Freud believed that individuals used psychological informed projection to help protect themselves from a perceived threat. He thought an individual might also use psychological projection to reduce anxiety and avoid conflict if possible. Freud thought an individual might also use projection as a defense to reduce the impact of a threatening experience (whether internal or external) by moving it from the conscious to the unconscious realm.
Freud also applied this concept to situations involving paranoia and phobias. He thought that a phobia might then be projected onto something external that is real. Once this psychological informed projection has occurred, the threat might be more easily managed. He thought that projection influenced the way everybody constructs their inner and outer world. In therapy today, projection is used as a general term to describe any externalized feelings placed upon another individual.
A couple might have issues from psychological projection that result in one or both partners projecting certain aspects of themselves onto the other partner. Because of this common situation, couple's therapy often includes helping partners learn to withdraw their projections. One partner can project their aggression, or lack of control, onto the other partner. For example, someone may project their dependency and needs onto their partner, who they then criticize for being needy or too dependent. This projection then allows the individual to distance themselves from their neediness and dependency on their partner.
Projection on social media allows for greater exploration and expression than individuals can show in person. The freedom of the internet allows an individual to externalize feelings in a safer setting. For example, a person who identified as LGBT living in a place where LGBT must be hidden may be able to express their internal identity on the internet.
Another form of projection is projective identification. This refers to the unconscious idea of different parts of the self, including experiences, feelings, and functions, into and onto another person. The individual experiences projection by viewing another person in distorted ways. Furthermore, the individual also exerts pressure so that the subject begins to experience and view themselves under the client's unconscious expectations. This projection is very harmful to the individual and the person that is being projected upon.
Like projection, projective identification is also an unconscious process. Ideally, it can be handled in a healthy way in which the individual realizes their projection, and the subject can reject the fantasy.
In the case of therapy, the unconscious wish is that the therapist will be able to deal with the projection better than the individual and that a new coping skill can then be used by the individual.
"Glenda Velez makes me feel as if she's really hearing me, and helps me clarify my feelings more than I've done in "face to face" situations because I don't feel as if I need to "act" a certain way. I think she's doing an excellent job of enticing me out of my ego and shell. And I'm grateful for that."
"Chris was an excellent counselor who helped guide me through some pretty big life decisions, including but not limited to, making a serious career transition, salvaging friendships, and relationship matters. I highly recommend him as a counselor. He was open, friendly, professional, and relatable."
You may have experienced projection in your life, with yourself or others. BetterHelp can help you identify it, and figure out how to manage it. If you're interested in learning more of its impact on your life, counseling, and coping skills, you can speak with a therapist at BetterHelp today.
Online therapy options are emerging now more than ever as effective, viable alternatives to in-person therapy. In fact, internet-based therapies, like those offered by BetterHelp, have been found to be just as effective in treating a broad range of mental health issues as face-to-face therapy. They have participated in all kinds of supervisory activities, including parallel processing, to serve you better, no matter what issue you are struggling with. Therapy is a personal decision, and so is the therapist you choose. Select the right therapist for you-BetterHelp has more than 17,000 to choose from.
Projection from either side is a tough issue, but a therapist can set you on the right path. Help is right around the corner. Take the first step today.
Projection is a powerful processes that occur in families, couples, and groups as well as between a patient and a therapist. Eventually, over time, the therapist helps the individual withdraw their projections and own more of them. An article published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology noted that biweekly sessions of transference-focused therapy resulted in clinical improvement among patients.
If you are struggling with psychologically informed projection or you are in acquaintance with someone who is, BetterHelp can help. BetterHelp offers secure and affordable therapy that can be done anywhere with an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you are not certain about face-to-face therapy, online therapy may be a great option to start with.