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Why Do I Do That?: Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives [Paperback]

Joseph Burgo Ph.D.
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Oct 2012
Why Do I Do That? adapts the basic strategies of psychodynamic psychotherapy to a guided course in self-exploration, highlighting the universal role of defense mechanisms in warding off emotional pain. With easy-to-understand explanations, the first part teaches you about the unconscious mind and the role of psychological defenses in excluding difficult feelings from awareness. Individual chapters in the longer middle section explore the primary defense mechanisms one by one, with exercises to help you identify your own defenses at work. The final part offers guidance for how to "disarm" your defenses and cope more effectively with the unconscious feelings behind them. Psychological defense mechanisms are an inevitable and necessary part of the human experience; but when they become too pervasive or deeply entrenched, they may damage our personal relationships, restrict or distort our emotional lives and prevent us from behaving in ways that promote lasting self-esteem.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: New Rise Press (26 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988443120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988443129
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Joseph Burgo, Ph.D. has practiced psychotherapy for more than 30 years, holding licenses as a marriage and family therapist and clinical psychologist. He earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA and his masters and doctorate at California Graduate Institute in Los Angeles. He is also a graduate psychoanalyst and has served as a board member, officer and instructor at a component society of the International Psychoanalytic Association. He currently writes the popular blog "After Psychotherapy" where he discusses personal growth issues from a psychodynamic perspective.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for those in the mire of self help. 24 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was surprised to see I have not yet written a review of this book. I have read it three times. It is a clear and enlightening book that does not promise instant relief, overnight success or absolution. It is a book that allows us to understand the underlying mechanics of why we behave out of defence, avoidance and self perpetuated resistance. I have a vast library of self help material, after having a major breakdown in my work and love life I amassed all sorts of literature. All of these books seek to bring you to an end defined by the path of their choice. Josephs book came late in the game. While I was searching embarrassment and shame as major sticking points in my progress, I came across his web presence. He runs a website called After Psychology that I highly recommend with posts and blogs by the author and the ability for the readership to comment. It was here I started to see real, helpful objective material, and ultimately found out about his writing. Josephs work is based in the field of psycho-dynamic psychotherapy. He has a lifetime of experience working as a counsellor and receiving counselling himself. It shows, as he does have things covered from many angles with great empathy. This stuff does not pull punches, and in some senses you must be ready to see your faults for what they are. Many counsellors/therapists do not have the grounding to work in this field because it is sobering, sometimes painfully revealing to the ego that wants to run and hide. What he gives us is a systematic, thorough and easy to understand method for observing our behaviour and informing ourselves based on these observations such that as we learn and progress our path is gently corrected and self-monitored. Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 15 Dec 2012
Far better than a "normal" self help book. This one helps the reader understand what is going on in a readable and simple manner about the complexities inside ourselves hence making real change more possible.
As a therapist I would advocate talking to someone, but this book is a fabulous start to aid self understanding .
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, straightforward yet not simplistic 30 Mar 2013
By byzanne
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What I most liked about this book was the author's honesty that change is difficult and perfect happiness is unattainable. No empty promises here. At times I thought "well, why bother understanding my defences and do all these exercises then?!" Yet he offers hope that self-understanding is possible and that it is worthwhile in its own right.

He explains clearly the difficult psychological concept of defence mechanisms and how they affect what we do and think. His open questions give the reader the opportunity to explore how and why they use different defence mechanisms to ward off pain. Understanding brings the possibility of gradual and sustained change and a capacity to bear the difficulties of life without being overwhelmed and to fully enjoy life's joys.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great book that will help you deal with any psychological issues you may have. It doesn't tackle one specific problem such as "dealing with anxiety" but gives guidelines on how to work with a multitude of problems: i.e. not being assertive enough, passive-aggressiveness, narcissism etc...

Its benefit is that rather than teaching you to live in a "happy ever after world" where anger, fear or sadness do not exist, it forces you to walk on a harder path that in my opinion, is a much more rewarding one: that of recognizing the multiple emotions that make us human and learning how to work with them.

I've read a few self-help books and I've learned to become skeptical of books that just offer to embrace the "good" in us - i.e. loving kindness, compassion etc... - and ward off all other more painful emotions such as anger. Humans are complex beings expressing a variety of emotions, some more pleasant than others. For me, it's better to accept that rather than lie to myself. It can be much more difficult to accept, but if you're strong enough, the work will bear its fruits.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Resource 9 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't usually write reviews for the books I buy from Amazon, but for this one- I had to. This one stands out.
'Why do I do that?' actually affords you great insight into your own behaviour via its unconscious underpinnings- this is the kind of insight that would usually cost you seventy pounds per hour (at least). This is unusual and incredibly refreshing in its style, it does not follow the usual self-help format (for which I personally am very grateful!).

I genuinely understand myself and even the other people around me, so much better because of this book.
If you need expert help but can't quite afford psychotherapy or are on a long waiting list to receive it? Buy this book. This actually helps.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book from Burgo 31 Dec 2013
By LJK83
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love Dr Burgo's blog and enjoyed his other book 'Cinderella'. I have re-read this book a few times and refer back to it regularly. It is easy to read and holds many insights that aren't available in other 'self-help' books.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in understanding themselves and those they interact with a bit better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and a brilliant read 1 July 2014
By Fateha
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is brilliant. It's very insightful and the author really knows what he is talking about. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book. The best read in a long time
Brilliant book. The best read in a long time. Well explained and offers a lot of explanations to how we behave and why.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars REALLY USEFUL
If you want to understand yourself better, then this is a must. Helped me realise we are all very similar in our behaviour and thoughts.
Published 5 months ago by jennifer yates
5.0 out of 5 stars Why?
Why did I fall for that person, how did I end up here ...and many more internal questions. This illuminating and concise book will help you find out, it's well worth a read.
Published 6 months ago by Mike Alexander
5.0 out of 5 stars Know thyself ...
Self insight, as opposed to gratuitous navel-gazing, is an important part of being an adult. Reading through this more than once of though 'oh crap ...' as yes, I did that before. Read more
Published 7 months ago by tychos
5.0 out of 5 stars Also good for Writers
I didn't buy this for myself, but I bought it to help in my personal writing. I had read that it might aid me in developing characters and it's very helpful. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amicgood
4.0 out of 5 stars makes you think
Good read. Bit assumptional, like religion, I suppose. But a good attempt to fathom out why and what we do.
Published 8 months ago by david kingsman
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and fascinating
It has certainly provided me with some answers about my own behaviour and that of my friends, family and students. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Vanessa Gent
4.0 out of 5 stars Mind over matter
Not quite finished reading this book yet. On my kindle so I do tend to flick from one book to another. Why do I do That????
So far so good
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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