This week we address another topic that is likely to show up on any one of the licensing exams you are preparing for, whether you're getting ready to take the LCSW, LMSW, or BSW exam: Defense Mechanisms. In each of our exam preparation programs, Amanda Rowan does an excellent job of teaching you how to distinguish between the defense mechanisms and apply the knowledge to exam questions. Here is one such question:
A 16-year-old male is suspended after repeated offenses of bullying a classmate. While meeting with the principal the student states, "EVERYONE makes fun of that kid! You just don't see it!" What defense mechanism is the client using?
The correct answer is B, Rationalization. Sublimation occurs when an individual changes socially unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable behaviors. In a situation like this, sublimation may look like the 16-year-old male channelling his need for power into the role of “protector” and standing up for students who are picked on. Internalization would occur if the 16-year-old male had seen his parents or an older sibling engaging in bullying behavior and took that on as a part of himself and his identity. Denial would involve him denying engaging in the behavior at all, saying something like “I never bullied him!”
The 16-year-old is engaging in rationalization by making an otherwise unacceptable behavior justified by applying logic or reason (in this case, the idea that “everyone else is doing it”) to the behavior.
Trying to learn and apply all of the defense mechanisms can feel overwhelming. We recommend trying to think of personal or client examples for each of them to help make them stick better in your mind. What have you done to learn all of the defense mechanisms? Comment below with what has worked for you!
Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.
We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!