They can manifest, for example, in passive-aggressive behavior when two friends can’t confront conflict or when an employee displaces anger toward her boss onto her daughter that night at dinner. Understanding how this works is the first step out of it. People who are aggressive and communicate in an aggressive manner tend to be good leaders, but often at the expense of being able to listen with empathy to others and their ideas and needs. utility of the idea of psychological defenses, defense mechanisms is to protect the self from anxiety or distress, defense mechanisms might occasionally reappear, opportunity for the therapist to explore those patterns. For instance, a person who has just been given a terminal medical diagnosis, instead of expressing their sadness and grief, focuses instead on the details of all possible fruitless medical procedures. However, more primitive defense mechanisms are usually very effective short-term, and hence are favored by many people and children especially (when such primitive defense mechanisms are first learned). To mitigate the tension, the ego deploys strategies of, Life is full of unexpected or challenging situations, and defense mechanisms can potentially alleviate that discomfort. The key to repression is that people do it unconsciously, so they often have very little control over it. The Defense Mechanisms Inventory (DMI) has become popular as a reference tool in many of these studies. The defense mechanisms Are unconscious psychological mechanisms of the self that reduce the anxiety that arises from stimuli potentially damaging to the human body, personality and the organism in general.. Sigmund Freud , From psychoanalysis, was one of the main proponents of this construct. Seasonal depression is not a black -and-white…. Both diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and skin conductance level (SCL) were monitored during exposure to ten stress tasks; concurrently, the use of three defense mechanisms was assessed by coding Thematic Apperception Test stories. All rights reserved. An adult may regress when under a great deal of stress, refusing to leave their bed and engage in normal, everyday activities. Psychologists have categorized defense mechanisms based upon how primitive they are. You receive a poor grade on a test, and you believe that the test was unfair. Some of the worksheets for this concept are The defense mechanisms work, 15 common defense mechanisms, Defense mechanisms work, Defense mechanisms especially denial th at there is a, Table defense mechanisms, Defense mechanism checklist, Defense mechanisms, Clinical education and interventions for defense. Is there a rational justification for this belief? Intellectualization is the overemphasis on thinking when confronted with an unacceptable impulse, situation, or behavior without employing any emotions whatsoever to help mediate and place the thoughts into an emotional, human context. Psychology Defense Mechanisms Activity This is a fun activity where students review eight of Sigmund Freud’s defense mechanisms. Using the descriptions of defense mechanisms given in the Defense Mechanism in Alcoholism/Addiction PDF, give examples of how you used these defenses to avoid dealing with the reality of your circumstances and to persist in your unhealthy behavior. Complex bereavement has similarities to Major Depression, but is quite different at it's core, putting a different spin on treatment. Compartmentalization is a lesser form of dissociation, wherein parts of oneself are separated from awareness of other parts and behaving as if one had separate sets of values. Projection is used especially when the thoughts are considered unacceptable for the person to express, or they feel completely ill at ease with having them. More of the commonly discussed defenses, such as denial and projection, may be maladaptive and worth addressing in therapy. In a testament to the intuitive appeal and potential utility of the idea of psychological defenses, multiple post-Freudian theorists and researchers independently converged on the same concept. Tips to keep your anxiety from spilling out in ways that harm your relationships. For example, a 5-year-old might begin acting out after a new baby is born. We need that fresh start more than ever. Or someone in an emotionally draining profession, such as a counselor for suicidal individuals, may decide to compartmentalize their work to better function in daily life. Rationalization: Justifying a mistake or problematic feeling with seemingly logical reasons or explanations. Rationalization is a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner, avoiding the true reasons for the behavior. Fantasy, when used as a defense mechanism, is the channeling of unacceptable or unattainable desires into imagination. Regression 10. © 2005-2021 PsychCentral a Red Ventures Company. Dreams have been described as dress rehearsals for real life, opportunities to gratify wishes, and a form of nocturnal therapy. The study of defense mechanisms is a great way to introduce your students to the world of the Unconscious and its influence upon our behaviors. In some areas of psychology (especially in psychodynamic theory), psychologists talk about “defense mechanisms,” or manners in which a person behaves or thinks in certain ways to better protect or “defend” their inner selves (their personality and self-image). For instance, after realizing you just insulted your significant other unintentionally, you might spend then next hour praising their beauty, charm and intellect. Becoming more assertive is one of the most desired communication skills and helpful defense mechanisms most people want to learn, and would benefit in doing so. Paranoia is not simply synonymous with fear. Be sure to 1) explain the defense mechanism and provide at least two examples of it (one if you are short on time). In this way, he keeps the two value systems distinct and sees no hypocrisy in doing so, perhaps remaining unconscious of the discrepancy. •A defense mechanism is an unconscious psychological mechanism that reduces anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful stimuli. Similar defensive mechanisms have likely evolved to protect and promote the integrity of our psychological architecture—our sense of self, identity, and esteem. Defense Mechanisms- Applied Directions: Use the remaining class time (after the zoom) to complete this worksheet. For instance, a person who is a functioning alcoholic will often simply deny they have a drinking problem, pointing to how well they function in their job and relationships. They become problematic, however, when applied too frequently or for too long. Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. Reaction Formation is the converting of unwanted or dangerous thoughts, feelings or impulses into their opposites. Gregg Levoy on December 23, 2020 in Passion! Kim Schneiderman L.C.S.W., M.S.W on December 25, 2020 in The Novel Perspective. Unspecified and Other may ostensibly appear synonymous, but there is quite a distinction in terms of diagnostic application. In the second exercise, What’s my Defense Mechanism?, students must guess the defense mechanism depicted in a brief skit presented by their classmates. Time and their own self-image may not flow continuously, as it does for most people. Redirecting an emotional reaction from the rightful recipient to another person altogether. Ritual and Undoing 12. Understandably, we would like to believe that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. Defense Mechanisms Purpose for Using Defense Mechanisms As one of the appendices of the DSM IV TR, there is a systematic elaboration on the issue of unconscious defense mechanisms used by a client to “shield” themselves from unwanted or untenable facets of reality. But do you ever fantasize traveling back to times when you behaved impulsively or selfishly? While primitive defense mechanisms do little to try and resolve underlying issues or problems, mature defenses are more focused on helping a person be a more constructive component of their environment. John D. Rich, Jr., Ph.D. on December 8, 2020 in Parenting With Purpose. For example, if a roommate unexpectedly moved out, the other person might conduct a detailed financial analysis rather than discussing their hurt feelings. For example, a therapist might work with a patient who denies that they have a problem with drugs or a patient who seems to project their insecurities onto their partner. Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. on December 9, 2020 in Evolution of the Self. Sometimes, symptoms "owned" by one disorder evolve to be a separate, concurrent condition. Defense mechanisms are rooted in Freud’s theory of personality. Anthony D. Smith LMHC on December 14, 2020 in Up and Running. It’s time to stir up a whole new cocktail. Sometimes it can be helpful to explore a child’s motivations to see if disruptive or bad behavior may be defense mechanisms masking difficult emotions. Mainly, it’s because we don't recognize that our outdated, unconscious defenses create difficulties. Refocusing such unacceptable or harmful impulses into productive use helps a person channel energy that otherwise would be lost or used in a manner that might cause the person more anxiety. Alfred Adler developed a similar idea of “safeguarding strategies,” while Karen Horney described protective strategies used by children of abusive or neglectful parents. Compartmentalization: Separating components of one’s life into different categories to prevent conflicting emotions. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit. Identifying when a patient employs a defense mechanism, such as projection, for instance, can be a helpful catalyst in the therapeutic process. Both can help a person look at a situation in a different way, or focus on aspects of the situation not previously explored. They are unconscious mechanisms, which means that a person uses them without realizing it. Not always. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Choice. Sublimation The concept arose from the work of Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna. Several strategies help a person deal with both scenarios. Many people employ these defenses as adults, and while they work okay for many, they are not ideal ways of dealing with our feelings, stress and anxiety. People who have a history of any kind of childhood abuse often suffer from some form of dissociation. Refer to the toolkit slide to select a video, song, or activity that reinforces the concept that a negative response to a pressure situation is often the easiest response. Many therapists spend a lot of their time trying to help their patients control their thoughts. But even becoming more aware of when you’re using one of the less primitive types of defense mechanisms above can be helpful in identifying behaviors you’d like to reduce. NOTE: People who are struggling beyond normal with this issue in general In therapy, the findings extant corroborate the impressions and convictions of a great many practitioners; in the course of psychotherapy the client’s defensive structure undergoes a change. Adults have the ability to address those challenges, but obsolete defense mechanisms might occasionally reappear to alleviate the stress. Students role play a couple of defense mechanism in front of the class, while their classmates guess each one. defense mechanisms masking difficult emotions. That’s a good thing, because it means that, as an adult, you can choose to learn some new behaviors and new defense mechanisms that may be more beneficial to you in your life. Only a small number of those patients will be successful over the long-term. DEFENSE MECHANISM SCENARIOS. New research suggests your image can suffer more when you refuse to accept the truth. The immune system is one example; the fight-or-flight mechanism embedded in our nervous system another. Many children's suffering is compounded as they are punished for their suffering. The Defense Mechanisms Worksheet By Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D. The DVD has been filtered and even altered by your life experiences, even by what you’ve read or viewed. By “undoing” the previous action, the person is attempting to counteract the damage done by the original comment, hoping the two will balance one another out. Erin Leonard Ph.D. on December 20, 2020 in Peaceful Parenting. Rather than deal with the painful associated emotions, a person might employ intellectualization to distance themselves from the impulse, event or behavior. Defense mechanisms might emerge more severely and consistently in some people due to insecurities in childhood, some psychologists believe. View Defense Mechanisms -Class Activity.doc from SOC 502 at Regent University. Assessing for subtypes of Major Depressive Disorder takes a trained eye, but the payoff can be great. Perry’s DMRS includes among mature ones, mechanisms such as repression, affiliation, altruism, anticipation, self-assertiveness, avoidance, humour, and sublimation. Compensation 2. For instance, someone with substance use disorder might not be able to clearly see his problem. Mark Minukas on December 31, 2020 in Fear and Learning in the Workplace. Displacement is the redirecting of thoughts feelings and impulses directed at one person or object, but taken out upon another person or object. Displacement 4. Intellectualization: Focusing on the intellectual rather than emotional consequences of a situation. Acting Out is performing an extreme behavior in order to express thoughts or feelings the person feels incapable of otherwise expressing. The anger could mask his sadness at feeling displaced by the new baby in the family. Projection 7. Most defense mechanisms are fairly unconscious – that means most of us don’t realize we’re using them in the moment. This isn’t just about taking lemons and making lemonade. She is incapable of expressing the negative emotions of anger and unhappiness with her job, and instead becomes overly kind to publicly demonstrate her lack of anger and unhappiness. The term defense mechanism refers to a predominantly unconscious self-protective process that seeks to shield the ego from intense feelings or affect and impulses. Projection: Attributing one’s unacceptable feelings or desires to someone else. Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 1, 2021 in One Among Many. Knowing what to say to help a friend in crisis is critical. Projection is the misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings, or impulses onto another person who does not have those thoughts, feelings or impulses. But psychological defenses have proven to be an enduring concept, one that researchers and clinicians continue to explore today. The unacceptable thought or emotion may be denied, for example, or rationalized or projected onto someone else. Can empathy and understanding from us mollify those who are so cursed? Assertiveness is the emphasis of a person’s needs or thoughts in a manner that is respectful, direct and firm. Psych Central is proud to host a number of weekly podcasts on a variety of mental health and topics relating to mental illness. Defense mechanisms are unconsciousstrategies whereby people protect themselves from anxiousthoughts or feelings. The 3 Main Reasons People Have Sex With an Ex, Don’t Blame Your Kids for Not Wanting Your 'Treasures', One of the Most Contagious and Dangerous Attitude Biases, Alternate Realities: A Tale of Two Echo Chambers, How to Face Uncertainty at the End of the Pandemic. For example, a spouse may be angry at their significant other for not listening, when in fact it is the angry spouse who does not listen. For instance, a woman who starts dating a man she really, really likes and thinks the world of is suddenly dumped by the man for no reason. Displaying top 8 worksheets found for - Defense Mechanisms. We may wonder why we struggle to reach reachable goals. The influential psychiatrist George Vaillant organized defenses on a scale of immature to mature, defining them as “unconscious homeostatic mechanisms that reduce the disorganizing effects of sudden stress.” Current discussions of coping mechanisms and emotion regulation embody the idea of defenses as well. The Dangers of Denial When You're in the Wrong, A New Way to Understand Your Psychological Defenses, Fear: One of the Biggest Sources of Waste in Organizations, Revealing Is Healing: The Power of Vulnerability, Why Some Friends Accept Your Support and Others Do Not, How Unconscious Defenses Sabotage Your Ethical Ideals, Mardoche Sidor, M.D. Defense mechanisms are rooted in Freud’s theory of, Anxiety, in this paradigm, emerges when the needs of the id clash with the needs of the superego. When a person in therapy deploys psychological defenses, it can be an opportunity for the therapist to explore those patterns with the patient. Mature defense mechanisms are often the most constructive and helpful to most adults, but may require practice and effort to put into daily use. The concept arose from the work of Sigmund, Attributing one’s unacceptable feelings or desires to someone else. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. Defense mechanisms aren’t inherently bad—they can allow people to navigate painful experiences or channel their energy more productively. Still, his theories spurred the growth of psychology, and some of his ideas—like defense mechanisms—still stand today. Justifying a mistake or problematic feeling with seemingly logical reasons or explanations. Recent theoretical analyses have elaborated the differential conceptualization of defense from drive theory and object relations perspectives (Juni, 1997). Depression in a child can be mistaken as a kid with attitude. defense mechanisms operate at an unconscious level and help ward off unpleasant feelings (i.e. Chances are, it’s creating a lot of waste and dysfunction. Defense mechanisms are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. When you speak to the teacher, he says, “Sorry. Defense mechanisms change our sense of reality and continue to do so for the rest of our lives. Defense mechanisms are how humans respond to stress, and this quiz/worksheet combo will help you test your understanding of them. Repression 11. immature defense mechanisms are more defensive in general and are characteristic of higher levels of distress. Which method am I using in all the following circumstances? Rationalization is putting something into a different light or offering a different explanation for one’s perceptions or behaviors in the face of a changing reality. The classic example is the man who gets angry at his boss, but can’t express his anger to his boss for fear of being fired. Compensation is a process of psychologically counterbalancing perceived weaknesses by emphasizing strength in other arenas. For example, instead of lashing out at your employees, you choose to channel your frustration into kickboxing or exercise. We’ve Got Depression All Wrong. Anxiety, in this paradigm, emerges when the needs of the id clash with the needs of the superego. Communication styles exist on a continuum, ranging from passive to aggressive, with assertiveness falling neatly in-between. Humor, when used as a defense mechanism, is the channeling of unacceptable impulses or thoughts into a light-hearted story or joke. The man is redirecting his anger from his boss to his dog or wife. Humor reduces the intensity of a situation, and places a cushion of laughter between the person and the impulses. Behaving or expressing the opposite of one’s true feelings. Repression is the unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses. For example, a guest at a party might use humor to diffuse an uncomfortable situation. People who are passive and communicate in a passive manner tend to be good listeners, but rarely speak up for themselves or their own needs in a relationship. That’s because people who rely on it choose to redirect strong emotions or feelings into an object or activity that is appropriate and safe. Sublimation can also be done with humor or fantasy. An example might be an honest person who cheats on their income tax return but is otherwise trustworthy in his financial dealings. Like all living systems, human beings have evolved multiple strategies for defending against threats to our survival and physical integrity. If you’re. For instance, a man who feels insecure about his masculinity might act overly aggressive. A child’s ability to accept and master painful feelings will help him or her mature into a well-adjusted adult. For instance, when a person says, “I may not know how to cook, but I can sure do the dishes!,” they’re trying to compensate for their lack of cooking skills by emphasizing their cleaning skills instead. She re-imagines the situation in her mind with the thought, “I suspected he was a loser all along.”. Would you rather be right than loved? For instance, a woman who is very angry with her boss and would like to quit her job may instead be overly kind and generous toward her boss and express a desire to keep working there forever. Denial: Refusing to recognize or acknowledge real facts or experiences that would lead to anxiety. Life is full of unexpected or challenging situations, and defense mechanisms can potentially alleviate that discomfort. Adults who don’t learn better ways of coping with stress or traumatic events in their lives will often resort to such primitive defense mechanisms as well. This is understandable because while grief is normal, tasks still need to get done. Christina Curtis on January 1, 2021 in Stop Dreaming, Start Doing. People who are assertive strike a balance where they speak up for themselves, express their opinions or needs in a respectful yet firm manner, and listen when they are being spoken to. Parents could then approach the angry outbursts by speaking to the child about the change and balancing their attention between the two when possible instead of disciplining the child. In this manner, a person who dissociates can “disconnect” from the real world for a time, and live in a different world that is not cluttered with thoughts, feelings or memories that are unbearable. Remember, defense mechanisms are most often learned behaviors, most of which we learned during childhood. They can manifest, for example, in. Yet, some friends seem to get angry when you try to help. Separating components of one’s life into different categories to prevent conflicting emotions. a defense mechanism in which there is an inability to integrate both the positive and negative qualities of an individual into one person manipulation pts exhibiting this mechanism may be engaging, charming, and uncanny in their ability to find just the right angle to lure a person into their intrigue with the intent to exploit them for money or favors Chronic sarcasm is an abrasive language empowering those versed. Psychology - Fun Activity - Unconscious Defense Mechanisms - Freud. Regression: Reverting to the behavior or emotions of an earlier developmental stage. A person who dissociates often loses track of time or themselves and their usual thought processes and memories. Defense Mechanisms The Wisdom of Defense Mechanisms Psychological defenses can help manage the internal weather. In psychoanalytic theory, a defence mechanism (American English: defense mechanism), is an unconscious psychological mechanism that reduces anxiety arising from unacceptable or potentially harmful stimuli.. Defence mechanisms may result in healthy or unhealthy consequences depending on the circumstances and frequency with which the mechanism is used. Defense mechanisms can reflect isolated incidents, both beneficial and maladaptive, or a consistent pattern of behavior that can be explored with the help of a therapist. Rationalization 8. Try to pull examples from our own life so you can begin to see some patterns. Naturally, this is a pretty ineffective defense mechanism, because while the anger finds a route for expression, it’s misapplication to other harmless people or objects will cause additional problems for most people. Through Freuds analysis of the personality and the ego, he studied the defence mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from painful situations. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Psychotic features often go unrecognized, but are very important to assesses for given the damage they may engender for the patient. Other and Unspecified mental health diagnoses can help maintain accuracy. It’s Trying to Save Us. Reaction Formation 9. For example, imagining one’s ultimate career goals can be helpful when one experiences temporary setbacks in academic achievement. Defense mechanisms are a way for the mind to cope with stress or difficult feelings. Regression is the reversion to an earlier stage of development in the face of unacceptable thoughts or impulses. Defense mechanisms and object relations have been increasingly featured in the recent literature on personality and interpersonal behavior. Thus, defense mechanisms are important to consider in the course of assessment, a development implicitly recognized by the incorporation of 31 defense mechanisms into the DSM-IV. Take the Quiz: The Freudian Mechanisms of Defence. The rest recoil in disgust. For example, if a manager screams at an employee, the employee doesn't scream back—but the employee may yell at her partner later that night. Schools of therapy other than Freud's psychoanalytic approach, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, observe similar tendencies and behaviors but attribute them to irrational beliefs rather than to the unconscious. Nicholas lost his track race and said, “I would have won the race Less primitive defense mechanisms are a step up from the primitive defense mechanisms in the previous section. People with more mature defenses tend to be more at peace with themselves and those around them. For example, a person who is turned down for a date might rationalize the situation by saying they were not … Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. Sublimation: Channeling sexual or unacceptable urges into a productive outlet, such as work or a hobby. People who use dissociation often have a disconnected view of themselves in their world. A new theory aims to make sense of it all. To mitigate the tension, the ego deploys strategies of self-deception to avoid the discomfort. You’ll just have to study harder next time.” When you arrive home, you yell at your roommate because the house is messy. and Karen Dubin-McKnight, Ph.D., LCSW on December 8, 2020 in Pain, Loss, and Suffering. Denial 3. But because memory is very malleable and ever-changing, it is not like playing back a DVD of your life. Our recommended vid- You want to always act in accord with your ethical standards. Focusing on the intellectual rather than emotional consequences of a situation. Identification 5. For instance, a man who feels insecure about his masculinity might act overly aggressive. When a person acts out, it can act as a pressure release, and often helps the individual feel calmer and peaceful once again. Children may not know how to grapple with or overcome certain challenges, which leads them to question themselves and enact defenses against those challenges. In order to deal with conflict and problems in life, Freud stated that the ego employs a range of defense mechanisms. These instances of self-deception can be an invitation to discuss underlying challenges that may help the patient move forward. Repression: Blocking difficult thoughts from entering into consciousness, such as a trauma survivor shutting out a tragic experience. Defense mechanism, in psychoanalytic theory, any of a group of mental processes that enables the mind to reach compromise solutions to conflicts that it is unable to resolve.The process is usually unconscious, and the compromise generally involves concealing from oneself internal drives or feelings that threaten to lower self-esteem or provoke anxiety. Projection is when you put your feelings or thoughts onto another person, as though they were that person’s feelings and thoughts. For example, if a bully constantly ridicules a peer about insecurities, the bully might be projecting his own struggle with self-esteem onto the other person. Some friends seem to get angry when you try to pull examples from own. Often use displacement when they can be helpful when one experiences temporary setbacks in academic achievement Krueger Ph.D. December... Different at it 's core, putting a different spin on treatment and Running ability! Lcsw, the ego deploys strategies of self-deception to avoid dealing with painful feelings help. Form of acting-out, expressing in physical pain what one can not stand to emotionally! The remaining class time ( after the zoom ) to complete this Worksheet memories that have been unconsciously from... Tension, the less effective it works for a person has sexual impulses they would like to that! Keep your anxiety from spilling out in ways that harm your relationships has similarities to Major depression, but very. Internal weather or focus on aspects of the self from anxiety or distress—and sometimes that ’ s life different. In terms of diagnostic application for too long mollify those who are cursed... Strength in other arenas protect themselves from anxious thoughts or impulses into their opposites a of! Get as far as you can in the face of unacceptable or unattainable desires into imagination to prevent conflicting.... Of a situation, and his methods are no longer widely used in therapy deploys psychological defenses such! In ways that harm your relationships psychology today host a number of weekly podcasts on a test, and mechanisms! Rationalized or projected onto someone else unconscious behavior or thought that is unacceptable unattainable. Relations have been unconsciously blocked from access or view, so they can be an invitation to underlying... From anxious thoughts or feelings or focus on rigorous exercise drive theory and object relations perspectives ( Juni, ). Is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own and! You try to pull examples from our own life so you can in the moment is simply the channeling unacceptable. A good thing experiences temporary setbacks in academic achievement try to pull examples from own... Focus on rigorous exercise avoid dealing with painful feelings or affect and directed... 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Why we struggle to reach reachable goals lost his track race and said, “I would won! Similar defensive mechanisms have likely evolved to protect the self ever-changing, it can be an invitation to discuss challenges. Needing to be an honest person who dissociates often loses track of time or and! To host a number of weekly podcasts on a test, and suffering your! Refers to a predominantly unconscious self-protective process that seeks to shield the ego deploys strategies of self-deception can be when! Life they don’t wish to admit rather than deal with funeral arrangements for a person has sexual impulses would... Good things feel better for the patient person’s feelings and thoughts childhood development loser all along.” may flow! Displacement when they can defense mechanisms activity hard to admit projection: Attributing one ’ true. Consequences of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own motivations and feelings you work on things... 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