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What Is Repression In Psychology

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Concepts Different From Repression

What is Repression? Introduction to Lacan’s Theory (Part I)

Concepts that are in our view different from repression are: the act of emotional suppression, repressed memories, habitual suppression, concealment, type C coping pattern, type D personality, denial, alexithymia and blunting. The first concept refers to an act, whereas repression is discussed in this paper as a tendency or coping style. Four of these conceptshabitual suppression, concealment, type C coping style and type D personality should, in our view, be interpreted as types of anxious defensiveness rather than forms of repression. Our motive for discussing these non-repression concepts is that the literature may suggest that these concepts are related to repression.

Psychological Repression And The Case Of Anna O

Freuds first case of psychological repression was a young woman called Anna O . She was suffering from hysteria. She showed signs of convulsions, paralysis, loss of speech, and hallucinations.

There did not appear to be a physical cause for her ailments. She then underwent psychoanalysis. It transpired that she had developed certain hysterical symptoms shortly after caring for her sick father. Once she had uncovered these anxious thoughts, the hysteria vanished.

Other examples of psychological repression:

  • A child suffers abuse at the hands of his parents then represses the memories. When this person then goes on to have their own children, they have trouble bonding with them.
  • A woman who nearly drowned as a very young toddler may develop a fear of swimming or water. She might have no idea where the phobia came from.
  • A student might insult their teacher because they remind him of an abusive parent. He has no memory of the abuse.
  • Freudian slips are thought to be good examples of psychological repression. So any errors or slip-ups in a persons speech should be noted.

Psychological repression is a necessary defense mechanism. It shields us from experiencing distressing thoughts on a daily basis. However, Freud believed that problems would occur whenever repression developed under a persons superego in our unconscious mind. If this happened, it could lead to anxiety, antisocial or self-destructive behaviours.

Experiencing Anxiety Talk To A Professional

Different therapists will use different approaches to talk about trauma. If you have experienced trauma or your anxiety is keeping you from living a productive life, do not try and recover memories of that trauma yourself. There is no one DIY solution for processing trauma. Reach out to a licensed professional to talk about your concerns. While determining whether the therapist is right for you, consider asking them their thoughts on repressed memories and how they approach trauma work with patients.

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Can Repressed Memories Be Recalled

Repressed memories may sometimes unexpectedly resurface triggered by something associated with them, such as a word, smell or an object. Or, it could be visiting a place or meeting a person that reminds one of a repressed memory.

Retrieving repressed memories may have a therapeutic effect for some people, but for some, especially if the memories are traumatic, it may actually make things worse.

Many therapists use methods such as hypnosis as therapy, to access repressed memories, but there is no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of such therapies.

The therapeutic value of retrieving repressed memories is a controversial concept that created a lot of interest in the late 1900s, when many adults reported memories of childhood abuse they hadnt been aware of until undergoing therapy.

The controversy arises because retrieved memories are not necessarily accurate or reliable. Eminent researchers like Elizabeth Loftus have demonstrated how easily the human mind forms false memories with suggestive questioning. Current scientific thought is that repression and retrieval of traumatic memories may happen, but extremely rarely.

Whats The Difference Between Repression And Denial

Repression Vs. Suppression in Psychology: Differences You ...

Repression is often confused with another defense mechanism, denial, in which people refuse to admit to certain unacceptable or unmanageable aspects of reality, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Denial involves a refusal to admit the truth while repression involves unconscious forgetting. Nonetheless, denial and repression often work together and may be difficult to disentangle.

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Whats The Difference Between Repression And Suppression

Suppression is similar to repression but with one key differenceforgetting is conscious rather than unconscious. Suppression refers to the conscious and sometimes rational decision to put an uncomfortable stimulus to the side, either to deal with it at a later time or to abandon it altogether. Suppression can be viewed as a conscious analog of repression.

What Causes Regressive Behaviour

Regression is typical in normal childhood, and it can be caused by stress, by frustration, or by a traumatic event. Children usually manifest regressive behavior to communicate their distress. Addressing the underlying unmet need in the child usually corrects the regressive behavior.

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Psychological Repression Is A Defense Mechanism In Which We Unconsciously Push Away Painful Or Traumatic Memories Thoughts Or Desires

This also includes aggressive or sexual urges. We repress these unpleasant thoughts and memories so that we can lead a relatively normal life. Psychological repression is an unconscious act. If we consciously push distressing thoughts to the back of our minds, this is called suppression.

Sigmund Freud was the first person to talk about psychological repression. He believed that many of our physical and mental problems are caused by deeply repressed internal conflicts. Freud used psychoanalysis to uncover these repressed thoughts and feelings.

Freud reasoned that although painful thoughts and disturbing memories were out of the conscious mind, they still had the capacity to cause neurotic behaviour. This is because they remained in the unconscious mind.

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Suppression & Repression: Whats the Difference?

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Are Repressed Memories Of Trauma Real

Research does not support the existence of repressed traumatic memories that can be recovered. Events of peoples past may sometimes come back to them in sudden recollection, but theres no evidence that this happens with traumatic memories. Indeed, prospective research finds that trauma victims often want to forget their experiences, but they cannot.

Research also reveals that memory itself is far less reliable, and much more flexible, than commonly believed. The techniques therapists used to recover memories also worked to implant false memories and create realistic, recalled experiences of events that never happened.

Debate Around Repressed Or Forgotten Memories

Freuds ideas havent always stood the test of time. Repressed memories, although seemingly not as harmful as the Oedipus Complex, is one of these ideas. Some psychologists doubt that this process occurs in the way that Freud suggested. How can we truly know that weve repressed a memory if were not consciously aware of the repression process?

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How Do You Tell If You Have Repressed Emotions

It is not always possible to know if you have repressed emotions, but some of the following behaviors may indicate repression problems:

  • You are unable to talk to people about how you feel
  • You habitually distract yourself with other activities to avoid thinking about anything that distresses you
  • You think it is not a good thing to openly display emotions
  • You are uneasy when others display emotions
  • You are unable to form intimate relationships
  • You overreact to trivial things when you are actually sad or angry

Some of the following are possible indications of repressed memories:

Repression Vs Suppression In Psychology: Differences You Didnt Know

Repression as a Defense Mechanism

Though these terms are used synonymously, they do not mean the same thing. Repression and suppression are different concepts altogether. Here, we will highlight the differences between the two.

Though these terms are used synonymously, they do not mean the same thing. Repression and suppression are different concepts altogether. Here, we will highlight the differences between the two.

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What Is A Defense Mechanism

A defense mechanism is a way to escape from unpleasant thoughts, events, or actions. These psychological coping strategies may help people to remove threats or unwanted feelings, such as guilt or shame. The concept of defense mechanism was first proposed by Dr. Sigmund Freud and has evolved over time. Defense mechanisms are not under a persons conscious control, and they use them without realizing that they are implementing any strategy. These psychological strategies protect the person from anxiety arising from unacceptable thoughts or feelings.

The different types of defense mechanism include:

Why Does Repression Happen

Repression of memories is thought to happen because they are too overwhelming and distressing to process and come to terms with. Also known as dissociative amnesia, repression of memories may happen because an individual dissociates themselves while undergoing trauma, to be able to survive through it.

Repression of emotions, on the other hand, often happens because expressing them may be perceived as unacceptable behavior socially and culturally. For instance, in many cultures, men are discouraged from expressing sadness or fear, because they are seen as signs of weakness. Anger is a negative emotion that is often repressed.

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What Is An Example Of Sublimation

Many great artists and musicians have had unhappy lives and have used the medium of art of music to express themselves. Sport is another example of putting our emotions into something constructive.

For example, fixation at the oral stage of development may later lead to seeking oral pleasure as an adult through sucking one’s thumb, pen or cigarette. Also, fixation during the anal stage may cause a person to sublimate their desire to handle faeces with an enjoyment of pottery.

Religious Persecution As A Means Of

What is Primal Repression? – Introduction to Lacan’s Theory

Religious persecution as a means of repression has been a problem for centuries, and in modern times it is particularly rampant in the country of Nigeria, where thousands of Christians and Muslims have been murdered for their faith. Not one person has been convicted and sentenced in Nigeria for any of these murders during the ten years since the extreme violence initially broke out.

Nigeria is far from alone on this issue. Over two dozen countries participate in religious persecution as a means of repression. For instance, in Egypt, members of the Bahai faith, as well as Muslims, have not only been imprisoned for their religious beliefs but have also been fired from their jobs, kicked out of college, and prohibited from obtaining bank accounts, drivers licenses, and even copies of their own birth certificates.

Further examples of religious persecution as a means of repression can be found in Saudi Arabia, China, India, Afghanistan, Russia, Cuba, Turkey, Venezuela, and Somalia, to name a few. Both China and Iran made headlines for their extreme methods of repressing religion. China implemented tougher security measures and tighter restraints on Islamists in an effort to curb any potential violence that those who followed the religion might engage in and Iran labeled anyone who dared to disagree with domestic politics an enemy of God which is a capital offense in Iran .

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Do Therapists Believe Repressed Memories Are Real

Research finds that widespread belief in repressed traumatic memories persists among therapists. Between 60 and 89 percent of mental health clinicians believe that traumatic memories can be forgotten, repressed, or suppressed. A study of clinicians who utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing to treat trauma, also a controversial practice, found that 93 percent of these clinicians believed that traumatic memories can be blocked out.

What Does Repression Psychology Mean

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

Repression is a common theme in psychology, especially in psychoanalysis. The idea that memories we cant remember that control our actions is interesting and terrifying. In this post, we will dive into the world of repression. What is it? How are memories repressed? Lets find out.

What Is Repression?

Repression is the idea that bad memories can be sent to the unconscious mind, making them hard to remember, but their impact still affects your behavior. For example, if one was abused as a child, they might be less trusting of people later in life.

Repression is a big theme in psychoanalysis, a theory of psychology based on Freud. Repression is considered to be a defense mechanism that one uses to block out bad memories.

History Of Repression

With many of the themes found in psychoanalysis, it begins with Sigmund Freud. Freud tried to make his patients remember past events, and the patients found it difficult to do so. Seeing so many patients have trouble recalling their past made Freud believe that there must be something that blocks the ability for them to recall their memories. He called this force repression. Freud considered repression to be one of the foundations of psychoanalysis. The idea that memories need to be recalled was something you see in many depictions of psychoanalysis.

In modern times, repression is a bit controversial as a concept. We will discuss more on that in a bit. Lets look at the stages of repression.

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Opd Interview And Stimulus Generation

Participants were asked to write down six emotionally negative and six emotionally positive life events that they could recollect very vividly and that still elicited strong emotions. Then they mailed their document to the interviewer, a trained psychodynamic psychotherapist . The OPD interview was based on the information about these life events. The system of OPD comprises a semi-structured interview based on five axes: axis I , axis II , axis III , axis IV , and axis V . In our study, axes II and III were most relevant for the generation of individualized cue sentences. OPD is an open psychodynamic interview in nature but provides flexible guidelines to ensure that the relevant information is obtained. Details can be found in the recent OPD manual . The interviewer distinguished conflict-related life events from non-conflict related negative and positive life events, and assigned the conflict-related life events to one or more conflict dimensions of the OPD conflict scale . Such conflicts would be expected even in our sample of healthy participants, because the existence of a conflict theme does not necessarily lead to clinically relevant symptoms. More often a conflict leads to sub-clinical tensions and distress, or it becomes integrated into ones everyday life.

TABLE 1. Overview of OPD conflicts .

We did not include neutral sentences in the study design because we wanted to contrast sentences with a similar emotional and cognitive load.

Repression Example In A Sexual Abuse Case

Types of repression

In 2005, Catholic priest Paul Shanley was convicted on two counts of the sexual abuse of a child. His conviction was based on the testimony of the victim: a young adult male who claimed to have recently unearthed repressed memories of the sexual abuse that he had suffered as a child.

In 2002, the victims girlfriend noticed an article in a Boston newspaper that alleged that Shanley had sexually abused children. The victim was surprised to see this article and recalled some of the interactions he personally had with Shanley, such as being taken out of class to be disciplined by Shanley several times between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. Even after looking up some more information about Shanley, the victim could not recall any traumatic memories.

A few weeks after the article was printed, the victim learned that one of his childhood friends had made allegations against their former priest as well. The victim decided to reach out to his former friend, and he got an attorney. As a member of the Air Force, the victim met with an Air Force psychologist to discuss everything that was going on. The psychologist suggested the victim start a diary to keep track of any memories he had that involved Shanley.

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So How Is It Different From Forgetting

One can overlook unimportant information or even the information that is a part of our normal routine life but forgetting important information in the absence of more important aspects is more unconscious in nature. Normal forgotten material can be recalled due to a trigger e.g. I forgot to call the doctor for an appointment later a phone ring may remind me about the same. Repression is on the other hand unconsciously forgetting an idea, an incident, or an experience. Just a normal/routine trigger may not be enough to recover these repressed memories.

The Act Of Voluntary Suppression Of Emotionally Charged Material

In an experimental context people can be asked to refrain from showing emotional reactions, or to try not to think about an emotional condition. Suppression of emotional behavior or thoughts can also occur spontaneously in everyday life. Given that such acts can be performed incidentally, both by people high or low in repression, the act should be distinguished from the habitual response style. It cannot simply be assumed that the consequences of the act of emotional suppression are similar to the psychological and somatic concomitants of being an habitual repressor. For instance, in the long term emotional disclosure leads to a decrease in reported psychological and somatic symptoms . On the other hand, compared to non-repressors, habitual repressors also report less distress . Therefore, the act of emotional expression as well as the response style of non-expression are both associated with low reported distress.

There is an area of research that studies the effects of inhibiting emotional behavior and another area of research that is interested in the effect of thought suppression . Participants in such studies are asked to refrain from emotional behavior, such as facial expressions, or not to think of a certain image. Gross uses the term emotional suppression in the sense of an act and describes it as the conscious inhibition of behavioral signs of emotion, while being emotionally aroused .

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