Types of Coping Mechanisms

1. Compensation - extra effort in one area to offset real or imagined
lack in another area
Example: Short man becomes assertively verbal and excels in business.

2. Conversion - A mental conflict is expressed through physical symptoms
Example: Woman becomes blind after seeing her husband with another woman.

3. Denial - treating obvious reality factors as though they do not exist because
they are consciously intolerable
Example: Mother refuses to believe her child has been diagnosed with leukemia.
"She just has the flu."

4. Displacement - transferring unacceptable feelings aroused by one object
to another,more acceptable substitute

Example: Adolescent lashes out at parents after not being invited to party.

5. Dissociation - walling off specific areas of the personality from consciousness
Example: Adolescent talks about failing grades as if they belong to
someone else;jokes about them.

6. Fantasy - a conscious distortion of unconscious wishes and need to
obtain satisfaction
Example: A student nurse fails the critical care exam and daydreams about
her heroic role in a cardiac arrest.

7. Fixation - becoming stagnated in a level of emotional development in
which one is comfortable

Example: A sixty year old man who dresses and acts as if he were still
in the 1960's.

8. Identification - subconsciously attributing to oneself qualities of others
Example: Elvis impersonators.

9. Intellectualization - use of thinking, ideas, or intellect to avoid emotions
Example: Parent becomes extremely knowledgeable about child's diabetes.

10. Introjection - incorporating the traits of others
Example: Husband's symptoms mimic wife's before she died.

11. Projection - unconsciously projecting one's own unacceptable qualities
or feelings onto others

Example: Woman who is jealous of another woman's wealth accuses her
of being a gold-digger.

12. Rationalization - justifying behaviors, emotions, motives, considered
intolerable through acceptable excuses

Example: "I didn't get chosen for the team because the coach plays

13. Reaction Formation - expressing unacceptable wishes or behavior by
opposite overt behavior

Example: Recovered smoker preaches about the dangers of second
hand smoke.

14. Regression - retreating to an earlier and more comfortable emotional
level of development

Example: Four year old insists on climbing into crib with younger sibling.

15. Repression - unconscious, deliberate forgetting of unacceptable or
painful thoughts,impulses, feelings or acts

Example: Adolescent "forgets" appointment with counselor to discuss
final grades.

16. Sublimation - diversion of unacceptable instinctual drives into personally
and socially acceptable areas.

Example: Young woman who hated school becomes a teacher.

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