November 20, 2019 posted by

Anna Freud was the daughter of the founder
of Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. She was born in Vienna in 1895 – when her
father’s radical theories of sex and the mind were starting to make him famous across
Europe. She became a school teacher and then a psychoanalyst – and pioneered the treatment
of children, establishing clinics and nurseries for children who were war victims, survivors
of the holocaust or just generally troubled by their lives. Perhaps most importantly for us, she is our
finest guide to what we call DEFENCE MECHANISMS which she described best in her 1936 book
The Ego and Mechanisms of Defence. The book laid out for the first time the core
idea that we instinctively try to protect our ‘ego’ (our acceptable picture of who
we are) with a variety of defences. The problem is that in the act of defending
ourselves against pain in the immediate term, we harm our longer-term chances of dealing
with reality and therefore of developing and maturing as a result. Anna Freud highlighted ten key types of defence
mechanisms. Firstly, Denial Denial is when we don’t admit there is a
problem. We think things like: ‘I enjoy drinking very much and I sometimes get quite
bad hangovers. But I can handle it.’ If other people try to get us to face up to the
problem, we tend to react very badly. The immediate survival mechanism – the short
term instinct to feel alright about oneself – means refusing to recognise our need for
change. Projection In projection, you attribute a bad feeling
you have in someone else. For example, you might develop the impression that your partner
is going to be extremely critical if you don’t make more money this year than last. But in
reality they may be quite understanding and sympathetic. The harsh, bitter thoughts are
not in your partner. They are in you – and they came from, let’s say, your mother.
But you have given the negative feelings, which you don’t want to recognise in yourself,
to someone else. That’s projection. Turning against the self This is when we think badly of ourselves as
a way of escaping from an even worse thought: that someone we hope loves us doesn’t actually. Anna Freud learnt that children do this a
lot. A child abused by a parent will typically seek refuge in a thought which, though grim,
is less awful than the alternatives. He or she will think: I must be bad and worthless
– that’s why my parent is behaving this way towards me. So, really – the thought
goes – I still have a good parent. It’s painful to think we’re bad and worthless,
of course – but for a fragile child especially, it can feel less catastrophic than the alternative:
thinking we’re in the hands of a parent who doesn’t care. Sublimation. We sublimate when we redirect unacceptable
thoughts or emotions – often about sex or violence – into ‘higher’ and finer channels.
Many artists and especially musicians have used sublimation to turn negative life experiences like – drug addiction, social ills, family problems, and so on—into popular and resonant works of
art. Sublimation is still a defence mechanism, but it’s one of the very best. Regression Anna Freud believed that when things become
tough, we often regress to a way of behaving that we practiced when we were a younger.
In particular, we do what children typically do, which is evade responsibility. It is – for
the child – always someone else’s fault, usually the parents – and they should put
it right. IN regression, we adopt an infantile sense
of our own purity and innocence: the rest of the world is to blame. They should sort
it out. For Anna Freud, it’s normal for many otherwise perfectly sane adults to go
through regressive moments when under pressure. It only beco mes a problem when it goes on
too long. Rationalisation. Rationalisation is a smart sounding excuse for our actions (or what happens to us). But
it’s carefully tailored to get the conclusion we feel we need: that we are innocent, nice,
worthy. After being rejected for a job, for example, the defensive rationaliser will say:
“it was a boring company” or “I never wanted the job anyway”.
They may have very much desired the job, but it can be agonising and deeply humiliating
to admit this to the ego. Intellectualisation Intellectualisation is similar. The scarring sense of loss, guilt, betrayal and anger on
breaking up with a partner might be neutralised by thinking about the history of the late
Roman Empire or the government’s plan to raise interest rates. Many intellectuals are
not merely thinking a lot. They are also guilty of ‘intellectualisation’; which means making sure their researches keep a range of more pertinent issues at bay. Reaction formation Reaction formation involves doing the opposite
of our initial, unacceptable feelings. Someone who has a strong interest in the sexuality
of teenagers may, for instance, join a religion with a particular emphasis on abstinence among
the young. We are often guilty of reaction formation
in childhood. When we are embarrassed about being attracted to a classmate, we might be
mean or aggressive towards them, instead of admitting that we like them. Displacement Displacement is the redirection of a (usually
aggressive) desire to a substitute recipient, usually someone who is less threatening or
easier to blame. So a classic case is someone who may feel threatened by their boss, comes home and starts shouting at their partner. Fantasy Fantasy avoids problems by imagining them away or disassociating oneself from reality—from
daydreaming to reading literature to looking at porn. We use these moments to transport
ourselves from the threatening world to find comfort elsewhere.
*** Anna Freud’s tone when writing about defence
mechanisms is tender and generous. She knows these defences are natural, but
she also observes how many difficulties they bring in their wake. They hold back our careers,
are boring for others and hurt those who love us. Freud argued that most of us employ at least 5 of her 10 defence mechanisms every day – without
being in any way aware of it. She wrote her great book as a way of helping
us see a little better what we’re doing, in the hope that we would, in future, be a
little more mature and a little less – as we still say in unknowing tribute to her defensive towards those around us.


100 Replies to “PSYCHOTHERAPY – Anna Freud”

  1. Richard Collier says:

    Denial is not a river in Egypt, but rationalization is a wonderful enabler.

  2. ***** says:

    she's brilliant and beautiful to boot

  3. Organic Unity says:

    Thanks for the enlightement, now if somone think his psychological life is miserable try to be someone else, for exemple I knew a friend: his mother had narcissictic personality disorder wich resulted in loving and caring behavior in public to attract empathy/admiration of others and very cold and careless behavior when in private, as a result he became strongly avoidant ,cold and cynical, self-hating and depressive, to quote John Paul The 2nd ''If you feel alone, look for someone even more lonely".

  4. john doe says:

    do JUANG plz

  5. PanamaSabroso says:


  6. paper kay says:

    No, rationalisation is something else. It's: 'They didn't hire me, because they wanted a male employee' or somesuch.

  7. Panda Shiro says:

    Hope to see a video of Edward Bernays. He utilized Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis theories in public relations.

  8. Shanelle Williams says:


  9. Marina Loeb says:

    Did you mean to write "Defence"?

  10. Phyllis Willis says:

    #8 reaction formation is on the LGSW practice test several times. A good one to know!

  11. Áedán says:

    Yeah I definitely use at least 5 of these…

  12. Valentine Linke says:

    Could u guys do one on Lacan, too !??? Love the channel !!!! <3 from Berlin

  13. equilibriums says:

    Adam Curtis -The Century of the Self

  14. Maneet Multani says:

    you forgot to mention humor

  15. tomas axmacher says:

    you make me realise that maybe I'm avoiding my problems by watching porn, that does not feel okay dude :/

  16. daniel linfen says:

    Never heard of intellectualization until today but it is like a perfect description of me wow

  17. Amanda Benedict says:

    Anna definitely had more sense in her theories than her father did…

  18. francis frain says:

    wow i think except the wife beating one and one or two other i use all of these

  19. Shaikh Mullah-ud-Din says:

    1 to 10
    I plead guilty to all

  20. Maria Karimi says:

    too fast & too short 🙁

  21. Tereasa 1950terry says:

    She is as much a fool as her Father.

  22. Kalyan Arc says:

    You forgot Indetification – also a very common and important defense mechanism.
    But again, there are so many, and thanks to you guys, I now know that Fantasy is actually a defense mechanism !!

  23. Kim Williams says:

    This narrator sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher to me, not clear at all. If he just spoke more slowly and ennunciated without the sing songy cadence, I would be able to comprehend his verbal projection. Very disappointed, I know it is good stuff.

  24. Alpha Omega says:

    To defend yourself isn't a crime. Anyone who dares hurt your ego is no different to any prey. If: you are a predator wondering how you'll eat; why take antibiotics to kill a virus you've contracted? A predator is a predator regardless what form it takes. That's just life.

  25. Sean Thompson says:

    Was that Franz Liszt doing the intellectualising?

  26. Random Me says:

    I have never experience all of them. I don't watch porn for defense mechanism. Am I normal?

  27. comment says:

    love the school of life! not enough information from the great ladies of history and current life, nor any mention of the huge discrepancies against us from our past, as well as, presently in 2016!

  28. See Barnett says:

    I'll be honest, intellectualism kind of went over my head a little.
    Does that mean thinking about "bigger issues" to avoid confronting your problems, minimising your issues by putting them in comparison with things that are considered "smarter" or "intellectual" on a larger scale, or learning new things as a means of emotional procrastination?

  29. John Champagne says:

    If there is a part of one's personality that is concerned about self-preservation, and if one day we have a moment of horrific realization that we may need to let go of our own life in order to make a more emphatic symbolic statement than what is possible through mere words,… then this part of ourselves leaps back into our body or our consciousness at the exact moment when, two weeks into a fast and after being brought into confinement in a mental institution, we hear someone intone in a near whisper, "They will force-feed you and subject you to ECT", what would that part of our personality or our mind be called? I was calling it 'my ego', but the way 'ego' is described here, I am not so sure I am naming it properly.

    How to Fix Civilization:

  30. Moeba Pop says:

    I'm already in denial of being defensive.

  31. Marcus Gorvin says:

    Psychotherapy is just Psycho The Rapy

  32. PlanYourLift says:

    I find a lot of people use jokes as a defense mechanism. Where would that be under? Sublimation?

  33. Niryaad Oblum says:

    i dont know much about Anna Freud but did she give any theoretical means or any other ways to deal with this behavior?

  34. mike jones says:

    reaction `formation = feminism (ugly women guys don't desire)

  35. TJ Barke says:

    Can one go through therapy just by watching all these vids? I feel like I'm making some breakthroughs here…

  36. Markéta Burdová says:

    Great video, thank you very much !

  37. abdel01kenpachi says:

    Thank you one more time.

  38. Stuart Schneiderman says:

    What about undoing, isolation, introjection,reversal and repression ?. They're all in her wonderful book 'The Ego And The Mechanisms Of Defence'.

  39. The Pyat says:

    My fave SOL vid so far.

  40. Stephen M says:

    What has Liszt got to do with intellectualization? 4:14

  41. iTzNoxy says:

    You're videos are SO quiet. It is so hard to hear you even with my speakers. Please speak louder and/or compress the audio more.

  42. Smoking Horsey says:

    "You're getting a bit defensive." "NO I'M NOT!"

  43. Billy Blues says:

    5:30 probably couldn't've chosen a more inaccurate person to be looking at porn

  44. TheSassi42 says:

    The way you explained rationalisation was the same as denial

  45. TheSassi42 says:

    Reaction formation sounds like the thing homophobes do

  46. Overclocked Potato says:

    5:15 you're*

  47. Sajal Rastogi says:

    Favourited this video!

  48. Diego Emanuel Osechas Lucart says:

    What does this has to do with psychotherapy? You're just pointing one of the many things Ana Freud contributions to psychology in general, not to psychotherapy specifically

  49. khalil zerma says:

    It's all bullshit. Western civilisation has created neurosis when it banned psychosis. The problem is in the western civilization not in the induviduals who try to defend themselves from society. Western civilization must be destroyed. This is the only solution for our neurosis.

  50. Lawrence Raoux says:

    When Hillary lost this election and had Tim Kaine give a speech about how sexism is "clearly still a problem in America," which defense mechanism was that? I'd say Regression but I think it could be described as some of the others.

  51. Van Rozay says:

    Anna sure had Trump's number…..

  52. Kairos says:

    R. D Laing please.

  53. Fida Aifiya says:

    Sister: (opens my door)
    Me: What the–you should knock!
    Sister: You're watching porn?
    Me: No, I'm implementing my defense mechanism.

  54. Omegawabo says:

    0:36 Defense o Defence?

  55. mnicolaidou says:


  56. krishna kumar komandur says:

    Exactly what spirituality tries to work on!! so anna is on the dot. her work seems to be more useful to majority of people than her more popular father

  57. Seth Louis says:


  58. secretsymphony says:

    This video actually does her father an injustice. Sigmund coined most (if not all) of these defence mechanisms. Strange the video dosn't acknowledge this.

  59. Michael Go says:

    How enlightening!

  60. Jandro Vierek says:

    You say still being a mechanism, then there are something above this acts?

  61. Spaghetti Texan says:

    Daddy’s greatest accomplishment is his little girl.

  62. ثغامة عبدالله says:

    Is watching Allan de talking about Anna freud again and again one of the ten defense machinisme

  63. Gabriel 1 says:

    Interesting. I thought her father came up with denial, projection etc.

  64. Gabriel 1 says:

    Sublimation = sexual transmutatio

  65. abysswalker says:

    Fantasy. My favorite.

  66. Felix Wegner says:

    currently I am affected by projection, turning against the self, regression, intellectualisation, Fantasy however, at least, I got rid of denial even though I'm not sure if that's a denial itself…

  67. Philip Persson says:

    Judging by this description alone, it appears to me that intellectualisation and fantasy are pretty much the same. They are both ways of simply distracting yourself from difficult thoughts, much like I've done myself playing video games as a response to break-ups etc. Although if I read the actual works of Anna, maybe she would make a more clear distinction.

  68. Kathie Wippel says:

    She also built on her father's work and tried to soften it. Freud gave children a bad rap. She tried to make amends.

  69. swellrobot says:

    It's interesting how the CULTure we are hostage to is completely beyond reproach by Ms. Freud

  70. Rhayr Harry says:

    Sharp insights. For sure her book is a must read.

  71. Em says:

    waaaaaay greater than her father

  72. David Knowles says:

    Amazing work. But she also made tragic blunders. I believe her achilles' heel was intellectualisation.

  73. mikeyanatomy says:

    Man Anna is as the boom diggity! Answer and revealed so much about ourselves!

  74. Mjnoon 360 says:

    I think detachment could be a defensive mechanism.

    Where you mentally check out and stop caring for what it's happening.

  75. Jorge Ostos says:

    Please, a video on Carl G. Jung.

  76. Flughansa says:

    why didn't you talk about the identification with the aggressor? That´s the defense mechanism Anna Freud discovered.

  77. permacultured and free says:

    I have no problem but you do!🤔 but your right, I am a peace of shit…but I pulled myself out of a gutter 😉 so leave me alone! I am in control, and do what i like.

  78. Jack Madden says:

    They should really do a video on Karen Horney and her book Self-Analysis. It would really fit in well with this channel idk why they haven’t done it

  79. suhas suhas says:

    So what's the solution to escape I didn't get it .can anyone explain to me?

  80. World of Cyn says:

    wow. this one can be especially telling.

  81. Jaques Lacan says:

    I use all of ten everyday ,,,, lol

  82. Manasa Kuchana says:


  83. Emilio Sánchez Rdz says:

    This video makes me want to kill myself

  84. Beatrice Nkundwa says:

    Women should never give up the fight, for a more social world. Psychology can help to overcome problems.

  85. laura livingstone says:

    Parataxal distorsion.
    Harry S. Sullivan

  86. Jose Fadul says:


  87. NutritionalBlockbusters says:

    What a great piece of information. Thank you so much for this post.

  88. TheBlackJacksItalia says:

    What a load of shite

  89. suzuki1233 says:

    Oooooh her on the right 0:16 she thickkk

  90. hiyoni nana says:

    This is so true. Thank you for making it more easier to understand!

  91. Toledo Da Great says:

    Hikkigaya Hachiman

  92. Jack Harper says:

    She was better than her father.

  93. Gihan Panditha says:


  94. Francisco Fernandes says:

    Whoever was her husband must have been a confused man.

  95. Zeke Edwards says:

    Anyone who says I'm I'm a fantasist is not getting a ride on my super hamster interstellar spaceship

  96. Holly Grace says:

    This photo isn't Anna's . It is Anna's female partner.

  97. S A M NIHLIST says:

    where you get those olds nude images?

  98. TastyTarco says:

    uhhh… Fantasy

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