Dear Enneagram group -
After two meetings concerned with Attachment Theory and its relation to Enneagram theory and applications, we will move on to the rest of social- and clinical-research psychology.
The topic of "ego defenses" seems a promising next step, in that it has been of fundamental clinical and theoretical concern since Freud's systematization in his later writings, and this area (like Attachment Theory) has also been studied across a wide variety of individuals and situations by contemporary social psychologists.
The idea of ego defenses - or the many processes by which the central executive faculty of the mind reacts to distressing emotional affects, such as anxiety - has a storied history among psychoanalysts and other clinicians. The summary forms in which social psychologists have more recently attempted to study these "defense mechanisms" include five basic factor-types of defenses (possibly reducible in some studies to three types).
These include such classic phenomena as "projective identification" - a term from Object Relations theory about how aspects of one's own ego can become projected, or fused with the one's internal representation of another person - but also encompass broader categories of defenses, such as those that include attempts at punishing either the self or the other who is linked to the onset of the affective experience underlying the defense.
Researchers have devised novel means for assessing these defenses, including some continuous with the Attachment Theory measures we have been discussing. We will explore some of these measures on ourselves, and plan to discuss their relation to Enneagram types as we understand them, and the implications for our lives.
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