All tagged Defense Mechanism

The Change Triangle - A Useful Map To Deep Emotional Change

I recently gotten my hands on a wonderful book by Hilary Jacobs Hendel called:

It's Not Always Depression: Listen to the Body. Discover Core Emotions. Connect to Your Authentic Self.

Hilary is has had an interesting career - trained as a dentist, she re-trained to become a psychotherapist - simultaneously studying to be a classical psychoanalyst and an emotion-focused psychotherapist.

In this book, she presents the core of her method to help her patients truly change their stuck emotional patterns such as chronic depression, anxiety, anger and problems experiencing emotions (a.k.a. feeling nothing).

She calls it The Change Triangle. (Those in the know might know it by it's technical name: The Triangle Of Conflict). This is a useful map and tool distilling the insights from psychoanalysis, emotion theory and the clinical experience of many psychotherapists.

I've found it to be extremely powerful in helping some of my clients get to very deep levels of their emotions and to transform these emotions. As a result of this work (Hilary calls it Working the Triangle), some of my clients have (to my pleasant excitement), arrived at a deep clear state of calm, compassion, curiosity and clarity. To be honest, this is the deepest kind of effect my work has had on anyone.

Hermit Crabs And Defense Mechanisms

It just occurred to me that we human beings are very alike these crustaceous creatures. The only difference being that instead of moving into a shell that protects us, we develop shells of our own, usually by accumulation.

We develop defense mechanisms against our emotions, certain types of life interactions and certain types of life experiences. For me, defense mechanisms a broader than this though. They include our habits and the routines we fall into, down to the way we like to drink our coffees and the routine route we take to work. All these form layers of shell around our soft (emotional) "flesh" and help us feel confident enough to navigate this world.