Sigmund Freud might be best known to most of us for the term “Freudian slip”, but in fact many of his ideas are at the core of modern psychoanalytic theory. One example, and the subject of today’s infographic, is the defense mechanism.
Freud thought that people develop defense mechanisms to protect themselves from painful thoughts. In other, more Freudian words, when our id—”the dark, inaccessible part of our personality,” where our innermost urges live—is in conflict with itself, or with the outside world, our ego—the unconscious mediator between reality and our inner id—develops mechanisms to deal with it.
Though Freud came up with the original idea, most of the defense mechanisms psychologists talk about today were defined in the century or so after he died.
So, how does psychotherapy see you? To find out what kind of defenses your own id and ego have produced, check out designer David McCandless’s amazing wheel-of-defenses: