The power of denial

By | November 28, 2015

Patrick Mahony


The power of denial when it comes to psychoanalysis is something that can lengthen the period of time it takes to discover what’s behind the protective wall that a patient has put up between them and their analyst.

However, noted psychoanalyst Patrick Mahony has discovered that it was Sigmund Freud himself that sometimes embraced the idea of denial when it came to jotting down his thoughts on patients. What developed as a result was a more fanciful interpretation that did more to enhance the reputation of Freud by offering a form-fitting explanation of his previously held constructs.

Such an approach is not something that aided the development of psychoanalysis, since the potency of denial is something that can simply keep pain at a distance. Still, the byproduct of such actions, according to Patrick Mahony, is something could serve as a more devastating precursor to even greater pain. The metaphor of a ticking time bomb would likely be the most apt description when attempting to offer a more vivid interprestation of this situation.

Patrick Mahony explored the case of Freud’s patient, Ida Bauer, who would be more famously known as simply Dora. Her father’s seeming denial as it related to her questionable relationship with an older man, resulted in health issues for Dora that went unexplained. Mahony notes how Freud resorted to using Dora’s dreams as a way to determine exactly what actually took place, since the ever-present specter of denial was blocking the ultimate determinant.