Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Injury, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Defense Mechanisms

Defense mechanisms are (largely) unconscious ways we use to defend ourselves against anxiety. Simply _not thinking_ (repression) about our bad marriage or failing to accept we drink too much (denial) keeps us from becoming upset.

Somatization, the act of focusing upon bodily complaints rather than dealing with real life issues, is common among injured workers. They become angry at doctors and employers/insurers rather than themselves. Their bodily complaints are either unfounded or grossly exaggerated.

Their unconscious goal is to keep themselves from realizing and dealing with what they may have done to their own lives: They never achieved enough education or pursued a career path that would support them in
event of lost time from work or job change. They (somatize) focus upon their injury as a way of repressing the fact that they are ultimately responsible for their own lives and their own future.

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