chapter  1
49 Pages

Defences that follow loss

Causation and function

This chapter examines some main features in the general theory of defence, including the phenomena to which it is habitually applied and the way in which the problems of the causation and function of defence are usually approached. It focuses on the particular problems presented by the tendency for defensive processes to be evoked after a loss has been suffered. The principal reason for thinking so is that the theory of primary repression fits far better than does that of secondary repression the evidence regarding the phase of ontogeny during which pathological defences are most apt to occur. The essential effect of defences that follow loss, it is argued, is to segregate one motivational system from another. The means whereby this is achieved, it is postulated, is the elaborate system of selective exclusion which is one of the major activities of the Central Nervous System.