Defense mechanisms in psychology today. Further processes for adaptation

Am Psychol. 2000 Jun;55(6):637-46. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.55.6.637.


Although the concept of the defense mechanism was rejected from academic psychology for a number of years, recent empirical studies show renewed interest in defenses. Cognitive psychologists have confirmed the existence of unconscious psychological processes, a requisite for defenses. Developmental, personality, and social psychologists have all found evidence for defense mechanisms that explicate psychological functioning. The relevance of this new information for clinical practice is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Science
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Human Development
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Psychology, Social
  • Psychotherapy