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Protecting the Self: Defense Mechanisms in Action Hardcover – May 18, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1593852986 ISBN-10: 1593852983 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press; 1 edition (May 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593852983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593852986
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,197,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In this comprehensive, well-organized, and lucid book, Cramer draws on her own extensive work and that of other investigators to show how defense mechanisms appear and replace each other in the course of development; how different defenses are related to gender, to personality, and to different kinds and degrees of pathology; and how these unconscious phenomena are measured. This book would be an excellent main or supplemental text for many courses in personality and clinical psychology."--Ravenna Helson, PhD, University of California, Berkeley

"Cramer presents a fascinating program of research and theory on developmental and clinical aspects of defense mechanisms. All students of personality--and all clinicians, regardless of theoretical orientation--will enrich their understanding of the core role that defenses play. Written in a clear and compelling manner, this book helps us understand how denial, projection, and identification are manifested in normal development and in psychopathology. This book makes an important contribution to a developmentally informed approach to mental disorders."--Robert L. Leahy, PhD, American Institute for Cognitive Therapy

"This book presents a wise and elegant synthesis of what is known about the nature, development, assessment, and real-life implications of defense mechanisms in childhood and adulthood, by one of the premier researchers in this area. Cramer deftly interweaves information on the rich research base on psychological defense with insights gleaned from literature, clinical encounters with patients, and detailed case studies. The book should be equally useful to personality researchers and practicing clinicians and would be an excellent resource for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in personality, assessment, and psychotherapy. In short, this book should be of use to anyone who wants to understand more deeply the ways--both healthy and damaging--that children and adults cope with the stresses and challenges of daily life."--Rebecca L. Shiner, PhD, Colgate University

"This book is a unique combination of groundbreaking research, sweeping scholarship, and powerful clinical case studies. Cramer convincingly reasserts the central role of defense in any theory of personality, making this book essential reading for clinicians, researchers, and all those involved in the study of human development and personality."--Jack Novick, PhD, International Psychoanalytic Association

 "Cramer has given us perhaps the most thorough review to date of theory and research on the development of defense mechanisms. Her work takes us through the early psychoanalytic roots through the most modern empirical efforts and theoretical perspectives. The book is impressive in scope, integrating the role of defenses in normal development and in psychopathology, which helps to make it an exemplary contribution to the field of developmental psychopathology. Cramer brings her ideas to life with examples from clinical experience, myths, and fairy tales. Not only is this book an informative reference for researchers, theorists and clinicians, but it is also a joy to read."--David W. Evans, PhD, Bucknell University

"Any serious student of human behavior—whether it be a clinician, a researcher, a health/mental health provider or the otherwise curious—will benefit from this book and the wisdom it imparts. The fact that Cramer's work is solidly evidence-based makes it a major contribution to the understanding of human psychodynamics."--Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic
(Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 2006-05-20)

"This book will be one in a series of conceptual milestones on defenses....Cramer marks the growth of our knowledge about the way defenses develop and work. She updates our understanding of some defenses, their development and functions, and offers various research measures to assess defense mechanisms. In addition, she shows how treatment outcome can be measured in terms of defense maturation....The core of this book is the three decades of careful development research on three defenses, documenting defense development, and change in some clinical populations. This will endure. Our discipline benefits from this author's dedication, thoughtfulness, and care."--International Journal of Psychoanalysis
(International Journal of Psychoanalysis 2006-05-20)

"Its completeness suggests its potential usefulness to graduate students in psychology. It should also interest psychodynamic therapists concerned with the evidentiary basis for some of the Freudian concepts that they use daily."--The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
(The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2006-05-20)

"I can think of no easier or better way to describe this book than to say that it is extraordinary. It is by far the best book on psychological defenses since George Valliant's (1977) Adaptation to Life....Synthesizes a vast array of research data, makes important conceptual distinctions that clarify sometimes muddled and often contrary findings, and, in the process, establishes a new standard of clarity and probity for research on the interaction among personality, development, and psychopathology. It is as invaluable to the researcher as it is to the clinician and bridges that all too common divide between them....Because it is so well documented and broad in its acquaintance with the field, this book is indispensable for both researchers and clinicians. It would serve as an excellent text in a graduate course on experimental psychopathology, and clinical interns would find in it a new way to assess and listen to clients and thus to tailor their interventions."--PsycCRITIQUES
(PsycCRITIQUES 2006-05-20)

About the Author

Phebe Cramer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She is also on the editorial boards of the Journal of Research in Personality, the Journal of Personality Assessment, and the European Journal of Personality. Dr. Cramer is the author of a number of research articles and books, including Storytelling, Narrative, and the Thematic Apperception Test. Her research takes a developmental approach to the study of defense mechanisms and personal identity.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Protecting The Self: Defense Mechanisms In Action by Phebe Cramer (clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychology at Williams College) is an in-depth reference and resource about the mental defense mechanisms that ordinary people use upon themselves every day of their lives to deal with unpleasantness, criticism of the self, stress, and other psychologically jarring effects. When taken to extremes defense mechanisms can play a key role in violent or even sadistic behavior, yet they are a routine and daily occurrence among nearly all people everywhere. Chapters particularly focus upon the defense mechanisms of denial, projection, and identification; other topics include how the mechanisms are used between genders, how they are used in childhood versus adulthood, and how to recognize and deal with them in psychotherapy. An authoritative resource especially recommended for medical school libraries, social workers, clinical and personality psychologists, psychiatrists, and other practitioners or students in the field.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very helpful in organizing one's understanding of TAT responses and other storytelling tasks. Highly recommended, though not for lay readers.
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This book integrates all of the current research on defenses, revealing the empirical basis for this unconscious phenomenon that creates the symptoms and presenting problems in patients. It is not a book for the therapist who wants to know how to work with defenses. Instead, it is a book that shows the developmental origin of defenses, their evolution during development, and the research into the effects of defenses on psychic functioning. As such, it is an essential resource for the clinician who wants to know the research basis for the concept of defense.

Jon Frederickson, MSW Author of "Co-Creating Change: Effective Dynamic Therapy Techniques."
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were you looking for an empirical approach to the Ego's defense mechanisms and to the adaptational process?
well this book is for you. in this book, the EBM approach confirms the psychodynamic theories of the twentieth century
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