Narrator: Now listen to part of a lecture in a Psychology class.
Professor: When people are in difficult situations,
sometimes they experience feelings of helplessness or psychological pain.
So what do they do?
They unconsciously use strategies called defense mechanisms to protect themselves psychologically from their painful emotions.
Uh, let's say a woman has a pet dog.
She's had this dog for a long time,
and he's kept her company and guarded her for years.
But one day he runs away.
This woman looks everywhere and asks other people if they've seen her dog, but she just can't find him.
Now she feels helpless and sad because she misses her dog,
so she'll unconsciously find ways to deal with her painful feelings.
One defense mechanism she might use is fantasy.
With fantasy, the woman uses her imagination.
So instead of just feeling helpless and sad about her lost dog,
she invents a happy story in her mind.
She might imagine that, uh, a nice family found him and feeds him,
and that he's really happy with them.
She'll picture the dog playing, running around, having fun.
Because of this fantasy, she doesn't have to feel sad about her dog running away.
It's a fantasy.
It's not real, but it keeps her pain away.
Another defense mechanism she might use is what we call sublimation.
Sublimation is different from fantasy because sublimation isn't about pretending.
It's about turning negative emotions into something useful, practical.
So the woman might start a dog-training school.
That way by training dogs,
perhaps she can help prevent other people's dogs from running away like hers did.
In other words, with sublimation as a defense mechanism,
the woman redirects her negative feelings about losing her dog into a positive, constructive activity.