Defense Mechanisms and Dream Interpretation Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Question 1

There is a direct link between the unconscious mind and the ego’s defense mechanisms because defense mechanisms “operate at the unconscious level,” (McLeod, 2009). In fact, it is the ego that is responsible for creating and maintaining defense mechanisms, to defend itself from perceived attacks or to maintain a perceived equilibrium. Typically, people remain unaware that they are using defense mechanisms to react to discomfort. Psychotherapy is in part designed to help a person become aware of their defense mechanisms and to learn how to cope better with stress and anxiety. Defense mechanisms might have originally been designed by the ego as ways to protect itself, but they can have the reverse effect of causing harm because they can evolve into problems like phobias or behavioral disorders.

Almost everyone uses defense mechanisms. One common one is denial. Denial is a defense mechanism that protects the ego from facing up to the truth about our own behaviors. Evident mainly in addictions, denial is the way the go justifies its behavior by pretending that a problem does not even exist or hiding the problem from other people so that the ego can continue to put up a “front” or a mask for others to preserve self-image.

A second common defense mechanism is projection. The cliche “the pot calling the kettle black” is the definition of projection. I have seen people accuse others of exactly the same type of behavior they themselves are guilty of. In this sense, projection is also a type of denial because the person is hiding from or disguising the truth. The reason why people use projection is to protect the ego from the realization that they are performing in unacceptable ways. For instance, if a person is judgmental but they also believe that being judgmental is bad, they might accuse someone else of being judgmental without acknowledging the irony in that they were the ones being judgmental all along.


McLeod, S. (2009). Defense mechanisms. Simply Psychology. Retrieved online:

Question 2

Dreams are important psychological phenomena. Freud’s theory of dreams is only one of many; even the most advanced studies in neuroscience cannot fully explain why we dream, or the function of dreams. Therefore, Freud’s theory is as plausible as any other. The problem with Freud’s theory of dreams is that he attempted to interpret dream symbols as…

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