Why Do I Do That? Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives
Why Do I Do That? is a self-help book for people who don't usually buy self-help books. Instead of offering cognitive-behavioral techniques for dealing with anger, or affirming strategies to boost self-esteem, this self-help book adapts the basic methods of psychodynamic psychotherapy to a guided course in self-exploration, highlighting the universal role of defense mechanisms in warding off emotional pain. Even the best self-help books tend to stay on the surface, helping readers to modify their conscious thoughts and behaviors. Why Do I Do That? instead probes deeply into the unconscious. With easy-to-understand explanations, the first part teaches you about the unconscious mind and the role of psychological defenses in excluding difficult feelings from awareness. Individual chapters in the longer middle section explore the primary defense mechanisms one by one, with exercises to help you identify your own defenses at work. The final part offers guidance for how to "disarm" your defenses and cope more effectively with the unconscious feelings behind them. Psychological defense mechanisms are an inevitable and necessary part of the human experience; but when they become too pervasive or deeply entrenched, they may damage our personal relationships, restrict or distort our emotional lives and prevent us from behaving in ways that promote lasting self-esteem. Why Do I Do That? promotes self-help for readers who want to improve their relationships, manage their emotional lives more effectively and develop authentic self-esteem that will last. If you find that even the best self-help books lack depth and fail to instigate lasting change, this psychodynamic self-help book may be for you.
As a severely depressed college freshman, Burgo began 13 years of psychotherapy with an esteemed doctor he credits with helping him to develop distinct views of human nature and what drives us which enabled him to later become a successful psychologist. This thought-provoking book explores the psychological defense mechanisms he believes all people harbor. These traits mostly painful and restrictive thoughts and emotions are largely unconscious behaviors and potentially threaten personal safety and happiness. The author s tone is congenial and didactic without becoming tedious. Perhaps most importantly, Burgo reiterates that human emotions and their associated defenses (e.g., denial, passive-aggressiveness, displacement, ambivalence) are nothing to be frightened or ashamed of but rather part of everyday life. Change is possible, and those open to it will challenge the ways react and defend. Through individual case studies, Burgo identifies and cohesively presents ways in which negative behaviors can be thwarted through direct confrontation with triggers. Exercises at the end of chapters apply techniques for recognizing and defusing oppressive defenses in readers own lives and bring the book down to a personal level, creating a valuable resource for readers. Burgo s approach to understanding and controlling expressions of detrimental emotions is professional as well as empathetic