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Sigmund Freud Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

cheat sheet by deep and dope

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.

Type of Defense Mechanisms

Potential Diagnosis
The develo­pment of physical symptoms that cannot be explained by pathop­hys­iology or physical injury
John's arm becomes suddenly paralyzed after he was threat­ening to hit someone
Conversion Disorder
Failing to reconcile both positive and negative attributes into a whole unders­tanding of a person or situation, resulting in all-or­-none thinking
Jane says that all the male nurses are cold and insens­itive, but the female doctors are warm and friendly
Borderline Disorder
Pathol­ogical ideali­zation and devalu­ation
Ideali­zation and devalu­ation are natural results of a splitting defense
Ideali­zation and devalu­ation are natural results of a splitting defense
Borderline Person­ality Disorder
Uncons­ciously pushing threat­ening or unacce­ptable thoughts, feelings, or memories out of awareness
A young child is bitten by a dog. They later develop a severe phobia of dogs but have no memory of when or how this fear origin­ated. They have repressed the painful memory of the fearful experience with the dog, so they are unaware of exactly where their fear came from.
Attrib­uting one's own unacce­ptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts to others
A wife is attracted to a male co-worker but can't admit her feelings, so when her husband talks about a female co-worker, she becomes jealous and accuses him of being attracted to the other woman.
Refusing to acknow­ledge or accept the reality of a stressful or threat­ening situation
After the unexpected death of a loved one, a person might refuse to accept the reality of the death and deny that anything has happened
Channeling socially unacce­ptable impulses or desires into socially acceptable activities or outlets
A woman who recently went through a breakup may channel her emotions into a home improv­ement project
Redire­cting emotions or impulses from their original source to a less threat­ening or more acceptable target
Manager screams at an employee, the employee doesn't scream back—but he yelled at his spouse later that night.
Reverting to an earlier stage of develo­pment in the face of stress or anxiety
A driver stuck in traffic may get angry and throw a tantrum, even though he doesn't usually behave that way
Creating logical or reasonable explan­ations to justify or explain away threat­ening or unacce­ptable behavior or feelings
A student who is rejected from her dream college may explain that she's happy to be attending a school that's less compet­itive and more welcoming
Dealing with emotional conflicts or stressors by focusing on abstract or intell­ectual aspects, rather than the emotional or personal signif­icance
Someone endlessly researches the details of a signif­icant illness to avoid the anxiety, fear, and sadness of receiving a diagnosis
Engaging in behavior to counteract or undo a previous unacce­ptable thought, feeling, or action
After thinking about being violent with someone, one would then be overly nice or accomm­odating to them
Separating disturbing or threat­ening thoughts or feelings from the rest of one's thoughts or emotions, often by compar­tme­nta­lizing them
Someone describes the day their house burnt down in a factual way without displaying any emotion
Adopting the charac­ter­istics, behaviors, or values of someone else, often perceived as stronger or more powerful, to cope with feelings of inadequacy or anxiety
A child developing the behavior of his or her parents without conscious realiz­ation of this process
Overem­pha­sizing or exagge­rating a trait or behavior to make up for perceived defici­encies or to cope with feelings of inferi­ority
People with difficult family lives may direct their energy toward excelling at work
Acting out
The develo­pment of detrim­ental behaviors that distract attention and energy away from other stressors
someone who has intrusive thoughts about a traumatic event but pushes these thoughts out of their mind
Dismissing thoughts or feelings that are uncomf­ortable or keeping away from people, places, or situations associated with uncomf­ortable thoughts or feelings
One avoids the location of a traumatic motor vehicle accident or avoids driving completely
Schizoid Fantasy
Creating an internal retreat into one’s imagin­ation to avoid uncomf­ortable situations
A victim of physical abuse got lost in thought thinking of her good days upon hearing that she'll meet the abuser
The devotion of one’s effort to solving problems before they arise
Someone prepares for an important job interview by practicing their answers to the toughest questions
Decreasing or combating the negative emotions associated with a situation by using comedy
Telling a funny story about someone during a eulogy
Reaction Formation
Replacing one’s initial impulse toward a situation or idea with the opposite impulse
A young boy who bullies a young girl because, on a subcon­scious level, he's attracted to her
Associ­ating sexual aspects to one’s experience of certain people, places, objects, or ideas
Adrift during her mother’s death, Jane began to flirt with her male trainer to avoid thinking about her mother
Consci­ously choosing to block ideas or impulses that are undesi­rable, as opposed to repres­sion, a subcon­scious process
Someone who has intrusive thoughts about a traumatic event but pushes these thoughts out of their mind


Freud's therap­eutic technique and theory of person­ality organi­zation
Key Components
Uncons­cious motives, childhood experi­ences, and unresolved conflicts shaping behavior
To bring uncons­cious thoughts and emotions into conscious awareness, leading to self-i­nsight and resolution of inner conflicts

Structural Model of Person­ality

Structural Model of Person­ality and Function

operates on the pleasure principle, seeking immediate gratif­ication of basic needs and desires
the rational, conscious part of person­ality that mediates between the impulsive demands of the id, the moral constr­aints of the superego, and the demands of reality
represents intern­alized societal norms, values, and moral standards. It acts as a moral consci­ence, striving for perfection and adherence to social rules

Defense Mechanism

Defense mechanisms are uncons­cious strategies that protect the ego from anxiety by distorting reality or preventing threat­ening thoughts and feelings from reaching consci­ousness