Isolation of affect is an unconscious process driven by the motivation to avoid emotional stress related to psychological trauma.
Isolation of affect is a type of immature defense mechanism; Other important immature defense mechanisms are projection, identification, idealization, fixation, displacement, splitting, dissociation, rationalization, acting out, passive-aggressiveness, and denial. Immature psychological defense mechanisms are psychological processes that play an important role in suppressing emotional awareness and increase the risk of various medical conditions. These patients are more likely to lead unhealthy lifestyles and use food and drugs to cope with external stressors.
Isolation of affect is a defense mechanism in which the individual blocks out painful feelings by recalling a traumatic event without experiencing the emotion associated with it.
Example 1: A medical student dissects a cadaver without being disturbed by thoughts of death.
Example 2: A victim describes abuse in graphic detail with no emotional response.
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