supported by the company hierarchy. This overarching ruleset has influence trusting behavior for many centuries. If they are the chief ‘designer’ of the system (such as a movie director or project manager). Values are unwritten in that we all have them and they are reflected in what we actually do. as well as the organizational structures such as hierarchies and processes.

An unclear role leads not only the requestor but also the person being asked to be uncertain as to whether the requested action should be undertaken. as most are. Fortunately. Where dependence is a one-way street. Even when the powerful are well-intentioned. Power behavior in organizations often involves delays and ‘not now’ can easily become a technique of deliberate sabotage. it is easy to determine who is responsible for what. who controls what resources. you are in a similar position so we can engage in mutually satisfying value exchange. then the uncertainty can make decisions arbitrary and based more upon individual rather than organizational need. Interdependence Where people are interdependent they require things of each other. my asking you for help is not likely to get a positive response. This does not mean that all jobs and processes should be defined down to the nth level. Factors such as clear values and limited interdependence can simplify such situations. If.Other cultural factors also may also support or hinder the trust rules that are set up by values. where processes are unclear or unstated. mean that for trust to occur. and consequently where you need to go for dependent actions and whether the person you are depending on is obliged or interested in helping you. skill and control that the individuals possess. there arises positions of vulnerability and power. It does. To do my work I need your help. The dynamic for reciprocity is thus set up by the complex task environment and the limitations of time. thus leading to unintentional sabotage (which is of little compensation to the dependent person who is losing out). especially in their boundary points where work touches upon other people. however. Goal congruity Where I have one objective and you have another. Role and process clarity Where people’s jobs are clear. however. I can trust that what you do is not likely to be diametrically . we have a point of commonality through which we can work together. decisions points and criteria must be clear. these can easily become bottlenecks rather than open highways. the problems of trust are immediately focused although if such designs result in single authorization points. Similarly. Where fewer people need to be trusted. pressures of work lead them to prioritize dependent people off the scale. where the powerful can take advantage of the vulnerable almost on a whim. we both are working to the same strategic plan which is clearly communicated to us all.

depending on the severity of the transgression. then the temptation to manipulate others is higher. and where there are other structural factors that encourage untrustworthy behavior. When. whilst roles and processes are methods of achieving the goal. Formal punish may happen if I go to your manager and complain that you are not acting as you should. The consequences of this can then range from a mild ticking off from your manager to expulsion or even legal action. however. being ostracized or being verbally abused. Much trust comes through communication. however. although they are closely related. In situations of uncertainty. Visibility can be reduced by such as functional barriers. is informal and social in nature. Where the actions and results of people’s decisions and behaviors are hidden. any of which can be extremely uncomfortable and professionally damaging. the true source of untrustworthiness can be concealed. Where we trust . and that when you make a promise.opposite to my activities. goals (like the higher-level values) help us to make agreeable decisions. Similarly where the ‘process’ or equipment or ‘management’ can be blamed. because we are working on the same thing. if there are no consequences for you as a result of this failure. where requests are sent to a department rather than to a named person. Social punishment can include being gossiped about.’ Consequences of transgression If I trust you and you fail to meet our agreed actions then what happens? If there is nothing else I can do. Visibility Where trust is given and it is clearly visible that the person being trusted is acting in a trustworthy way. It can (and often is) also be hidden through unwritten social rules. The goal marks the end-point and gives the overall direction. Goal congruity is not the same as role and process clarity. then untrustworthy behavior is significantly discouraged. where ‘I won’t question your incompetence if you won’t question mine. my imagination is The corollary is also true. Much punishment. the actions and their consequences are visible to those who can and will act to punish transgressors. the feedback enables confidence in that trust to be rapidly increased. If I ask you to do something and you regularly give me updates of progress along the way. you will keep to your word. then why should you worry? A system that has no punishment for trust failure Punishment can take two forms.

Explanations > Trust > Where we trust Frequent contact | Common goals | Single source | So what? Beyond the religious maxim ‘In God do I trust’. they must. . ‘If you cant’ stand the heat. they can still get on without terminal conflict. but on the whole they tend to be harmonious. Beyond collaborative work groups. Families can be acrimonious. if they are to co-exist. Blood is thicker than water. Their enforced close relationship means that they must discover how to establish and use trust. get out of the kitchen’ comes to mind. Their brand name aims to persuade us that they can be trusted. People who live in close proximity. perhaps the questions should be ‘Where must we trust?’ Some situation force us to either trust or leave. where even if people don’t care too much for one another. You can get rid of friends. other groups such as professional organizations seek to create trust within their membership and may act as trust brokers with other organizations. The heat in groups is about collaborating such that an acceptable system of value exchange is maintained. consultancies and professional organizations. Nevertheless. they have to get on in some form. development of a trusting relationship is clearly beneficial to all parties. especially when challenged from outside. but you cannot easily change your relationship with your brother or cousin. neighbors or workmates may have more choice than families. where they have some structural ties of location in common. where they have interdependencies and where they can obtain synergies from collaboration. Single source Where we need information and there is only one place to get it. develop agreement and trust around how they share their time and space. Families have specific ties. then we are obliged to trust that source. Frequent contact Where people are forced together. Common goals Where people have common goals and objectives. Organizations that set themselves up as sources of knowledge include universities. and all that. whether they are prisoners.

imaginary. Phallus: A symbol of male power and female lack. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Abjection: a state of deep and sickening horror. Identification: seeking to join with others. bad object: separating the comforting from the unpleasant. Here are some straightforward explanations of many of them. Transference: projecting one person's character onto another person. symbolic. Pleasure-pain principle: seeking immediate gratification. Object Relations Theory: relationships between people and their objects. Also be aware of the brand effect and use it as appropriate. Projective identification: expelling a bad object into another person. Reality principle: Pragmatic deferral of pleasure. Object: something to which a Subject relates. self and misrecognition.So what? So develop trust with people by staying in touch. Concepts in psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis is a discipline in which there are many difficult and often-misunderstood concepts. Jouissance: pleasure too great to bear. Also seek to demonstrate that you are aiming at the same stars as them. complications. Introjective identification: taking another's good objects. Incorporation: primitive taking into the body. Oedipus Complex: mother. avoiding discomfort. . Phantasy vs. The Symbolic register: stage of acquiring language and symbols. conscious imaginings. Good object. father. Mirror phase: image. Play: development and imagining. Life and death drives: Eros and Thanatos. Projection and Introjection: taking in and pushing out objects. The good-enough mother: who supports healthy development. Three registers of human reality: real. The depressive position: where good and bad are realized as one. Desire: a component of loss and lack. Splitting: separating one item into two so they can be handled separately. Narcissism: exclusive self-love. Counter-transference: is the effect that transference has on a person. The chora: the initial chaotic state in a child's life. calling up at unexpected time just to be friendly as well as scheduling regular contact. son. Other: Who is not the subject so creates the subject. fantasy: unconscious vs. Internalization: installation of objects in the ego. The paranoid-schizoid position: paranoid fear and projecting bad objects. The neonatal phase: early undifferentiated unity.

which coordinates desires and facilitates the symbolic register. Abjection in adult life is a threat of a return to the base animal place and is thus linked with the real and jouissance. The horror of abjection at this stage may be an early step out of undifferentiated unity and towards a sense of separate self. and is both repugnant and attractive. 'Abjection preserves what existed in the archaism of pre-objectal relationship.' Kristeva describes how abjection is the first step in moving away from the base animal state towards 'By way of abjection.• • The Transition Object: not-me and carer-substitute that helps transition. see an open wound or hear of horrible crimes against children. primitive societies have marked out a precise area of their culture in order to remove it from the threatening world of animals or animalism.' Abjection contrasts with Lacan's object petit a (object of desire). after the chora and before entering the mirror phase. It is based in a breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of the distinction between linguistic binaries such as subject and object or self and other. false self: healthy and not. which were imagined as representatives of sex and murder. Discussion Kristeva suggests that abjection is something that we must experience as a part of our psychosexual development. Abjection Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Abjection Description | Discussion | See also Description Abjection is a state of deep and sickening horror that we experience for example when we see a corpse. in the immemorial violence with which a body becomes separated from another body in order to be. True self. . through realization of separation from the mother.

and needs.One does not know it. French feminists use the chora to reject Lacan's claim that gender is defined through language and the symbolic register. one joys in it. where basic life and death drives are the prime motivators. feelings. It in particular forms an opposite to the 'symbolic' of the later symbolic register. thus creating gender difference.experienced differently by males and females. The Chora is . The depressive position Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > The depressive position . There is no recognition of boundaries. highlighting it as a pre-Oedipal position from which identity can be spoken. The term 'semiotic' is often used either in tandem with 'chora' or sometimes as a replacement. Violently and painfully. Discussion Kristeva's description of this early stage is similar to other descriptions such as the first part of Lacan's neonatal phase and Winnicott's undifferentiated unity. This stage is is closest to the Real. The Chora Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > The Chora Description | Discussion | See also Description The Chora is the initial state in a child's life where. it is driven by a chaotic mix of perceptions. one does not desire it. between zero and about six months. The self is not recognized as the child sense of being is blended into its world and mother in something close to a continuation of being in womb.

The depressive position is thus a gentler and more cooperative counterpoint to the paranoid-schizoid position and acts to heal its wounds. dependency and jealousy towards the mother. When the thoughts and feelings are taken back inside the projecting person from the other person. The infant begins to acknowledge its own helplessness. at about 3 to 4 months. This results in ‘depressive anxiety’ replacing destructive urges with guilt. Discussion Klein describes the depressive position begins after the paranoid-schizoid position (initially first 3-4 months). As ambivalence is accepted. It consequently becomes anxious that the aggressive impulses might have hurt or even destroyed the mother. It can also be comforting just to know that another person has experienced a troublesome part of the self. along with external reality and internal phantasy. The experience that the projecting person through their identification is related to the actions and reactions of the other person. The general depressive position In the more general depressive position. who they now recognize as needed and loved. The mother begins to be recognized as a whole object who can be good and bad. can now also begin to co-exist. . To some extent. the mother can be seen as fallible and capable of both good and bad. rather than two part-objects.Description | Discussion | See also Description The initial depressive position The initial depressive position is a significant step in integrative development which occurs when the infant discovers that the hated bad breast and the loved good breast are one and the same. projective identification is used to empathize with others. Love and hate. one good and one bad. depending on circumstances. they may be better able to handle them as they also bring back something of the other person and the way they appeared to cope. The person may oscillate between these two manic-depressive states. moving parts of the self into the other person in order to understand them. and may continue to play a forceful role. this is facilitated when the other person is receptive to this act. throughout life.

often borne out of unconscious need. Lack implies an incomplete and unachievable wholeness. The relationship with loss and lack Lack and desire are synonymous. Bion (1959) described projective identification as a way of communicating that seeks an experience of being 'contained'. to have. that achieving them will give us lasting happiness. etc. When we get that which we desire. this is expressed as a linkage between the container (the other person) and the contained (the thought or feeling). Fear of loss and the greed of acquisitive desire are often stimulated by advertising. The resultant desire is a haunting ache that is more than the lust for something more achievable. . This includes parent-child and analyst-patient containment.or not We dream that our desires will lead to complete satisfaction and fulfilment. We also still have other desires which now come to the fore and demand our attention. That which is acquired often turns out to be not as perfect as we had idealized. We thus lust after people and possessions. then you are actually feeling desire for that lost thing. Satisfaction -. Desire relates to the need to possess.Wilfred Bion linked the depressive position to the normal operations of the adult Work Group. In his theory of containment. we seldom achieve a lasting sense of fulfilment. to control. When you do not have something and feel a sense of loss. Desire Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Desire Description | Discussion | See also Description Desires. marketing. drive much of how we feel and hence what we do. to own.

Good object. When those desires are fulfilled. standing in the place of jouissance and thus being perpetually both desirable and ultimately unobtainable. He calls this sense of something missing as the 'object petit a'. bad object . then we lose a part of ourselves. Lacan argues that the subject. Beyond this phase. Thus fulfilment also brings a sense of loss. A dilemma with fantasized existence is that the difference between reality and fantasy becomes so blurred that we are unable to distinguish between the two. particularly when this practice starts when we are very young. Fear of disappointment can lead us to stay in the fantasized state. Separation in the Oedipus Complex leads to desire as the boy distances himself from the mother yet still yearns for her. Jacqueline Rose considers all unconscious desire as making identity problematic or 'unfinished'. feels a sense of absence. separated from itself by language.' Fantasy is safe as we are in charge of what happens. where the image of wholeness seen by the baby in the mirror creates a desire for that being. and thus desires wholeness. Fantasy Desire creates fantasy as we imagine having that which we desire. which itself is a desire for what has passed. Discussion Desire is triggered in Lacan's Mirror phase. the more that reality is relatively dull and unpleasant.Our desires are a part of who we are and contribute to our sense of identity. Robert Louis Stephenson said 'It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. as can self-doubt about our abilities to achieve our desires. The power of our imagination is such that these states of reverie are so pleasant that they can replace and become reality. Man's desire for woman can be seen as desire for the woman's desire for the phallus. We constantly put ourselves into the subject positions of language and cultural codes in seeking to fulfil the futile desire for wholeness. Lacan uses jouissance to indicate the lost object. that which is unobtainable and which always escapes satisfaction. She says there is 'resistance to identity at the very heart of psychic life'. The more we fantasize. of being not fully present. Our lives can become very largely constructed by desire. Rose uses this to show that women have a point of advantage in the overall phallic economy.

Discussion Klein describes good and bad objects where the child seeks to join itself to the good object and eject bad objects. Thus the infant rejects or wants the mother as wells the breast. This emotion is extended from part-objects to whole objects. powerfully attracting or repulsing them. in particular keeping good objects safe from the unpleasant influence of bad objects. but these ideas are based on long study. This is perhaps is reaching to the Lacanian neonatal phase where the connected one-ness is achieved. Thus a 'good' breast that provides milk is associated with satiation and is loved. As the rage at the bad object subsides. The child will seek to expel bad objects. separation of pushing away is an isolating act. where the distressing loss of the wholeness is emphasized. being or bringing forth the good and bad objects of the other person have deep effects on them.Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Good object. either because they form a threat or because the bad object which is a part of the self is in danger of attack from other aspects of the self. The notion of a 'conversation with the breast' by an infant may seem strange. This pattern repeats onwards as we categorize people and things as good and bad and desire or attack them accordingly. it can turn to fear of recrimination or rejection from the object or part-object (the infant may imbue the breast with intelligence). Against this. whilst a 'bad' breast that does not provide milk when wanted is associated with frustration and is hated. In changing minds. Identification . bad object Description | Discussion | See also Description Objects that are experienced at the same time as emotions are causally associated with the emotions and loved or hated accordingly (the unsubtle infant deals more in emotional extremes than moderated variations).

I seek to change myself to be like the other either in some limited way or in all ways. It is perhaps the most basic form of taking the outside world into the inner world. Discussion Freud used 'identification' to describe how his patients related to other people. A significant difference from such joining forms as incorporation and introjection is that identification is practiced by moving the self towards a desirable object rather than drawing the object towards them. meaning ‘to form into a body'. it is benevolent and does not change the admired other. Incorporation Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Incorporation Description | Discussion | See also Description Incorporation is derived from the Latin incorporare. . This change may range from changing a single view to dress like them and trying to change all aspects of my life. I find something attractive about them and seek to join with them in some way. If there is introjection. When I identify with another.Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Identification Description | Discussion | See also Description When I 'identify with' other people. from brothers to prostitutes. being focused on bodily sensation and ingestion.

By bringing something into the body. When fully internalized. . he described identification as accomplished through the murder and devouring the primal father. this term is used to explain the way that incorporation is experienced and conceived.Although this need not mean actual bodily ingestion. This is the process whereby the personality is created. Jung. such that they are both integral to sense of self and also experienced as separate and concrete internal objects. identified many myths and monsters by which the ego is orally devoured and consumed. including destroying or expelling it. I make it undeniably a part of the physical. incorporation. objects may feel that they are physically located within the body. In Totem and Taboo (1913). Discussion When internalized. Of the various notions of how we take in the internal world. introjection and identification are three more detailed methods. Melanie Klein related this to early experiences and phantasies of introjection. In this way. who considered deeper factors. it cannot be separated from me. It is a a mechanism of the oral phase and a template for later identifications. solid and real me. Once incorporated. an item is fully 'owned' and considered as normal. Internalization Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Internalization Description | Discussion | See also Description Internalization occurs when objects are 'installed' into the ego. the external world is brought into the internal world and incorporated with it. but I can choose what to do with it. internalization is one of the highest-level concepts. Discussion Freud used incorporation to refer to a primitive wish to unite with or cannibalistically destroy an object.

More recently. Internalization implies a transformation of object cathexis (the investment of libidinal energy in the object) into narcissistic cathexis (investment of energy in the self ). perhaps for fear of distance leading to the introjected part (particularly if it is not fully internalized) being lost. This is what I call man’s internalization.’ Introjective identification Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Introjective identification Description | Discussion | See also Description Where a person finds another person attractive in some way. the ego ‘assimilates’ it to itself rather than repressing or turning away from the complex and confusing outer world. they feel closer to them and usually like to be physically and emotionally closer to them.These objects may be considered as being good or bad. converting separate into self. they become more like the admired person. and hence generating intrapsychic coherence and integration. in his Genealogy of Morals ([1887] 1956: 217) said ‘All instincts that do not discharge outwardly turn inward. These objects may have active relations with one another. In this way. With the resolution of the Oedipal complex. Nietzsche. Historically. having a part of that person in them. for example attacking and rescuing one another. then they will often take a part of that other person and introject that part into their own ego. Discussion . Internalization effectively turns object into personal subject. with it begins to grow in man what later is called his “soul”. Also. the original idea of internalization has been attributed to Shakespeare. This bringing into the self resonates with the neonatal phase and its integrated wholeness.

means enjoyment and pleasure. introjective identification with the leader also allows group members to more easily identify with one another (perhaps as 'identification by proxy'). Jouissance Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Jouissance Description | Discussion | See also Description Jouissance. This can range from a mother feeling intense connection with a breast-feeding baby to meditative feelings of oneness with the universe. This is made viscerally explicit through the process of Mass or Communion. leading to the calm of old age. It is pleasure and pain together. It contrasts with 'plaisir'. If the part being projected is acceptable. although the other person does not lose anything (and may gain our friendship). Unchecked emotion will control and overwhelm you. Freud used introjective identification to describe how Christians introject Christ into themselves in order to be more like Him. which is a controlled state that happens within cultural norms. in particularly in an over-the-top sense. One of the goals of life is to manage jouissance. . a connection beyond the self. Jouissance is pleasure (and any stimulation) that can be too much to bear. It may be very largely felt as suffering. it is form of 'psychic theft'. Society helps this through controlling mechanisms such as education and cultural norms. In some sense. then the projection-introjection bond is completed. Introjective identification is an opposite of projective identification. in French.Introjection by followers may occur as a response to projection by would-be leaders. It has been said that jouissance is 'drained' from the body throughout life. Within groups. It can indicate a breaking of boundaries. a feeling of being at the edge. where unwanted parts of the ego are projected into another person. where they symbolically eat Christ's body and drink his blood.

universal and constantly felt. the woman. loss and something unattainable. In the phallic economy. It gives ideology power.Discussion In French. A significant part of the game of romance is in chasing jouissance. feels a sense of absence. and thus desires wholeness. This gives women a separate position from which they can 'speak themselves' and resist subjugation. Lacan argues that the subject. We constantly put ourselves into the subject positions of language and cultural codes in seeking to fulfil the futile desire for wholeness. creating meaning for the self within the frame of ideology. Zizek aligns by saying that psychical life is about enjoyment. stands in the place of jouissance and the lost object and is thus becomes both desirable and ultimately unobtainable. Life and death drives Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Life and death drives Description | Discussion | See also Description Freud identified ‘instincts’ or ‘drives’ (Triebe) that he viewed as innate. separated from itself by language. jouissance connotes orgasm as well as pleasure. thus bringing a sense of lack. who lacks the phallus. This is something that boys envy and seek through dominance and possession of girls. It may also be used to indicate orgasm that is not achieved or not 'ultimate'. . Enjoyment comes from escapist fantasy. Jacqueline Rose uses jouissance in description of women's management of identity. We feel jouissance as the pleasure/pain that the subject feels as it tries in vain to recapture the lost object. but which is interwoven with lack and alienation. of being not fully present. Although it can never be gained. and can be used to describe breaking down barriers between self and other. As post-Oedipal girls can sustain a closer relationship with their mother. It cannot be incorporated into the symbolic. they are consequently able to sustain a greater level of jouissance. the anticipated pleasure of hope makes the pursuit a very exciting experience.

This is at the root of several disorders. seeking to maximize gratification whilst minimizing guilt and punishment. Discussion . which lead to anti-social acts from bullying to murder (perhaps as projection of the death drive). cooperation. collaboration and other behaviors that support harmonious societies.. aggression) appears in opposition and balance to Eros and pushes a person towards extinction and an 'inanimate state'. The source is a state of excitation within the body and its aim is to remove that excitation. safety and sustenance and through sexual drives. even to the point where is is harmful to us. ‘The aim of all life is death.. It seeks both to preserve life and to create life. Rocking helps a baby sleep and traumatized adults will return to foetal position and rock frenetically. Thanatos Thanatos (the death drive/instinct. It thus appears as basic needs for health. (Freud. an object and an aim. Repetition Freud also noted that we have a strong drive to repeat things. Freud saw drives as moving towards earlier states. in particular Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). mortido. An instinct may be described as having a source. Eros Eros (the life drive/instinct. including non-existence. and hence pro-social behavior. operates as a constant force and is such that the subject cannot escape from it by flight as he can from an external stimulus.An instinct differs from a stimulus in that it arises from sources of stimulation within the body.inanimate things existed before living ones’ (Freud 1920) Thanatos is associated with negative emotions such as fear. libido) is concerned with the preservation of life and the preservation of the species. 1938) Life is hence seen as largely about dealing with these conflicts. Fixation is a particular effect that leads to repetition where the person is unable to remove their attention from something or someone. hate and anger. Eros is associated with positive emotions of love.

Eating preserves life but destroys that which is eaten. an ‘ideal ego’ that is appealing. the resulting frustration and indignity increases tension to the point where we seek the nearest potential gratification. whereby the identification of Eros automatically defines an opposite. Eros and Thanatos interact and one can turn into the other. The image seems to be perfect. Freud's drives are often misunderstood. and that the most basic human fear is that of disintegration and death. Eros and Thanatos both help define one another. the baby sees its image. crying and laughter. Freud is using a dualist approach. Or maybe when an action fails to fully satisfy. Perhaps repetition is due to drives that are only partially satisfied. The perfect other also . Mirror phase Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Mirror phase Description | Discussion | See also Description At some time between six and eighteen months.In defining these drives. and realises that what it is seeing is somehow itself. With the boundary-formation of identity comes separation. and the image is perceived as distinct Other. casting the human as base and primitive. Perhaps also it is an attempt to completely fulfil all needs. 1977) as the pre-linguistic infant struggles with its first identity conflict. Eros is seen as simple sexuality and hence as morally perverse. which is to attempt the act again. in that one is 'not the other'. This recognition causes great confusion and ‘libidinal dynamism’ (Lacan. an ‘imago’ (Lacan. to be loved and emulated in an enduring narcissistic fantasy. brittle. generally in a mirror. Melanie Klein disagreed with Freud in that she believed that we are born with a fragile. 1949). It is important in early activities such as suckling and crying for attention. weak and unintegrated Ego. The death drive is also unacceptable as it opposes the idea of the sanctity of life and can be seen as excusing or even encouraging suicide. Separation also creates a sense of loss and a lifelong desire to regain the jouissance of the connected wholeness. such a flipping of love and hate.

in a fictional direction. Somewhat wittily. who explained how the imaginary misrecognition 'situates the agency of the ego. consequently seeing one's life as imperfect. I have to be separate from my self. From surreal paranoia. in taking the subject position of the image and looking back on its actual self. looks at themself from the position of the perfect ideal ego. 1949) is compounded when. Self-images continue through their lives to cause narcissistic fascination and/or discomfort in that the image somehow does not look like 'me'. before its social determination. This casts itself as imperfect and inferior. Discussion The mirror phase was defined in 1936 by Jaques Lacan. vain and useless. it both recognizes itself and misrecognizes itself. The image seems to be psychologically integrated and physically coordinated in a way that the baby does not feel. the baby contrasts what it sees with the ‘ego ideal’. Lacan called this the ‘hommelette’ : the little man. The mirror image is the basis of Lacan's 'ideal ego'. Thus identity as a notion I can consider appears.' The mirror separates us from our selves. Adults still feel uncomfortable about themselves as integrated and whole individuals. The desire for the connected whole and the desire for individual perfection represent a tension between non-identity and identity that is perhaps related to Freud’s death and life drives. made out of broken eggs. The 'ego-ideal' is where the subject. within the symbolic order. This misrecognition or méconnaissance (Lacan. 2000). It also may seem to be asking questions or making demands of the child who may wonder what it wants and what it will do.creates envy and dislike and hence further confusion and tension between these polar opposites. . which is a subsequent destination for striving. a post-Freudian psychoanalyst. When a baby sees itself in a mirror. Within the ‘imaginary order’ of this stage. the ego starts to emerge as an unconscious construction. oscillating between alien images and fragments of the real body. thus exaggerating the difference and cementing the trauma of imperfection and self-loathing and the desire to become the unattainable ideal (Leader and Groves. An early sense of jubilation at recognizing its wholeness is followed by a fear that the infant will regress to its previous state of being in 'bits and pieces'. In order to recognize myself. the child continues to build its self image. Narcissism is thus rooted in the adoration of the perfect image. The mirror does not reflect feelings and 'lies' about the apparent independence of the image that the baby does not have.

for example in the lack of consideration of the internal processes that allow misrecognition to take place. it must already have a sense of self. The development of the self thus may be already well under way. For the infant to recognize itself in the mirror. The individual thus recognizes themself as an autonomous subject. Narcissism Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Narcissism Description | Discussion | See also Description Narcissus In Ovid's tale. The goddess Nemesis hears her prayers for vengeance and makes Narcissus fall in love with his own reflection. He sits by the pool. Modern media utilizes the Lacanian fascination with the image. Echo. such as Winnicott. watching it until he dies and turns into the narcissus flower. It is a defense mechanism that is used to protect the child from psychic damage during the formation of the individual self. Primary narcissism Primary narcissism is the initial focus on the self with which all infants start and happens from around six month up to around six years. showing us pictures into which we are invited to project ourselves. leaving behind her voice. The gaze of the goodenough mother does not reflect her own defences but rather a confirmation of the varying moods that the baby is presenting to her. falls in love with him but is rejected and withdraws into a lonely spot and fades away. The more general notion of mirroring has been taken up by others. who saw mirroring occurring in the loving gaze of the mother. Narcissus is the handsome and proud son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. The nymph. which he cannot embrace.Althusser used the mirror principle to explain how ideology is used to reflect both the subject and others and how the mirror of ideology implant received social meaning in the imagined relationship between the person and their existence. This has been criticized. .

Secondary narcissism
Secondary narcissism is the more 'normal' form, where older children and adults seek personal gratification over the achievement of social goals and conformance to social values. A degree of narcissism is is common in many people. It becomes pathological when the narcissist lacks normal empathy and uses others ruthlessly to their own ends. Cerebral narcissists derive their self-adoration from their intellectual abilities and achievements. Somatic narcissists focus on the body, seeking beauty, physique and sexual conquests.

Narcissist characteristics
Narcissists interact socially with others, but do not form relational social bonds with others. In order avoid being 'owned' by others, the narcissist reduces them to non-human objects. Narcissists often need to feel that they are the only good objects in the world and consequently harbor great envy, which appears as narcissistic rage that seeks to destroy the good objects of others. This leaves bad objects intact. The fear of extinction is very significant for narcissists. They often age badly and the signs of aging infuriate them. They envy the young and will avoid or denigrate them. Faced with damning external evidence, they may retreat further inside. Narcissists will deliberately harm themselves in order to frustrate others, failing exams, rejecting advice and taking drugs.

Inverted narcissism
Inverted narcissists projects their narcissism onto another narcissist, using projective identification to keep the narcissistic state both distant and close. They experience narcissism vicariously but are still narcissists.

Symptoms of narcissism include:
• • • • •

Self-aggrandizement to the point of exaggeration, deception and outright lying. Seeking and requiring excessive attention, admiration and rewards from others. Fantasies of fame, power and success. Belief in their superiority over others. Exploitation of others without feelings of guilt. Envy of others. Belief that the perception is reciprocated.

Given to frustration, anger and irrationality when they do not get what they want.

There are several schools of thought about what leads to narcissism. A common theme is that early transition into the 'real world' fails in some way, leading the person to remain, at least in part, in the early self-focused primary narcissistic stage. Narcissism appears across families, perhaps through some genetic causes, but also in the way that a narcissistic parent is unable to bond with its children and thus causes it, too, to become a narcissist.

Narcissus and Oedipus
Narcissism is related to the Oedipus Complex in that Oedipus often follows narcissism and is a method by which narcissism is quelled. Narcissism is about love of the self; Oedipus is about separating and externalizing love of another (the mother) from the self.

For Freud, narcissism is basically the investment of libidinal energy in the ego. Secondary narcissism is regression to primary narcissism and is practiced because it provides gratification. Fantasy generally is nicer than reality. People make anaclitic object choices in the hope that others will fulfil narcissistic needs in the manner of their parents (and especially the nurturing mother). Others who make narcissistic object choice invest their libidinal energy in aspects of themselves. Freud described homosexuals and clinging parents as making narcissistic object choices. When a narcissist loves another, it is because they are like the self in some way.

For Lacan, narcissism starts in the mirror phase, where the misrecognized 'perfect' image is loved. Narcissism becomes problematic when this stage is not fully navigated and the image is not realized as such and seeking after this impossible perfection becomes an obsessive and unending goal.


Klein rejected Freud's idea of primal narcissism. In Object Relations Theory narcissism is a type of object choice in which the self plays a more important part than the real aspects of the object. In narcissists, the ego is split and never fully re-integrated.

For Winnicott, Narcissism is a form of false self. A goal of the good-enough mother is to enable the child to form an integrated and healthy false self through steady disillusionment and use of a transition object.

Heinz Kohut notes that the subject-love of narcissism coexists with object-love of others in most people, and identifies a whole class of self disorders that stem from a damaged development of this normal balance. In particular, these come from a lack of attention from parents or when the child is treated as an extension of a parent's ego.

Otto Kernberg views anaclitic and narcissistic object divisions as irrelevant and has a Self, which is devalued or fixated on aggression. Pathological object relations are detached from the real objects because they are uncomfortable. He sees pathological narcissism as being more than regression to an earlier stage but requiring active investment in a deformed self.

Lasch (1979) attributes increasing narcissism to permissive culture, where the strict super-ego is superseded by the mores of the ego. Capitalism encourages a focus on gratification and social approval and hence also encourages more open narcissism. Absent fathers are also seen as a cause, which links with Lacan's need for successful transitions and the role of the father in the symbolic register. Narcissism may also contribute to the break-up of capitalist systems as a focus on the self ultimately leads to increased transaction cost and diseconomies of scale. Interestingly, narcissism is a far more common condition addressed by psychoanalysts today. In Freudian times the more common condition was more in id-based sexuallybased repression.

Managing narcissists
When you are confronted with a narcissist in a work situation or where you do not want to arouse them, be impressed with them and avoid arguments. Never become dependent on them as they will use and abuse you, then discard you.

Narcissism Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Narcissism Description | Discussion | See also Description Narcissus In Ovid's tale. Secondary narcissism Secondary narcissism is the more 'normal' form. He sits by the pool.To persuade a narcissist. Narcissus is the handsome and proud son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. It becomes pathological when the narcissist lacks normal empathy and uses others ruthlessly to their own ends. Avoid arguments. . The nymph. where older children and adults seek personal gratification over the achievement of social goals and conformance to social values. falls in love with him but is rejected and withdraws into a lonely spot and fades away. To help a narcissist. Primary narcissism Primary narcissism is the initial focus on the self with which all infants start and happens from around six month up to around six years. use flattery and recognition. The goddess Nemesis hears her prayers for vengeance and makes Narcissus fall in love with his own reflection. Ensure you have something unique that they want for as long as you need their attention and compliance. watching it until he dies and turns into the narcissus flower. It is a defense mechanism that is used to protect the child from psychic damage during the formation of the individual self. Do not expect to be able to cure them. which he cannot embrace. leaving behind her voice. A degree of narcissism is is common in many people. especially where they can support their ego through anger that is directed at you. show them their condition without accusation or blame. Echo.

Cerebral narcissists derive their self-adoration from their intellectual abilities and achievements. Given to frustration. power and success. failing exams. admiration and rewards from others. Inverted narcissism Inverted narcissists projects their narcissism onto another narcissist. The fear of extinction is very significant for narcissists. anger and irrationality when they do not get what they want. Belief that the perception is reciprocated. Envy of others. rejecting advice and taking drugs. They envy the young and will avoid or denigrate them. Somatic narcissists focus on the body. at least in part. Cause There are several schools of thought about what leads to narcissism. they may retreat further inside. deception and outright lying. leading the person to remain. Belief in their superiority over others. A common theme is that early transition into the 'real world' fails in some way. Seeking and requiring excessive attention. but do not form relational social bonds with others. using projective identification to keep the narcissistic state both distant and close. They often age badly and the signs of aging infuriate them. physique and sexual conquests. seeking beauty. Narcissists will deliberately harm themselves in order to frustrate others. in the early self-focused primary narcissistic stage. the narcissist reduces them to non-human objects. They experience narcissism vicariously but are still narcissists. Narcissist characteristics Narcissists interact socially with others. Exploitation of others without feelings of guilt. Fantasies of fame. In order avoid being 'owned' by others. which appears as narcissistic rage that seeks to destroy the good objects of others. Faced with damning external evidence. This leaves bad objects intact. Symptoms Symptoms of narcissism include: • • • • • • Self-aggrandizement to the point of exaggeration. Narcissists often need to feel that they are the only good objects in the world and consequently harbor great envy. .

Oedipus is about separating and externalizing love of another (the mother) from the self. Discussion Freud For Freud. In Object Relations Theory narcissism is a type of object choice in which the self plays a more important part than the real aspects of the object. Narcissus and Oedipus Narcissism is related to the Oedipus Complex in that Oedipus often follows narcissism and is a method by which narcissism is quelled. narcissism starts in the mirror phase. Narcissism becomes problematic when this stage is not fully navigated and the image is not realized as such and seeking after this impossible perfection becomes an obsessive and unending goal. where the misrecognized 'perfect' image is loved.Narcissism appears across families. Secondary narcissism is regression to primary narcissism and is practiced because it provides gratification. narcissism is basically the investment of libidinal energy in the ego. Narcissism is about love of the self. When a narcissist loves another. In narcissists. Lacan For Lacan. to become a narcissist. perhaps through some genetic causes. Fantasy generally is nicer than reality. Klein Klein rejected Freud's idea of primal narcissism. Others who make narcissistic object choice invest their libidinal energy in aspects of themselves. Winnicott . but also in the way that a narcissistic parent is unable to bond with its children and thus causes it. the ego is split and never fully re-integrated. People make anaclitic object choices in the hope that others will fulfil narcissistic needs in the manner of their parents (and especially the nurturing mother). it is because they are like the self in some way. too. Freud described homosexuals and clinging parents as making narcissistic object choices.

Kohut Heinz Kohut notes that the subject-love of narcissism coexists with object-love of others in most people. Pathological object relations are detached from the real objects because they are uncomfortable. A goal of the good-enough mother is to enable the child to form an integrated and healthy false self through steady disillusionment and use of a transition object. show them their condition without accusation or blame. In Freudian times the more common condition was more in id-based sexuallybased repression. He sees pathological narcissism as being more than regression to an earlier stage but requiring active investment in a deformed self. Do not expect to be able to cure them. Managing narcissists When you are confronted with a narcissist in a work situation or where you do not want to arouse them. To help a narcissist. Never become dependent on them as they will use and abuse you. . Interestingly. Avoid arguments. use flattery and recognition. In particular. Ensure you have something unique that they want for as long as you need their attention and compliance. these come from a lack of attention from parents or when the child is treated as an extension of a parent's ego. Capitalism encourages a focus on gratification and social approval and hence also encourages more open narcissism. Lasch Lasch (1979) attributes increasing narcissism to permissive culture. Absent fathers are also seen as a cause. which is devalued or fixated on aggression. Kernberg Otto Kernberg views anaclitic and narcissistic object divisions as irrelevant and has a Self. Narcissism is a form of false self.For Winnicott. then discard you. To persuade a narcissist. be impressed with them and avoid arguments. narcissism is a far more common condition addressed by psychoanalysts today. which links with Lacan's need for successful transitions and the role of the father in the symbolic register. and identifies a whole class of self disorders that stem from a damaged development of this normal balance. where the strict super-ego is superseded by the mores of the ego. Narcissism may also contribute to the break-up of capitalist systems as a focus on the self ultimately leads to increased transaction cost and diseconomies of scale. especially where they can support their ego through anger that is directed at you.

Internal Objects are things inside the person. usually another person. Freudian drives can be are of two types: libidinal and aggressive. A Part Object is a part of a person or other object. A Whole Object is a complete object.Object Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Object Description | Discussion | See also Description The Object is something to which a Subject relates. affection and liking. such as a hand or breast. typically other people. Object constancy occurs when a relationship with an external object is stable over a period of time. This can be a person. a physical thing or a concept. . A Bad Object is one which frustrates or otherwise does not support our needs and desires. Good objects are given love. projection and introjection. This is called 'confluence' in Gestalt therapy. External Objects are things external to the person. Bad objects are hated and despised. Part objects can be extrapolated to represent the whole object. A Good Object is one which satisfies our needs and desires. Internal objects achieve permanence with repetition and strong emotional associations. Discussion Freud originally used the term 'object' to mean anything that an infant drives toward in order to satisfy needs. Objects are created through splitting. A Self Object occurs where the self and an object merge. either imagined or internal representations of an external object (which may vary significantly from the represented external object).

we may collapse from within. Identity is defined by 'others'. gender. This allows them to have substance and be projected. In grammar. Winnicott and others took the view that the drive was more towards relationship with others. replacing the purposeful agent with a dumb puppet. These differences are internal to language. In a primitive way. the cat is the subject and the mat is the object.). the object in a sentence is acted on by the verb. Subject Explanations > Identity > Subject Description | Discussion | See also Description This is the view of identity being built by being the 'subject' of language. They include relations of power. etc. Althusser's 'subject' came from attempts to rethink Marxism. Objects can include feelings and ideas. sexuality. infants will assume these as being concrete things. When we distance ourselves from these others. seeking to put conscious activity at the heart of Marxism in combination with the 'alienation' of people from their full altruistic potential. and that other people are primary 'objects' of desire and attention. Identities are produced through relations of difference (race.Klein. Thus. • • • • • Identities are built by and in the subject positions. 'Humanity' is ignored in favor of the way our environment and cultures controls us through language. They are interpellated. in 'the cat sat on the mat'. Individuals are inserted ('sutured') into subject positions by the unconscious. . Discussion There is a whole position around identity as being the 'subject of language' that takes an anti-humanist and structural view of the person. using structuralism in opposition to mechanistic thought in a more humanist way. They are available to us in language and cultural symbolic codes. equating internal feeling with external feeling.

the cat is the subject and the mat is the object. 'I' can also be used (by you) to mean you. including 'I'. but are the products of ideology 'speaking through' the subject. Lacan argues that subject positions are made available in the symbolic order into which people place themselves in order to speak that position. For Saussure. thus fragmenting identity across time and space. as 'I' become 'you' when others talk. In grammar. To define 'I' there must be a 'you'. This challenges the notion that 'I' exists outside of language. Althusser has also been criticized for how his subject is magically created of nowhere (what is there before the subject?). making it unstable as a definer of identity. the subject is the person or thing in a sentence that does what the verb says. Thus. but not a person. Identity (as everything) in language comes from difference. in 'the cat sat on the mat'. He also noted that there is always a gap between the subject and the subject position they inhabit. He believed that nothing exists outside of language. These are also reversible. Althusser uses Lacan's mirror phase to highlight how subjects are interpellated.He saw human individuals being constituted as subjects through ideology. the subject is an effect or product of the process of signifying. Object Relations Theory Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Object Relations Theory Description | Discussion | See also Description . to the object. Consciousness and agency are experienced. Speaking from 'I' creates the 'I'. but does not recognize the critical misrecognition that Lacan highlights. and that 'ego is he who says "ego"'. Barthes noted that language knows a subject. Hall notes how the speaker and the spoken are never identical. Benveniste said that man constitutes himself as a subject in and through language.

Object Relations Theory considers the child having multiple internal objects. in particular within a family and especially between the mother and her child. Thus we have a relationship with the internal mother as well as an external one. Oedipus Complex Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Oedipus Complex Description | Discussion | See also . as well as with external objects. Discussion The idea of object relations was invented and developed in a paper by Karl Abraham (1927). ORT is related to Attachment Theory. Winnicott differentiated between object-relating and object-usage. Object-relating is a phenomenon of the subject and thus about Projection and the early undifferentiated unity when the mother facilitates the child's illusion of omnipotence. who focused on introjection of same-sex parents. particularly with the mother as the principal object. as it requires cognitive separation from the object.Object Relations Theory is a theory of relationships between people. Klein saw relations with the breast as significant. He projects his bad feeling and associates her with it. The development of male gender identity is seen as more difficult as the first person with whom the infant identifies is female. he loves and adores her. When he is angry. When he is happy. however Melanie Klein is largely credited with developing the modern theory. When the child is prematurely withdrawn or the breast does not provide sufficient food. As the child feeds. Unlike Freud. The mother thus receives love or destructive attack depending on this. in which case it is loved and cherished. The baby experiences extremes of feeling. Object-usage is more developed. the child is frustrated and the breast is hated and the recipient of hostile thoughts. It is also concerned with the relation between the subject and their internalized objects. A basic tenet is that we are driven to form relationships with others and that failure to form successful early relationships leads to later problems. it feels gratified and satiated when the breast produces sufficient milk. it is total anger and rejects and thrusts away the mother.

The opposite. Transferring of affections may also occur as the child seeks to become independent and escape a perceived 'engulfing mother'. the child realizes that there is a difference between their mother and their father. some kind of primitive physical sensations are felt when they regard and think about the parent in question. both in terms of competing with each other for the child's affections and also competing with the child for the affection of the other parent. . dependence and intimacy. Jealousies The primitive desire for the one parent may also awaken in the child a jealous motivation to exclude the other parent. The child may also form some kind of erotic attachment to the parent of the opposite sex.this can also be a part of the struggle to assert one's identity and rebellion against parental control. Primitive jealousies are not necessarily constrained to the child and and both parents may join in the game. Sexual awakening At some point. Whilst their understanding of the full sexual act may be questioned. a boy is fixated on his mother and competes with his father for maternal attention. the attraction of a girl to her father and rivalry with her mother. is sometimes called the Electra complex. This is a natural part of the child becoming more independent and is facilitated by the realization that the mother desires more than just the child. Around the same time they realize that they are more alike to one than the other. Note that opposition to parents may not necessarily be sexually based -. Thus the child acquires gender. The process of transitioning A critical aspect of the Oedipal stage is loosening of the ties to the mother of vulnerability.Description In the Oedipus complex. A critical point of awakening is where the child realizes that the mother has affections for others besides itself.

The Oedipal move blocks the routes of sexual and identification love back to the mother. Thus she can be the subject of object love. Women thus create a tension in boys between a lost paradise and dangerous sirens. The father effectively says 'You must be like me -. This separation and externalization of love allows a transition away from narcissism of earlier stages. What about the girls? Most writings about the Oedipal stage focus largely or exclusively on boys. That separation may be emphasized with scorn and a sense of mastery over women. Separation The boy thus returns to the mother as a separate individual. where the point of healthy distance is a dynamically negotiated position. Separation leads to unavailability and hence the scarcity principle takes must wait to love her. She becomes a separate object. the child transitions their attentions from mother to father. Their unique attributes. also lost and must be given up as a part of the distancing process. Excessive separation leads to a sense of helplessness that can in turn lead to patterns of idealized control and self-sufficiency. Whilst the boy becomes separated from the mother. it is a long time before he can be independent of her and hence must develop a working relationship that may reflect the tension of love and difference he feels. from softness to general femininity are. Women become separated reminders of lost and forbidden unity. that can also be seen in the long separation of boys and girls in play and social relationships. This is a source of male denigration of women. in consequence. Women become thus both desired and feared. The father's role in this is much debated. The symbolic phallus becomes a means of protection for the boy and the rituals of mastery used to cover up feelings of loss. such that comforting is available but is required only upon occasion.' The child thus also learns to wait and share attention. removed from his ideal self. such as Lacan's symbolic register. as I do. who are seen to have a particular problem as they start with an attachment to the Mother that they have .you may not be like the mother -. The relationship thus may return to a closer mother-son tie. increasing desire. In a number of accounts.

Historical Oedipus In the Greek play by Sophocles. When at last the truth comes out. a uniquely satisfying opposite-sex relationship can be built. his real mother. king of Thebes. She thus resents her mother who she believe castrated her. The dangers of incestuous abuse add. This is not as strong a separation as boys and girls can sustain a closer female-female relationships with the mothers. The father symbolizes attractive power and a potentially hazardous male-female relationship is formed. with predictable jealousies and envy as the mother completes the triangle. The Electra complex. as the start position is female-female connection. although secret desires for the father can result in the girl feeling some guilt about the relationship. Horrified by this. as well as boys. Discussion There are three common threads in the Oedipus complex: The primacy of the desire for one-ness. At Thebes. in turn. quarrels and kills him. that also includes appropriate distance. and so a healthy fatherdaughter relationship may be built. he flees Corinth. need to find independence and their separation from the mother is a matter of creating a separate femininity. she imagines she will gain one if he makes her pregnant. Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus. relinquish both from the point of view of individual independence and especially as a result of the social incest taboo which forbids excessively-close in-family relationships. he correctly answers the sphinx's question and hence wins the hand of Jocasta. identified by Carl Jung. is told by the Delphic oracle that he will kill his father and marry his mother. the maternal embodiment of this and the necessity of paternal intervention. This perhaps explains something of why relationships with others is a more important part of a female life than it is for a male. Oedipus is rescued by a shepherd and taken to the king of Corinth who raises him as a son. is told by an oracle that he would be killed by his son and so leaves Oedipus out on the mountainside to die. At a crossroads he meets Laius. As with mother-son. Oedipus. and perhaps develop. once the incest taboos are established. blinds himself with her golden brooch. . Girls. finding her. Jung suggested that when the girl discovers she lacks penis that her father possesses. with whom he had two sons and two daughters. the female position of siren temptation. It is neither a direct mirror image of Oedipus. The father does provide a haven from female-female jealousies. and so moves emotionally closer to him. occurs where a triangle of mother-fatherdaughter plays out is not a part of traditional psychoanalysis.

'We cannot get away from the assumption that man's sense of guilt springs from the Oedipus complex and was acquired at the killing of the father by the brothers banned together'. The child can hence either speak itself from the position of 'having the phallus' or lacking it. Note that Lacan considered that the Oedipal stage can be successfully navigated without the father. He considers it a stage where the child experiences an erotic attachment to one parent and hostility toward the other parent. 1930) Freud links the Oedipus complex with development the superego. Freud cites the incest taboo as as at the root of many other prohibitions. rather than being something innate. The pre-Oedipal child tries to make good the lack. taking this position requires living up to the god-like status of having the phallus. Freud Freud puts the Oedipal stage as occurring between 3-5 years. rather than the father himself which facilitates the way through Rose Jacqueline Rose uses Lacan to show how sexual identity is acquired through the Oedipus crisis. But the mother desires the phallus that will cover over her division in language. Klein . He sees the struggle against this as a core part of this development period with transgressions in practice and phantasy. which uses guilt to prevent continuation of incestuously oriented relationships. Having a penis. as long as cultural norms and prohibitions can be met. the mother is characterized by 'lack' of a phallus. Lacan For Lacan. (Freud. or 'castration' and seeks to speak or use words such that it can stand in for that which is missing. However. boys are more likely to take the former position. as it is these. The child then realizes its own lack.Electra was the daughter of Agamemnon who helped plan the murder of her mother. Failure to get past this trigger point and into the symbolic order is considered to be a classic cause of lasting neurosis. The ensuing triangular tension is seen as being the root of most mental disorders.

for the boy.from early infancy onwards includes genital sensations and trends. or even exchanging bodily excretions. . and early anxieties may reappear. is also a part of instilling the incest taboo.. She saw how children realizes a sexual link between parents at an early age. saw oedipal conflict occurring much earlier than Freud and involving part-objects rather than whole parent-figures. Early group setting are familial or kinship and these are used as later templates for group activity. Thus the Oedipal stage involves working through the paranoid-schizoid position to the depressive position. who represents selfinvolvement and denial of reality. devouring one another. Bion Wilfred Bion placed the Oedipus complex even earlier than Klein. at least in phantasy. in contrast to Narcissus. which constitute the first stages of the inverted [desire toward the same-sex parent and aggression toward opposite sex one] and positive Oedipus complex. The gender polarity that Oedipus creates is echoed in modern feminist concerns and male confusion as rights issues erode instinctive positions. Klein also identifies the Oedipal situation which occurs throughout life. through her work with young children. She see emotional and sexual development occurring: '. He related pairing to the Oedipal stage and the importance of the family group. 1945) She places the Oedipal complex as occurring in the paranoid-schizoid position. the incest taboo holds and this is a relatively harmless attachment. and including infantile sadism. thus conceiving of feeding one another. In most cases. Oedipus represents responsibility and guilt. where the infant's world is largely split and relations are mainly to part-objects. where there may be intragender rivalries. hypothesizing an innate oedipal preconception.Melanie Klein. but perceives it through the infantile experience. for example where the daughter continues to compete with the mother for the father's attention.. How early this starts has been questioned including a consideration that some version of the Oedipal stage occurring almost from the very beginning. Oedipus is an escape from early fantasy of omnipotence. Other notes A common experience in families is that the opposite gender relationships of mother-son and father-daughter are stronger than same-sex relationships. Moving away from the mother.' (Klein. As well as the classic early Oedipus complex.

showing first that there is existence outside our bodies. Otherness thus creates familiarity and attraction. Others may reflect us. we realize that we are divided and not whole. and so we can see how we are different from others. All recognition comes through contrast. to signify its omnipotence. create and define ourselves. The other is outside us. What we see in the other tells us what is right and wrong. Our own image is a special form of other. which opposites provide. An other person does the same for identity. When we see ourselves in an other. In all sensory recognition. perfect and imperfect. Others can be imagined people. It shows us where our own boundary is. so we can see ourselves from the third-person perspective. as we know that it is us. Thus we may define an ideal prototype personality to which we aspire and use this as a comparison. good and bad. This Other may be capitalized. . Others may be not-us. we are created as subjects. Otherness thus creates alienation and fear. There can be multiple others each giving us a perspective on ourselves. Accepting that creation means accepting the other as superior and creator and hence deifying them. yet it does not seem to be us.Other Explanations > Identity > Other Description | Discussion | See also Description In searching for and creating our identity. This creates a deep and lifelong desire to become whole again. The other is not us and thus helps us to understand. When the other interpellates us. difference enables us to separate and name. we create the other.

. This attachment to objects continues throughout our lives.Objects can be others too. as in the dynamic oscillation of the Taoist yin and yang. innate conflict between the opposing life and death drives (manifested as destructive envy) and by interactions in external reality. Other-ness is a key element of dualism. The ego and id (and the ego and super-ego) may be consider others to one another. as we see ourselves in relation to and reflected in the things around us. it is as if a part of the child is removed and they feel a sense of loss. The paranoid-schizoid position Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > The paranoid-schizoid position Description | Discussion | See also Description Anxiety is experienced by the early infant’s ego both through the internal. each creating the other. where the world is seen as a set of pairs. Winnicott described the transition object. Discussion Lacan described how the Other is discovered in his Mirror phase. where one thing is understood only in terms of its opposite. whilst expelling bad objects and projecting bad feelings onto an external object. A child seeks to retain good feelings and introjects good objects. Laplanche described primal seduction as the offering of a message by a parent to a child. When it is removed. which is typically a doll or blanket that represents not-me for the child. Communication from an other entices the child away from its state of one-ness with the mother. The expulsion is motivated by a paranoid fear of annihilation by the bad object. The thing also creates its opposite. where we first see our own image.

This splitting. pulling apart the fragile ego. for Klein. in the way that it seeks to prevent the bad object from contaminating the good object by separating them via the inside-outside barrier. The initial paranoid schizoid position spans the first 3 to 4 months of life and subsequently can play a forceful role. provide the same function as the Oedipal experience in the formation of the psyche. Extreme emotions can lead to flipping of mood. throughout a person's life. . to different degrees according to different circumstances. The child's ego does not yet have the ability to tolerate or integrate these two different aspects. faced by anxiety. making it more comforting and a contrasting polar opposite of the bad object. Klein described 'envy' as the hatred of an external object that led to aggression. Wilfred Bion described how the paranoid-schizoid position appears in adult group members when. they become a Basic Assumption Group. projection and introjection has a frighteningly disintegrative effect. The schizoid response to the paranoia is then to excessively project or introject those parts. Good and bad can each transform into the other. as also appears in stories where the good person gets corrupted and the bad person repents.Klein describes this as splitting. The paranoid-schizoid position is often followed by the more mature depressive position. Projective identification is commonly used to separate bad objects whilst also keeping them close. which can lead to confused aggression. and thus uses 'magical' omnipotent denial in order to remove the power and reality from the persecuting bad object. Aggression is common in splitting as fear of the bad object causes a destructive stance. This transformation often occurs as sudden conversion rather than a gradual slide. As a part of the separation process. This splitting can be seen in children's stories in the clear division and separation between good and bad. perhaps in the way of agony-ecstasy. seeking to keep the good and bad controlled and separated. Discussion Klein considers that anxiety occurs very early in an infant's life as the shock of external reality leads to pain and fears of annihilation. the good object may be idealized. Manic-depressive states.

communication and representation. However. omnipotence and even godhood. In the male sense. Women desire the phallus and hence are attracted to men. it 'covers over' the division of the subject from the mother. either 'having the phallus' or 'lacking it' (often framed as 'being the phallus'). It is a position of unreachable 'fixity' from which the subject could speak as if it were the author of its own meaning. Discussion Lacan saw the phallus as the symbolic function. it connotes general lack. ultimate power. Phantasy vs.Phallus Explanations > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Phallus Description | Discussion | See also Description The phallus is used in psychoanalysis either as a symbol of ultimate male power or the female lack. both on the assumption that the mother desire the phallus. This becomes particularly significant during gender discovery and the Oedipus Complex. the bearer of the 'Law of the father'. it symbolizes creation. It represents exchange. this ultimate quality is also unattainable and hence also indicates lack. In the female sense. In the symbolic register. fantasy Description | Discussion | See also . fantasy Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Phantasy vs. Taking up a position relative to the phallus enables the child to position itself sexually. where the boy may re-present himself to his mother as 'having the phallus' and the girl as 'being the phallus'. loss and an aching sense of incompleteness.

a daydream. In Klein’s concept. between reality and imagination. She saws phantasies as prime motivators and thus as important forces for development. . Through its ability to phantasize the baby tests out. We fantasize consciously about future possibilities and fulfilment of our basic needs and wishes. 1986) Fantasy Fantasy is a reverie. phantasy emanates from within and imagines what is without. drives and instincts. and emotions. if at all. Fantasies may well include elements of the deeper unconscious phantasies. pre-linguistic existence. infants differentiate little. its experiences of inside and outside. Discussion Klein's view Klein was particularly interested in the early psychological development. it offers an unconscious commentary on instinctual life and links feelings to objects and creates a new amalgam: the world of imagination. an imagined unreality that anyone can create. In their early.Description Phantasy Phantasy is a state of mind of an infant child during the early stages of development. modified by feelings. They are constructed from internal and external reality. They are largely unconscious in that they are not differentiated from conscious reality. and then projected into both real and imaginary objects. (Mitchell. They appear in symbolic form in dreams. Phantasies are the means by which infants make sense of the external world and hence relate to it through Projection and Introjection. Phantasies stem from genetic needs. primitively ‘thinks’ about. play and neuroses.

including the expression of internal object relations. For example a child who sucks its thumb is enacting the phantasy of feeding. as it were. Phantasies develop in and into play. rather than alongside them. unconscious phantasies underlie not only dreams but all thought and activity. Klein puts phantasies beneath unconscious wishes. He saw phantasies as imagined fulfilments of frustrated wishes.continue throughout development and accompany all activities. through projection. and exert a continuous and powerful influence on the emotional and intellectual life of the individual" (Klein:1975:290) Phantasies satisfy instincts by converting them into ideas and images. They modify external events. Phantasies continue through childhood and into adult life. but looked to the unconscious wish as the prime mover. "Phantasies . imprints that do not fade away but get stored up. and Klein used 'play therapy' to learn about the early development of infants as a more effective method than Freud's use of free association. both creative and destructive. remain active. Satisfying experiences are re-enacted internally through phantasies. the construction of Others. Phantasy thus allows us to construct both our own identity and also. their imprints on the mind.For Klein. Phantasies come from instincts that border physical and psychical activities and are thus experienced both physically and mentally. investing them with significance.becoming more elaborate and referring to a wider range of objects and situations . Hunger leads to a phantasy of an object that can satisfy it. A world of good and bad objects are thus constructed through a process of projection and introjection between the external and internal worlds. they never stop playing a great part in all mental life" (Klein:1997:251) Freud's view Freud recognized phantasies. Play Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Play Description | Discussion | See also . Phantasy enables the ego to perform its most basic function of establishing object relations. "Infantile feelings and phantasies leave.

the reel acts as a transition object. This 'moment of hesitation' in which the baby was given both the presence and the space to be in its quiet inner world. the spatula become a 'something'. in phantasy. been harmed by the child which leads to her absence and is an anxiety of the depressive position. The child is reassuring itself by showing that something that disappears can be brought back at will. It is important to give the child time to decide. a spatula. the reel is a symbolization of an internal object that is the mother who has. This encourages the creation of meaning.Description As a pediatrician and student of Melanie Klein. perhaps waving it about. The child's actions involve projective identification towards the reelmother. Spatula game In the early spatula game that Winnicott observed. For Winnicott. Creativity becomes passive compliance or thought of as fraud and envied. from the table and interacts with it. representing the mother and aiding the transition to independence. which keeps the game going and gives the therapist more material. the baby holds the spatula quietly. uninterrupted. even on small things. If a child is hurried or directed in its early reaching to objects then it does not have time to invest meaning in the object. the 15 month child throws a cotton reel from its cot and pulls it back into sight. Squiggle game In the later squiggle game (as used by Winnicott) the therapist makes a squiggle and asks the child to turn it into something. moved up and down by the child with the delight of discovery. disappearing and reappearing. is critical for Winnicott. perhaps an airplane. a baby picks up a tongue depressor. pausing. Fort! Da! In Freud's Fort! Da! game ('Gone! Here!'). Winnicott found play to be an important part of the child's development process. Then suddenly. The child is then invited to make a squiggle in return. unmoving. This may well symbolize the mother. For Klein. Play therapy . At some point. remaining an alien object from the adult world.

place. In the diagnostic interview the analyst makes contact with the projected aspects of the child's inner world of object relations through an initial play contact. In a scientific manner. toys. etc. Play is seen as a 'safe' place where phantasy and fantasy may be used. Counter-transference is also monitored with care. but for children it is a multipurpose vehicle for learning and adapting to the real world. Play therapy has been developed further. but there is a general theme of letting the child lead and any interaction is done very carefully. they copy and rehearse life scenarios in order to understand and introject social codes. the child is seen by the therapist under consistent conditions (same time. The analyst takes great care in understanding projection and introjection. a truer assessment is possible. including by such as Carl Rogers. Pleasure-pain principle Explanations > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Pleasure-pain principle Description | Discussion | See also Description . In early play. by keeping variable to a minimum. children experience and experiment with objects. environment. even innocuous-seeming items can be perceived as a threat and change the child's manner. Some play therapy approaches are more directive than others.In Klein's play therapy (or the Psychoanalytic Play Technique). hence allowing the therapist to directly interact with the inner world of the client. As therapeutic healing. New. Later on.). and other aspects of Object Relations Theory as an understanding of the child's inner world is sought. It is critical that the child feels safe. it can be used with adults also. Discussion Play is often viewed as irrelevant recreation by adults.

Pain can be more immediate than pleasure. Discussion The pleasure-pain principle was originated by Sigmund Freud in modern psychoanalysis. rock and roll and other methods of gratification. When pleasure and pain occur together. The reverse is also true. This can develop into a general preference in life towards avoidance. Pleasure and pain are basic principles in Conditioning. the idea that life is to be lived to the full and pleasure sought as a primary goal. more than 300 years BC. although Aristotle noted their significance in his 'Rhetoric'. Pleasure is also related to Jeremy Benham's notions in Utilitarianism. leading us to become more concerned with avoidance of pain and hence paying more attention to it. that we will seek immediate gratification of needs. Projection and Introjection Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Projection and Introjection Description | Discussion | See also .We are born with a pleasure principle. and that Pain is the opposite. Hedonists in the extreme will be selfdestructive in their use of sex. where you get more of what you reward and less of what you punish. where the 'felcific calculus' is used to calculate the maximum utilitarian gain in happiness. 'We may lay it down that Pleasure is a movement. whilst seeking pleasure people will also seek to avoid pain. Simultaneous pain and pleasure is a basis for masochism. drugs. which itself may be pleasant or painful and hence determine what happens. a movement by which the soul as a whole is consciously brought into its normal state of being. for which our bodies reward us with feelings of pleasure. and the pain principle says that. Pleasure and pain are at the root of the principles of Pull and Push. a certain amount of confusion may occur.' The pleasure principle is at the base on hedonism.

Introjection is not as primitive as incorporation. According to Freud. An introjected object is drawn into the 'inner circle'. This can be a defense mechanism where it is used to expel and externalize uncomfortable inner thoughts and feelings. the ego and the superego are constructed by introjecting external behavior into the subject's own persona. Introjection is thus 'input' into the internal world from the outer world.Description Projection and introjection describe some interactions between the inner and outer worlds. Introjective identification is the taking in of someone else's good objects. but can still have a life of its own. Introjection Introjection occurs where a subject takes into itself the behaviors. It is thus 'output' from the internal world into the outer world. Projection Projection takes aspects of one's internal world and projects them onto external subjects. attributes or other external objects. This can be a defense mechanism where one takes on attributes of a strong other person who is able to cope with the current threat. Projective identification involves projection into another object and then identifying with the object (often a person). Projection is based on an unconscious phantasy of excretion and expulsion. as it often involved drawing an object in. This keeps bad parts of the self at a safe distance without losing them. It is based on an unconscious phantasy of ingestion. A common pattern is where a child introjects aspects of parents into its own persona. but not incorporating it into the body. This occurs with people we like or admire. especially of other people. Discussion .

doing this in order to connect with and hence understand other people. The person then identifies with that other person. It may again be used to 'put yourself in another's shoes'. The projecting person may also seek to be physically close to the person into whom the phantasy is projected. . perhaps whilst internal struggles occur. Discussion Projective identification is an important part of Klein's paranoid-schizoid position and depressive position. it may well be onto another person. Projective identification Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Projective identification Description | Discussion | See also Description When a person expels a bad object. and hence has means to control them.Much of psychoanalysis is concerned with the interaction between the outer world inner worlds: how we take in and make sense of external events and how we put our inner thoughts and understandings back out into the outer world. Projective identification may also be used to externalize confusing or uncertain aspects of the self so they can be studied more objectively and then re-internalized in a more acceptable form. Projective identification is used to project the bad object into (not onto) another person so it becomes a part of that person. The person projected into may consequently be pressured to behave congruently with the projective phantasy. Projective identification may even be used to put good parts of the self into other people in order to keep them safe. Another form of projective identification that is associated with the depressive position is a way of expressing unconscious hope for internal change.

The reality principle says that we learn how deferring pleasure and enduring pain can result in an overall improvement in pleasure. This can also leads to confusion of the self around the identity connection with the external person. Deferred pleasure also allows an ongoing anticipated pleasure. Reality principle Explanations > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Reality principle Description | Discussion | See also Description Demanding immediate gratification. Deferrment of pleasure is related to Jeremy Benham's notions in Utilitarianism. but also as a way of relating to others. Discussion The reality principle was originated by Sigmund Freud. as in the Pleasure-pain principle. that adds to the overall pleasure of delay. is not always a good move and we have to learn to wait.Thus the infant projects 'excrements' into the mother such that the dangerous parts of the ego are safely removed but will not be lost. This is particularly difficult for an infant who is driven by primitive needs and lacks sophisticated reasoning. who endure the pain of corporal annihilation in the belief in eternal pleasure in heaven. The reality principle also explains such as religiously-motivated suicide bombers. where the 'felcific calculus' is used to calculate the maximum utilitarian gain in happiness. Asbach and Sharmer (1987) described how projective identification not only was used as an intrapsychic defense. Splitting .

loved and admired whilst the bad part is attacked or repressed. Discussion Splitting was first described by Freud in his work on fetishes and pathological grief. from visual appearance to concepts and ideas. in order to protect the good object from being contaminated by the bad object. 1900). whilst expelling bad objects and projecting bad feelings onto an external object. we all have multiple internal voices which may have appeared from repression. "Splitting is a boundary-creating mode of thought and therefore a part of an order generating process. Splitting can lead to polar simplification and classification. Klein describes splitting in the way a child seeks to retain good feelings and introject good objects. not thinking of the separate thoughts at the same time. then the person is also split. this is a basis for schizophrenia. Klein considered that splitting could not happen without division of the ego. In more general practice. where he referred to a mental process by which two separate and contradictory versions of reality could co-exist (Freud. such as where an object is assigned as good or bad. In extreme. the person will cognitively separate them. When a person holds two thoughts in the mind that are contradictory or otherwise so uncomfortable. This is a process of 'psychic economy' whereby a complex situation is simplified by separation rather than resolution. A common split is into good and bad.Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Splitting Description | Discussion | See also Description In its most fundamental form. The good part can then be retained. 1986) . The lines of division can be any form." (Ogden. Splitting is a part of ordinary life as well as an aspect of schizophrenia. When a part of the self is associated with both of two separated thoughts. splitting is the separation of one item into two such that they can be handled separately. rather than considered as something more complex. classically between instincts of love and hate.

with the symbolic rules being represented as the 'Name of the Father' (or ‘Law of the Father’). This entraps the child in the symbolism of linguistic codes. In this pattern.’ (Silverman.Splitting is an essential part of learning. Splitting also is seen as a normal part of development. The 'Name of the Father' Lacan describes insertion into the ‘symbolic order’ through an Oedipal crisis. facilitated by the father. To understand something in more detail is to split it. through language. the child gradually acquires language. further separating it from the real and pre-mirror stage. The father may well be involved. Lacan thus navigates the controversy over Freud’s more literal descriptions. where 'more and more is known about less and less'. Splitting of ideas is thus a hierarchical process. Acquisition of language In this period. The Symbolic Register Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > The Symbolic Register Description | Discussion | See also Description The Symbolic Register (or 'Symbolic Order') is Lacan's third and final stage of early development that occurs in the post-mirror phase. . such as when a child differentiates itself from its context. This phase breaks the early relationship with the mother as language and social codes take over as the major source of meaning for the child. to cultural codes. It may be combined with association of separated ideas to build a network of understanding. but the principle is that the child gets introduced. from 18 months up to about the age of around four. 1983). ‘the signifier 'father' has no relation whatever to the physical fact of any individual father.

This instability prevents stability of any identity-ego created by the unconscious. in contrast with the Freudian view of the unconscious as 'inside'. being deep-seated and present at birth. He considers the unconscious as arriving in the symbolic order. as a transition to the symbolic order where obedience of cultural laws includes the very strict incest taboo. Lacan considered that language even structures the unconscious – a break from the Freudian view of the unconscious as a virtually autonomous entity. As the child learns to communicate and think in linguistic terms. we ‘language reality into existence’. it gains the benefits of shared and encapsulated meaning but simultaneously is separated from anything outside these definitions. compounding experiences of lack and desire. Whilst language brings social comfort it also separates the child further from the ‘real’ of the neo-natal period as linguistic codes create a new reality. Discussion Lacan conceives of the linguistic unconscious by adopting Saussure's signs. which requires that the boy gives up sexual desires for his mother and the girl for her father. she can sustain a closer relationship and hence also sustain greater jouissance. Language also has benefits. As a religion denies consideration of things outside its belief system (Rockeach. which the child must adopt to enable interaction with others. so language excludes thoughts about that which is not named.Words and linguistic structures are defined by cultural and social norms. wherein different gender roles are subtly inculcated. and that the unconscious is 'outside' the subject. As the girl does not have to give up her relationship with her mother. metaphor and metanymy. Lacan engages the Freudian Oedipal stage in a characteristically symbolic way. societal sexual differentiation asserts itself. These are still symbolic and Lacan argued that rather than producing complementary ‘male’ and ‘female’ entities. operating with relations of difference. condemning the child to a life of uncertainty. 1960). Thus it gains social identity as it accepts subject positions interpellated by the father and significant others through language. Unconscious Lacan describes the unconscious as 'structured like a language'. In language and the symbolic order. bringing social meaning to the child and the comfort of acknowledgement and acceptance by others as the child joins the wholeness of society. the fantasy on . As in the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. although subverting this by rejecting the stability of the signified and framing the unconscious as a interconnected and sliding sea of signifiers.

when we are pre-mirror and pre-symbolic.which these are founded should be exposed (Rose 1986). We get as close to the 'real' as possible during the neonatal phase. The Real The 'real' is a world which we never actually perceive. We know it is there. We thus oscillate between seeking identity and seeking to lose it for example in crowds. Living in the real is almost animalistic in that it is dominated by need and satisfaction. we always have a sense of lack. It is the world outside of our senses that we can only perceive through those senses. constantly moving us to seek completion. Rose describes the difference that ‘Men and women are signifiers. It is as behind a dark glass. This is a fundamental motivational force. but can only see a filtered version of it. After the amorphous neonatal phase. bound to the common usage of language’ This leads to a life-long sense of lack and seeking after the wholeness and feeling of connection of the early stage. whereby we perceive and understand. Three registers of human reality Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Three registers of human reality Description | Discussion | See also Description Lacan described what he called 'three registers of human reality'. this involves separating things out. existing before the constraints of language. but we never really know it fully. Because we cannot fully know the real. . meditation. The Imaginary The imaginary is not so much about 'imagination' as 'images'. They have outlines and are distinguished from one another. Images are coherent objects. of something missing or wrong. stories and hobbies. mental models and cultural codes that censor such basic mores.

This need for dynamic balance also shows that there is no perfect and stable subject position. If this imbalance happens. but in doing so we leave behind the 'real'. in particular language. The Transition Object Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > The Transition Object Description | Discussion | See also Description Mother substitute . we do not need words. The imaginary is associated with the Mirror phase. without one dominating to the exclusion of the others. With symbols. we can only get to 'reality' in terms of images and symbols (and a written image is a symbol). Symbolic understanding is most closely aligned with the Symbolic register. A healthy psyche has an effective balance between the three registers. where a child sees an image of itself and knows it as itself. When we think in images. we can communicate with others and partake of the wider social sphere. We can thus never know the real. then neurosis appears. The Symbolic Symbolic understanding uses metaphor and other symbols and signs to represent our perceptions and ideas. Discussion Although we seek to understand and communicate about the real. It is thus pre-symbolic and pre-language.The imagination can be used to help fill in the void that is created by the inaccessible real by making images of completeness.

The idea of the transition object can also now be applied to the mother. However the object is now intimately bound up with the identity of the child.When a mother (or carer) leaves an infant. Discussion . Taking away the object from the child can cause great anxiety as they are now truly without their mother and suffer great feelings of loss and aloneness. It must never be changed. It has warmth or some vitality that indicates is has a reality of its own. they can easily become upset by the disappearance of their primary care-giver. In this way. The object may be cuddled. Key attributes of the transition object include: • • • • • • The infant has total rights over it. This is a form of splitting as the mother is divided between the actual mother and the transition object. To compensate and comfort for this sense of loss. and who can be a significant representative of the external world. that is reminiscent of the mother's warm arms and breast. except by the infant. it helps the child develop its sense of 'other' things. By cuddling the object. Not-me The transition object also supports the development of the self. This item is called a Transition Object. By looking at the object. Around 60% of children adopt such objects. Over time. it loses meaning and becomes relegated to a kind of limbo where it is neither forgotten nor mourned. Use of transition objects starts to appear at around 4 to 6 months. The transition object is typically something soft. who becomes identified as separate from the infant. Taking away the object now is also taking away something of the child itself. they feel that they are cuddling the mother and thus feel comforted. It exists independently of 'inside' or 'outside' and is not a hallucination. as it is used to represent 'not me'. loved and mutilated. when the infant is moving towards the external world. the child knows that it is not the object and hence something individual and separate. they imbue some object with the attributes of the mother. but has not quite separated it from the internal world. such as blanket or soft toy.

Use of the transition object is related to Klein's description of the depressive position. etc. Photographs. typically the breast. the child is also phantasizing that it is not omnipotent and can yet survive this initially scary state. The object also facilitates the transition from a 'magical' sense of omnipotence to control through physical manipulation. mementos and other memorabilia are used to remember good times and friends. True self. and 'treasured possessions' have a far more significant effect on the ego if they are lost. A problem can occur when the object becomes a pacifier on which the child fixates rather than using it to transition to independence. places and people. It thus becomes a tool for practicing interaction with the external world. The use of transition objects continues through our lives as we imbue objects with meaning and memories that are associated with other ideas. that not only defines the object but also defines me. It can take the object anywhere and receive a quick dose of comfort whenever it feels anxious. false self Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > True self. Possessions can vary in the degree to which they have this effect. The transition object is a tool that allows the child to let go of the mother and develop a more independent existence.The creation of a transition object is perhaps the first truly creative act of the child as it uses its imagination to create reality out of nothing. hugged. Play thus provides a pathway to independence. By giving the bear a will of its own. for example where a teddy bear is spoken to. Providing the child with a soft object such as a teddy bear can encourage them to transfer affections to that object and thus become more independent and less clinging. What is 'mine' is that with which I have a defining relationship. Winnicott noted that the transition object allows the child to enter the paradoxical feeling that they have simultaneously created and discovered the object. Virtually all possessions have a value in creating the self. false self . It may also analerotically stand for faeces (which may explain why it may be preferred as unwashed and smelly). It may have some relationship with the first object. punished. Transition objects may also translate as fetish objects. The object may also be the subject of the child's phantasies.

such as being polite or otherwise following social codes. Unhealthy false self A self that fits in but through a feeling of forced compliance rather than loving adaptation is unhealthy. It can be compliant but without feeling that it has betrayed its true self. False self When the person has to comply with external rules. Cognitive Dissonance Explanations > Theories > Cognitive Dissonance . of connected wholeness that harks to the early stage. When the false self wins debates against the true self. When the situation becomes difficult. Healthy false self When the false self is functional both for the person and for society then it is considered healthy.Description | Discussion | See also Description True self There is true self that has a sense of integrity. the false self is split off as an adaptation to a mother or carer who reflects her own defenses onto the infant rather than reflecting the infant's actual moods. the person finds that they are unable to be guided by their true self and so has to adapt to the social situation rather than assert its self. The healthy false self feels that that it is still being true to the true self. The false self constantly seeks to anticipate demands of others in order to maintain the relationship. In early development. the true self can still override the true self and so acts as an effective conscience or super-ego. then a false self is used.

If I believe I am good but do something bad. then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance. then the dissonance appears during decision-making. then the after-the-fact dissonance compels us to change our beliefs. Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or other of the conflicting belief or action. Dissonance increases with the importance and impact of the decision. Justify our behavior by adding new cognitions. Discomfort about making the wrong choice of car is bigger than when choosing a lamp. we experience dissonance. Dissonance increases with: • • • The importance of the subject to us. When we see other people behave differently to our images of them. immorality and so on (including internal projections during decision-making) are dissonance in action. along with the difficulty of reversing it. . If beliefs are moved. Cognitive dissonance appears in virtually all evaluations and decisions and is the central mechanism by which we experience new differences in the world. Dissonance is most powerful when it is about our self-image. Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. Note: Self-Perception Theory gives an alternative view. The discomfort often feels like a tension between the two opposing thoughts. Feelings of foolishness. If an action has been completed and cannot be undone. How strongly the dissonant thoughts conflict. To release the tension we can take one of three actions: • • • Change our behavior. Justify our behavior by changing the conflicting cognition. when we hold any conflicting thoughts. forcing us to take actions we would not have taken before.Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References Description This is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time. Our inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.

If it was somebody else who put that conflict there. attitudes and behaviors. through their concern for the cult. that the earth was going to be destroyed on 21st December and that they alone were going to be rescued by aliens. Then notice how that came about. stop and see if you can find the inner conflict. and would have been very surprised to meet little green men). actually increased their commitment to the cult when this did not happen (Festinger himself had infiltrated the cult. Coping Mechanisms Explanations > Behaviors > Coping Mechanisms We are complex animals living complex lives in which we are not always able to cope with the difficulties that we face. The dissonance of the thought of being so stupid was so great that instead they revised their beliefs to meet with obvious facts: that the aliens had. In a more mundane experiment. you can decide not to play any more with them. The alternative is to feel a great deal of dissonance. Defending When you start feeling uncomfortable.Research Festinger first developed this theory in the 1950s to explain how members of a cult who were persuaded by their leader. People can be moved in many small jumps or one large one. Festinger and Carlsmith got students to lie about a boring task. Example Smokers find all kinds of reasons to explain away their unhealthy habit. we are subject to feelings of tension and . The tension can be injected suddenly or allowed to build up over time. values. Those who were paid $1 felt uncomfortable lying. So what? Using it Cognitive dissonance is central to many forms of persuasion to change beliefs. saved the world instead. As a result. a certain Mrs Keech.

Conversion: subconscious conversion of stress into physical symptoms. Regression: returning to a child state to avoid problems. Emotionality: Outbursts and extreme emotion. Aim inhibition: lowering sights to what seems more achievable. To handle this discomfort we use various coping methods. Passive aggression: avoiding refusal by passive avoidance. Attack: trying to beat down that which is threatening you. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. Projection: seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people. Here are coping mechanisms by type: • • • • • • • • Adaptive mechanisms: That offer positive help. Provocation: Get others to act so you can retaliate. Compensation: making up for a weakness in one area by gain strength in another. Here is a full list of coping mechanisms: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Acting out: not coping . Dissociation: separating oneself from parts of your life. Performing rituals: Patterns that delay. Defense mechanisms: Freud's original in to the pressure to misbehave. Fantasy: escaping reality into a world of possibility. Self-harming: physically damaging the body. Conversion mechanisms: That change one thing into another. Intellectualization: avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic. Attack mechanisms: That push discomfort onto others.stress. Altruism: Helping others to help self. Idealization: playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of things desired. Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position. Rationalization: creating logical reasons for bad behavior. Help-rejecting complaining: Ask for help then reject it. Compartmentalization: separating conflicting thoughts into separated compartments. Introjection: Bringing things from the outer world into the inner world. Repression: subconsciously hiding uncomfortable thoughts. Identification: copying others to take on their characteristics. Denial: refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred. Cognitive mechanisms: That change what we think. Self-harm mechanisms: That hurt our selves. . Behavioral mechanisms: That change what we do. for example the cognitive dissonance and potential shame of doing something outside our values. Avoidance mechanisms: That avoid the issue. Avoidance: mentally or physically avoiding something that causes distress.

If you are using deliberate theatrical methods during persuasion. many of them negative and uncomfortable as we try to repel or hide from uncomfortable feelings. Undoing: actions that psychologically 'undo' wrongdoings for the wrongdoer. Suppression: consciously holding back unwanted urges. Sometimes we manage to act in more positive and helpful ways. Compensation: Over-doing one thing to compensate for another weakness. Idealization: playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of things desired. Symbolization: turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols. which will hopefully then result in the coping mechanism disappearing. So what? To help people cope. Adaptive mechanisms Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Adaptive mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. Trivializing: Making small what is really something big. Here are some of these: • • • • Compartmentalization: separating conflicting thoughts into separated compartments. The best approach is to discover the deeper cause and address this. . Substitution: Replacing one thing with another. Remember that coping actions are usually symptoms of deeper problems and addressing them directly can be ineffective or even counter-productive.• • • • • • • Somatization: psychological problems turned into physical symptoms. Be aware of your own coping mechanisms and move to more functional means of managing stress. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. find ways to let them safely let go of the stress that they experience or gain a greater understanding of the situation. Sublimation: channeling psychic energy into acceptable activities. feigning a coping mechanism makes it harder for the other person to broach an apparently stressful situation for you.

Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position. Fight-or-Flight reaction: Reacting by in to the pressure to misbehave. all attacks on others are forms of coping with our own internal troubles. Undoing: actions that psychologically 'undo' wrongdoings for the wrongdoer. Arguably. Eventually. So what? Try to use some of these more positive methods rather than falling into the more destructive mechanisms. Not all of these lead to harm of others. encourage them to use these rather than other defenses. the best approach is to address the underlying issue. Sublimation: Channel psychic energy into acceptable activities. Trivializing: Making small what is really something big. It is an adaptation in any form. Substitution: Replacing bad things with good things. Projection: seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people. but they all have the potential to do so. Perhaps the worst kind is where we may attack others. Performing rituals: Getting time to think. Remember that coping is not curing.• • • • • • Identification: copying others to take on their characteristics. a number of other coping methods work well enough without doing any harm. Some are more positive than others. • • • • • • • Acting out: not coping . Intellectualization: avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic. . Passive aggression: avoiding refusal by passive avoidance. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. If you are helping others adapt. Attack mechanisms Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Attack mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. These are some of the more positive mechanisms or methods that can be used positively. In practice.

Whilst avoidance and denial is a relatively harmless method that can be useful in the short term. Avoidance mechanisms Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Avoidance mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. most forms of coping include denial as the person avoids the real issue. Intellectualization: avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic. Regression: returning to a child state to avoid problems. Projection: seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people. Trivializing: Making small what is really something big. Repression: subconsciously hiding uncomfortable thoughts. Try converting these into adaptive mechanisms. Denial: refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred. Rationalization: creating logical reasons for bad behavior. Symbolization: turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols. beware of them attacking you! Sometimes. Fantasy: escaping reality into a world of possibility. Idealization: playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of things desired. In some ways. When you are working with others. Passive aggression: avoiding refusal by passive avoidance. So what? . it can still result in significant internal damage and may end up coming out in other ways. Performing rituals: Patterns that delay.So what? Guard against negative behavior that can harm others and lead you into trouble. Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position. there is a significant explosion. when you take the cork out of a pressurized bottle. Some are more positive than others. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. Avoidance: mentally or physically avoiding something that causes in to the pressure to misbehave. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Acting out: not coping .

Attack: trying to beat down that which is threatening you. • • • • • • • • • • • Acting out: not coping . Here are various mechanisms that change how we behave. Undoing: actions that psychologically 'undo' wrongdoings for the wrongdoer. Identification: copying others to take on their characteristics. These are often coping mechanisms and are not about you. there is a significant explosion. Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position. Altruism: Helping others to help self. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. So what? Behavior is easy to see and hence is a strong signal that you can read in others and that they can read in you. when you take the cork out of a pressurized bottle. pause to think. Aim inhibition: lowering sights to what seems more in to the pressure to misbehave.Guard against negative behavior that can harm others and lead you into trouble. Try converting these into adaptive mechanisms. When you are working with others. Some are more positive than others. Avoidance: mentally or physically avoiding something that causes distress. Compensation: making up for a weakness in one area by gain strength in another. Regression: returning to a child state to avoid problems. Behavioral mechanisms Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Behavioral mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. beware of them Denialing you! Sometimes. When people act in certain ways that seem strange to you or seem to be directed against you. Cognitive mechanisms .

Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position. Conversion mechanisms . Dissociation: separating oneself from parts of your life.Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Cognitive mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. In the latter case it is difficult for a person to even begin to understand what is happening. So what? Mental mechanisms like this are sometimes deliberate and conscious and sometimes invisible to the person so they do not realize what is really happening. Rationalization: creating logical reasons for bad behavior. Intellectualization: avoiding emotion by focusing on facts and logic. Altruism: Helping others to help self. Fantasy: escaping reality into a world of possibility. Denial: refusing to acknowledge that an event has occurred. Conversion: subconscious conversion of stress into physical symptoms. Avoidance: mentally or physically avoiding something that causes distress. Idealization: playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of things desired. Passive aggression: avoiding refusal by passive avoidance. Trivializing: Making small what is really something big. Suppression: consciously holding back unwanted urges. Some are more positive than others. Regression: returning to a child state to avoid problems. Identification: copying others to take on their characteristics. Somatization: psychological problems turned into physical symptoms. Repression: subconsciously hiding uncomfortable thoughts. Introjection: Bringing things from the outer world into the inner world. A therapist or counsellor may be able to help them understand the inner processes and hence deliberately change how they think. Projection: seeing your own unwanted feelings in other people. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. Here are various mental mechanisms that help us cope. Symbolization: turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Aim inhibition: lowering sights to what seems more achievable. Compartmentalization: separating conflicting thoughts into separated compartments.

When people are acting strangely. . Self-harm mechanisms Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Self-harm mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. ask whether this is authentic or whether it is a problem being acted out in some different way. So what? Conversion coping can be confusing as the real problem is hidden behind a different mask. doing actual or psychological harm. Conversion: subconscious conversion of stress into physical symptoms. Idealization: playing up the good points and ignoring limitations of things desired. The reasons and route of conversion is not always clear and some exploration can be needed to help understand what is going on. Altruism: Helping others to help self. Displacement: shifting of intended action to a safer target. Trivializing: Making small what is really something big. One family of coping mechanisms acts to transform the difficulty in some way. • • • • • • • • • • • Aim inhibition: lowering sights to what seems more achievable. Symbolization: turning unwanted thoughts into metaphoric symbols.Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Cognitive mechanisms Description | Example | Discussion | So what? We cope with difficulties in various ways. One family of coping mechanisms is to attack ourselves in some way. Substitution: Replacing one thing with another. Sublimation: channeling psychic energy into acceptable activities. Reaction Formation: avoiding something by taking a polar opposite position. Somatization: psychological problems turned into physical symptoms.

. where conscious exaggeration of reported symptoms are used to gain attention.• • • Conversion: subconscious conversion of stress into physical symptoms. becoming mute or having a seizure. The symptom may well be symbolic and dramatic and it often acts as a communication about the situation. ask whether this is authentic or whether it is a problem being acted out in some different way. Lesser symptoms include tiredness. blindness. Example A person's arm becomes suddenly paralyzed after they have been threatening to hit someone else. It also is more than malingering. The reasons and route of conversion is not always clear and some exploration can be needed to help understand what is going on. Conversion Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Conversion Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Conversion as a defense mechanism occurs where cognitive tensions manifest themselves in physical symptoms. Self-harming: Conscious physical self-harm. Discussion Conversion is a subconscious effect that can be as scary for the person as it is for those around them. headaches and twitches. deafness. It is different from psychosomatic disorders where real health changes are seen (such as the appearance of ulcers). Somatization: psychological problems turned into physical symptoms. Extreme symptoms may include paralysis. So what? Conversion coping can be confusing as the real problem is hidden behind a different mask. When people are acting strangely.

so act to reduce their stress. a person who is overstressing themselves may get a physical problem that forces them to slow down. With time. who has to be very restricted in his professional behavior. The symptoms created can be a problem for normal doctors. heart problems and worse. A worried actor develops a twitch. This can have useful consequences.So what? When a stressed person suddenly becomes paralyzed or otherwise physically handicapped. develops hypertension. consider the possibility that it may be a case of conversion. as there is no physical cause of the problem. Somatization Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Somatization Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description Somatization occurs where a psychological problem turns into physical and subconscious symptoms. Discussion When the subconscious mind is suffering from a problem which is not addressed and cannot be considered. This can range from simple twitching to skin rashes. it grabs attention by attacking the physical body. . Explaining conversion to them may help. The reverse effect can happen where a placebo actually causes a person to recover. the symptom will go away. for example. Example A policeman. for example taking them away from the initial situation.

It can also be an obsessive activity that can lead to life-threatening damage. Self-harm is generally considered to be more about the more extreme end of this spectrum. Of course you should get medical opinion first to determine whether there really is a medical cause (and perhaps to help them get physical relief). If symptoms persist. you may be able to effect a 'miracle cure'. Self-harming Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Self-harming Description | Example | Discussion | So what? Description The person physically deliberately hurts themself in some way or otherwise puts themselves at high risk of harm. There is a whole spectrum of actions that can appear here. consider the possibility of psychological causes. from harmlessly tapping one's head ('I'm so stupid') to drawing one's own blood and acting in reckless. Example • • • • • • • • • • • Slapping oneself Banging one's head against a table Punching a hard wall Picking at wounds Cutting oneself with a knife or sharp object Burning oneself Biting oneself Picking fights with others (especially tough people) Reckless driving Body piercing or tattoos (painful!) Taking narcotic drugs or medicine overdoses . where sustained bodily harm is caused. This can be a one-shot activity.So what? When people have physical symptoms. near-suicidal ways. taken in anger or frustration.

Many of these can lead to low self-esteem. but I cannot. abuse and debilitating illness. be life-affirming. first find out when the behavior started. which has a particular causal link with self-harm. Others fear the rage being projected outwards. Many hide their injuries and do not seek help. perhaps because they believe they have done wrong or often because others have told them they are bad. the death drive may help to explain this oft-baffling activity. particularly amongst young people (particularly teenagers). Common causes include bullying. It can be scary for others when they find out the person is self-harming. paradoxically. strangely. Releasing blood can. the life drive.Discussion Self-harm is a remarkably common activity. seem like letting out bad feelings. Self-harm can have a strong control aspect. or libido. self-mutilation. Self-harm is also known as self-abuse. dancing or listening to music. People who self-harm may be punishing themselves. When you are numbed by depression. you feel pain. If I cannot attack others at least I can attack myself as a substitute for the intended target. In helping others. that can have many different causes. this can. When you harm yourself. So what? Watch those you know who are unhappy or who have low self-respect. death of a loved one. I want to harm someone else. Parents fear suicide. self-inflicted violence or selfinjury. Self-harm can be an attention-seeking activity but mostly is not. Freud discussed this as the opposite of eros. so I will harm myself instead. Give them harmless displacement activities that may reduce stress. Counting down from ten and just focusing on a nearby object can also be helpful when other activities are not available. but at least I can do this. . In psychoanalysis. I feel I cannot control the world around me. neglect. This may give a clue to the original cause. such as running. Watch for covering up of skin and excuses for bruises and other signs harm. It can also be a displacement.

If you have any doubt or concern. Praise them for things well done. . Help them to socialize with caring others. it is often a good idea to get professional advice. Find doable challenges for them and help them succeed.Otherwise helping them to increase their confidence is likely to help.