Welcome to Episode 146 of the Nursing Show

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Tip of The Week-  Defense Mechanisms

The idea of defense mechanisms originally came from Sigmund Freud. Basically, it is defines as the ego’s response to to protect against anxiety. Defense mechanisms are thought to safeguard the mind against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for the conscious mind to cope with.

A common defense mechanism is denial. Patients tend to convince themselves that everything will be okay. This type of defense mechanism is displayed by patients who have just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or loved of patients who are near death. Another is displacement. It is diverting one’s emotions to something or someone less threatening to them instead of dealing with the original problem directly. An example of this is a person who had just been reprimanded at work by their boss throws everything they get their hands on when they get back to the office.

There are more defense mechanisms displayed not only by psychological patients but also for people who are in a high level of anxiety. The key to dealing with this is to identify the defense mechanisms displayed by the patient through listening and understanding carefully what the patient tells the nurse during the interview process and using the appropriate therapeutic communication techniques.

Defense Mechanisms

Identifying Defense Mechanisms Practice Test

Common Defense Mechanisms Hand out


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