Defense Mechanisms


4.6 out of 5 (56 Reviews)



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Start Date

1 Sep 2023

Last Review Date

1 Sep 2023

Expiration Date

31 Aug 2026

Estimated Time To Finish

120 Minutes

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Activity Description

Anna Freud defined defense mechanisms as "unconscious resources used by the ego" to decrease internal stress ultimately. Patients often devise these unconscious mechanisms to decrease conflict within themselves, specifically between the superego and id. Psychodynamic therapy is used by clinicians to help orient patients to their own unconscious processes. By recognizing and identifying these processes, patients improve their self-awareness and gain a new understanding of their own behaviors. This activity defines major defense mechanisms to increase clinician's understanding of their patients during patient encounters and the role of the interprofessional team in the care of these patients.

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians, physician associates, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and social workers.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the learner will be better able to:

  • Identify and define the common psychological defense mechanisms.
  • Describe the goal of psychodynamic therapy in relation to defense mechanisms.
  • Review the clinical significance of defense mechanisms in relation to psychodynamic therapy.
  • Outline interprofessional team strategies for improving coordination and communication in the care of patients with defense mechanisms.


StatPearls, LLC requires everyone who influences the content of an educational activity to disclose relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies that have occurred within the past 24 months. Ineligible companies are organizations whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. All relevant conflict(s) of interest have been mitigated. Hover over contributor names for financial disclosures. Others involved in planning this educational activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Commercial Support: This activity has received NO commercial support.

Continuing Education Accreditation Information

In support of improving patient care, StatPearls, LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

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Social Workers: StatPearls, LLC designates this continuing education activity for 2.00 ASWB ACE credit(s) for social workers. Social Workers should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Please consult your professional licensing board for information on the applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity.

Method of Participation and Credit

  1. Register for the activity.    
  2. Review the target audience, learning objectives, and disclosure information.
  3. Study the educational content of the enduring material.
  4. Choose the best answer to each activity test question. To receive credit and a certificate, you must pass the test questions with a minimum score of 100%.
  5. Complete the post-activity assessment survey.

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This educational activity was planned and produced in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Faculty may discuss investigational products or off-label uses of products regulated by the FDA. Readers should verify all information before employing any therapies described in this educational activity.

The information provided for this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical/clinical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The information presented does not necessarily reflect the views of StatPearls or any commercial supporters of educational activities on StatPearls expressly disclaims responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through a participant's misunderstanding of the content.

Unapproved Uses of Drugs/Devices: In accordance with FDA requirements, the audience is advised that information presented in this continuing education activity may contain references to unlabeled or unapproved uses of drugs or devices. Please refer to the FDA-approved package insert for each drug/device for full prescribing/utilization information.

Cancellation Policy: Please see the cancellation policy. StatPearls, LLC reserves the right to cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances.




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