Thursday, 16 August 2012



Psychological repression, also psychic repression or simply repression, is the psychological attempt by an individual to repel one's own desires and impulses towards pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one's consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious. Repression plays a major role in many mental illnesses, and in the psyche of average people.
'Repression, a key concept of psychoanalysis, is not a defense mechanism as it pre-exists the ego e.g. 'Primal Repression'. It ensures that what is unacceptable to the conscious mind, and would if recalled arouse anxiety, is prevented from entering into it' and is generally accepted as such by psychoanalytic psychologists.
However, regarding the distinct subject of repressed memory, there is debate as to whether (or how often) memory repression really happens and mainstream psychology holds that true memory repression occurs only very rarely


Freud considered that there was 'reason to assume that there is a primal repression, a first phase of repression, which consists in the psychical (ideational) representative of the instinct being denied entrance into the conscious', as well as a 'second stage of repression, repression proper, which affects mental derivatives of the repressed representative: distinguished what he called a first stage of ' primal repression' from 'the case of repression proper ("after-pressure").
In the Primary Repression phase, 'it is highly probable that the immediate precipitating causes of primal repressions are quantitative factors such as...the earliest outbreaks of anxiety, which are of a very intense kind' The child realizes that acting on some desires may bring anxiety. This anxiety leads to repression of the desire.
The threat of punishment related to this form of anxiety, when internalized, becomes the superego, which intercedes against the desires of the id (which works on the basis of the pleasure principle). Freud speculated that 'it is perhaps the emergence of the super-ego which provides the line of demarcation between primal repression and after-pressure


Abnormal repression, or neurotic behavior occurs when repression develops under the influence of the superego, and the internalized feelings of anxiety, in ways leading to behavior that is illogical, self-destructive, or anti-social.
A psychotherapist may try to ameliorate this behavior by revealing and re-introducing the repressed aspects of the patient's mental process to her or his conscious awareness - 'assuming the role of mediator and lift the repression'.[12] In favourable circumstances, ' Repression is replaced by a condemning judgement carried out along the best lines',[13] thereby reducing anxiety over the impulses involved.

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