Chapter 1: Introduction Next Chapter

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The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.

—Thomas Carlyle, 1841/1993, p. 41

Perhaps one of the clearest examples of defense mechanisms in counseling occurs with persons who deny or rationalize their chemical dependency despite obvious and urgent conflicts. In counseling, a client may state, “I don't have any problems controlling my drinking” but is in treatment for multiple infractions for driving while intoxicated. Another individual who states that he has been free of substances during the week appears to be high from smoking marijuana on meeting with a counselor. Yet another client, recognizing that she has problems with controlling her use of alcohol, employs rationalization as a defense to justify her habit: “Hey, anybody with all my troubles needs a ...

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