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Defense mechanism

impulses psychoanalysis painful

Defense mechanism, term in psychoanalysis referring to involuntary or unconscious measures adopted by individuals to protect themselves against painful emotions associated with some disagreeable physical or mental situation of frequent occurrence. Defense mechanisms include repression, which prevents painful ideas from entering the conscious mind; displacement, in which impulses are released through disguised actions; and sublimation, the redirection of impulses into socially acceptable channels.

See also: Psychoanalysis.

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