© 1991

The Development of Defense Mechanisms

Theory, Research, and Assessment


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Theory

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 3-14
    3. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 36-61
    4. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 62-83
    5. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 84-112
  3. Research: A Review of the Literature

  4. A New Approach to Measuring Defenses

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 213-213
    2. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 215-234
    3. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 235-258
    4. Phebe Cramer
      Pages 259-267
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 269-338

About this book


The idea that the human mind-that faculty of the intellect which we use to define and discern the truth-might also be used to deceive itself is not new. The classic orator Demosthenes warned of this possibility in 349 B.C. when he wrote that "Nothing is more easy than to deceive one's self; what a man wishes he generally believes to be true." 1 Even Jean Jacques Rousseau, who suggested the possibility of man as "noble savage," alerts us to this paradox, when he writes "Jamais fa nature ne nous trompe; c'est toujours nous qui nous trompons" ("Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves). 2 But it was Sigmund Freud who placed this idea firmly into the field of psychopathology and then, later, into a general psychological theory. According to Freud, understanding the function of a defense mechanism means not only fathoming the origin of pathological symptoms but also comprehending a model of the mind that includes both conscious and unconscious mental processes. From this initial focus on the general process of defense, Freud and his followers went on to identify various forms this process might take, with the result that today we have a list of 3 more than 37 defense mechanisms described in the literature.


Abwehrmechanismus Fathom Freud Freud, Sigmund Projektion Sigmund Freud Unconscious Verleugnung defence mechanisms development emotion memory perception personality psychopathology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilliams CollegeWilliamstownUSA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Development of Defense Mechanisms
  • Book Subtitle Theory, Research, and Assessment
  • Authors Phebe Cramer
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York 1991
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-387-97298-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-4613-9027-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-4613-9025-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 338
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Psychology, general
    Statistics for Social Sciences, Humanities, Law
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