Ten reasons to better understand ego defense mechanisms


  1. Defense mechanisms are activated in the unconscious mind – we don’t know we are using them.

  2. Defense mechanisms are there to protect us from pain including anything that might damage our self-image.

  3. When we receive new information that contradicts how we perceive the world, our defense mechanisms kick in automatically.

  4. Defense mechanisms prevent us from learning new things and prevent long-term changes in behaviour. For long-term change in behaviour we have to first change how we see the world - defense mechanisms frustrate our ability to do this.

  5. The bigger the ego, or if there is underlying psychological damage, the harder it is going to be to get past someone’s defense mechanisms.

  6. The more illogical our  arguments seem to be, the greater likelihood that we are relying on more immature defense mechanisms

  7. If as an instructor we find yourself arguing with a student chances are someone’s defense mechanisms are at play – ours or theirs.

  8. If we understand defense mechanisms we can better control when we use them and identify when a student is using them.

  9. If we know when defense mechanisms are being used then we can develop strategies to overcome them.

  10. If we think you know all you need to know about defense mechanisms, chances are that is our defense mechanisms at play.