Julie Morley

MNCS Accred, Hyp.dip, dip.psysextherapy, Adv.dip.CP

Personal Psychotherapist

Market Deeping / Deeping St James, Peterborough UK 

Tel: 07902 583 487      Email: [email protected]

Defences, Coping Mechanisms, Thinking Errors

Have a read of the below coping mechanisms and tendencies. Highlight any that you recognise that you do yourself and write next to them any thoughts that come to mind.


• Have difficulty identifying how their feeling , often defends against bad feelings they cant cope with.

• Minimize or deny how they truly feel as feeling bad feeling is too painful

• Perceive myself unselfish and dedicate myself to helping others makes them feel better about themselves

• Can take care of myself without the help of others so as one doesn’t get let down or hurt

• Mask my pain with anger humour or isolation to avoid processing painful feeling

• Express negative emotion with passive aggression to avoid showing vulnerability


• 'Believe people are incapable of taking care of themselves'

• Try to convince others how they should think or feel.

• Become resentful when others won't let me help them.

• Freely offer advice n direction without being asked.

• Have to be needed to have relationships with others

• Demand my needs be met by others

• Use charm n charisma to convince others of my capacity to be caring and compassionate

• Adopt an attitude of indifference, helplessness, or rage to manipulate outcomes

• Refuse to compromise co operate or negotiate

• Pretend to agree with others to get what I want


• Extremely loyal remaining in harmful situations too long

• Compromise my own integrity n values to avoid rejection or others' anger.

• Value others' opinions n feelings more than my own and am afraid to express differing opinions

• Afraid to express my opinions when they differ from others

• Put aside my own interests n hobbies in order to do what others want

• Accept sex or sexual attention when I want love.

• Make decisions without regard for the consequences

• Give up my truth to gain the approval of others or to avoid change.


CONFUSION ..happens because unable to think about an anxiety provoking thing

DENIAL Pretend it doesn’t exist

DISPLACEMENT Taking it out on the wrong person (or oneself)

DISPLACEMENT 2 Annoyed about something else, but reacts stressfully towards something safer

FIXATION Refusal to take steps to personal development for fear of abandonment (by parent) including stages in childhood throughout adult life stages

HUMOUR Humour used as deflection of something anxiety provoking. Comedians

are often victims of bullying, or depression so they re-invent themselves to improve relationships or to supress their own feelings. Laughing away problems.

IDEALISATION ..of a person which is caused by conflicting feelings about someone

IDENTIFICATION Being like that person to prevent anxiety- IE the victim becomes the bully

PROJECTION Seeing unwanted feelings in other people

PHOBIC AVOIDANCE Invent a phobia so as not to face difficult feelings

RATIONALISATION Use twisted logic to explain things (so side stepping blame to explain any inadequacy or vice etc)

REGRESSION Regressing back to an earlier developmental stage when things get too difficult. Useful in times of need, like in hospital, but long term, will cause conflict.

SUBLIMINATION A socially acceptable goal in place of repressed libido that can not or should not be discharged. IE an addiction to exercise because others would not understand the personal issues.

TURNING AGAINST SELF Sucking in aggressive viewpoint from others so as to keep a positive viewpoint of them (like abusive parents). An attitude of Im not OK theyre OK. Lack of personal responsibility

UNDOING A need to cleanse guilt of doing or thinking something bad so doing something nice after an argument, or doing obsessive compulsive rituals.


  • Disassociation Separating oneself from parts of ones life
  • Help-Rejecting Ask for help, then reject it
  • Intellectualisation Focussing on logic and facts to avoid emotions & feelings
  • Introjection Occurs when a person internalizes the ideas or voices of other people (eg
  • boys don’t cry becomes the belief to live by.
  • Performing Rituals Patterns that delay
  • Rationalisation Logic for bad behaviour
  • Reaction Formation Avoiding something to take the opposite position
  • Regression Returning to child state to avoid problems
  • Suppression Holding back deeply unwanted urges
  • Symbolisation Turning unwanted thoughts in to metaphor
  • Trivialising Making big things smaller
  • Undoing Making things right when someone has wronged you


BLACK & WHITE THINKING- Something or someone is either all good or all bad. Only one answer for something without seeing the greys or other factors in between. An inability to cope with the grey areas, things need to be either all one, or all the other.

CATASTOPHIZING- Making something bad into the worst thing ever, and always was and always will be.

- If friend doesn’t call back, she hates me, everyone else does too.

-Something doesn’t work out and so nothing ever works out and never will

-Failed at a work or school topic, Im so bad at this and so Im bad at everything and will be forever

FORTUNE TELLING- Thinking you know what will happen in the future and it will be bad.

-‘A new Manager is starting and as Ive had terrible managers in the past, this one’s BOUND to be bad and I wont like them or they wont like me and then I will get stressed, and then lose my job’

-A relationship ends and now I will never find a decent relationship ever

-A house purchase falls through and now we will never be able to buy a house again and no decent houses will come on the market ever

IGNORING THE GOOD- Paying more attention to the bad things and ignore anything good

You get a tax rebate- but they shouldn’t have taken it from you in the first place and its still not enough money to never work again.

MIND READING- Believing you know what someone is thinking.

I failed to write the report yesterday, I bet the manager is thinking of sacking me

A friend hasn’t done what they said they were going to so I bet their thinking Im taking advantage

NEGATIVE LABELING - Negative belief about yourself and thinks it applies to everything about you

I’m not good socially, therefore I’m a terrible person

I’m very bad at admin type of stuff therefore I cant be very intelligent

SELF BLAMING- Blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong

Football team lost, its all my fault or had an argument with someone means it must be my fault

FEELINGS ARE FACTS- Believing that if you feel something it must be true

I feel like everyone hates me, is probably not fact

I feel like Im a crap parent is probably not fact

SHOULD STATEMENTS- Believe things have to be a certain way.

‘He should do this or that or Sundays ‘should’ be a certain way or Decorating in a house ‘should’ be like this’ ‘A man should always have £10 in his back pocket.


Belief that you must be perfect in everything you do