Unlike suppression when a person is intentionally withholding an idea or a feeling from conscious awareness, repression is a completely involuntary and unconscious process.
Repression is a type of immature defense mechanism; Other important immature defense mechanisms are projection, isolation of affect, 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.
Memories of traumatic experiences are likely to become unavailable to conscious awareness, even while continuing to exist at an unconscious level.
Example 1: A child suffers abuse by a parent, unconsciously represses the memories, and becomes completely unaware of them as an adult.
Example 2: A 32-year-old man does not remember going to counseling during his parents’ divorce a few years earlier.
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