Repression as a Defence Mechanism and its Impact on Mental Health

Defence Mechanism: Repression

Where person places uncomfortable thought into inaccessible areas if the unconscious mind

Defence mechanism refers to a mechanism or strategy that the human mind employs as a way of coping with anxiety or unpleasant realities. Repression is a common type of defence mechanism used by the human mind.

Repression refers to the act of keeping disturbing or unpleasant thoughts, memories, or impulses out of the conscious mind and storing them in the unconscious mind. Repression is an involuntary action that occurs without an individual’s awareness as a way of avoiding or reducing anxiety.

Individuals who use repression as a defence mechanism repress traumatic experiences, sexual desires, or unacceptable thoughts to prevent them from impacting their mental or emotional well-being. However, repressed thoughts and memories can manifest themselves in other ways like irrational behaviour, psychosomatic symptoms, and emotional disturbances.

In psychoanalytic theory, repression is seen as a core mechanism that contributes to the development of psychopathology. Under some circumstances, repression can be beneficial because it allows individuals to keep their thoughts and memories hidden, which might otherwise be too painful or unacceptable to handle. Nonetheless, it can also have negative effects, such as leading to the formation of fears, phobias, or other mental health disorders.

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