Psychological Theories

455 words | 2 page(s)

1. Defense mechanisms provide a way for humans to distance themselves from certain things, including the full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Primitive defense mechanisms include denial, regression, acting out, disassociation, compartmentalization, projection, and reaction formation. More mature defense mechanisms, the mid-level defense mechanisms, include repression, displacement, intellectualization, rationalization, and undoing, and fully mature defense mechanisms include sublimation, compensation, and assertiveness (Grohol, 2007). While it is true that some forms of defense mechanisms are unconscious, there are others that are deliberately put into place as a result of a specific action; for example, a person may deliberately opt to play the fool, act like a joker, as a defense mechanism as a means of keeping their true nature to themselves so that it is not held up for scrutiny by others.

2. Erik Erikson developed a theory on the psychosocial development of human beings; described as an ego psychologist, he spent his life studying the stages of human development, and came up with eight different life stage virtues: trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation, and ego integrity versus despair. He believed that each person must pass through all of these stages throughout the course of their lives. Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, developed the concepts of the introvert and the extrovert personality types, archetypes, and the collective unconscious.

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3. The value of volunteering and community service allow for an individual to attain a sense of community and a feeling that they are a part of something greater; by having youth and adolescents participate in these activities, not only are they able to see how their actions may affect others on a larger scale, but they are also able to see how every action has a reaction.

4. Self-esteem has a large effect on everyday life; it affects how the normal variations day to day life may be seen and reacted to, and it affects how a person perceives their value to society. For example, the grade that a person obtains on an exam will have an effect, no matter how temporary, on how a person feels about themselves; people with poor self-esteem rely on how they are doing at the current moment in order to determine how they feel about themselves, and need almost constant positive reinforcement to stay upbeat, however a person with a healthy self-esteem will have the ability to asses themselves accurately and still accept who they are, acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses while still realizing they are a worthwhile individual (UT Austin, 2013).

  • Grohol, J. (2007). 15 Common Defense Mechanisms. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 16, 2013, from
  • UT Austin. (2013). Self-esteem. Retrieved from

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