The nurse is caring for a patient whose son recently died. The patient is unable to recall the circumstances of her son's death. This woman employs which of the following defense mechanisms?


• Freud believed the human ego uses defense mechanisms, which are methods of attempting to protect the self and cope with our basic drives and with emotionally painful thoughts, feelings, or events.

• Most defense mechanisms operate at the unconscious level of awareness, so people are not aware of what they are doing and often need help to see the reality.

• Repression is excluding emotionally painful or anxiety-provoking thoughts and feelings from conscious awareness; this is not done on purpose, but is a way for the ego to protect itself from painful memories.

• Incorrect: Denial is the refusal to accept or acknowledge an unbearable condition or the reality of a situation. Example: Spending money on vacation despite being near bankruptcy and not believing that one's finances are "that bad."

• Incorrect: Undoing is exhibiting acceptable behavior to make up for or negate unacceptable behavior. Example: Taking a child out for ice cream after losing one's temper and slapping him.

• Incorrect: Suppression is the conscious exclusion of unacceptable thoughts and feelings from awareness; the person chooses not to acknowledge or think about something. Example: Homosexuals often suppress feelings for years if they live in unaccepting homes as youths, but they "come out" once they feel free to do so.

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