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Denial
Denial

Nature never deceives us; we deceive ourselves.

—Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1764/1911, p. 166

Counselors must continually be alert to challenges presented by clients' use of denial and related mechanisms of defense. Individuals employ denial by distorting perceptions in response to threat, and numerous examples of the defense in counseling may be cited. In one instance, a client insists that she is not using drugs when the counselor is aware of the person's continuing chemical abuse. Another client denies the urgency of making up incomplete assignments, while reporting that his academic performance is improving. Yet another person is noncompliant with her medication for a life-threatening condition and states, “I'm doing much better, and I really don't need the treatment anymore.” The counselor may be placed in the ...

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