Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
:
Login
Tip: You can request more content in your language…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Would you like more of PEP’s content in your own language? We encourage you to talk with your country’s Psychoanalytic Journals and tell them about PEP Web.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Trunnell, E.E. Holt, W.E. (1974). The Concept of Denial or Disavowal. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:769-784.

(1974). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:769-784

The Concept of Denial or Disavowal

Eugene E. Trunnell, M.D. and William E. Holt, M.D.

SUMMARY

We believe that much confusion and uncertainty about the concept of denial has resulted from an unrecognized semantic problem. The concept of denial or disavowal in the scientific sense is quite different from the vernacular meaning of the word. Moreover, the term denial has been applied to defensive operations that differ markedly from the mechanism of defense for which Freud introduced the term. Denial or disavowal as he described it is not necessarily a primitive defense mechanism. It involves the complex activity of an ego that has undergone considerable development. Perception is accurate and unimpaired, but there is defensive failure to appreciate fully the implications of that perception.

The use of denial or disavowal in some situations may be—temporarily at least—adaptive. We have described some of the sources of pathology associated with denial.

Some future confusion might be avoided if the term "disavowal" were reserved for the defensive operation described by Freud and if "denial" were reserved for the other phenomena which are closer to the dictionary meaning of the word.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.