By Dr. Perry, PhD
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” ~Hans Selye
Sublimation is a subconscious psychological defense mechanism whereby we take a negative impulse and channel it into a positive behavior. This is similar to displacement (click here to refer to my earlier post on displacement) but instead of taking a negative impulse, such as aggression towards one’s boss, and displacing that negative feeling onto an innocent third party such as your husband or wife, we take the initial socially unacceptable impulse and direct it towards a positive action. We seek a positive alternative form of fulfillment for the initial destructive urge. According to Freud, the strength of the negative urge would define the strength of the positive outcome.
Our initial impulses can be subconsciously directed into a number of different areas. Here are some ways that we can engage in sublimation.
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