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Life is full of conflicts and pain. One needs to devise a strategy to cope with the uncertainty that life has to offer. Processing conflict and pain is mostly subconscious. Sigmund Freud realized that the ego defends itself in a number of ways (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.). Psychoanalysts have divided the defense mechanisms into four categories, namely Pathological defenses, Immature defenses, Neurotic defenses and Mature defenses. Thus, defenses are classified because through the ego they help the body to deal with stressful stimuli that are a part of everyday life. Regression has been regarded a type three defense mechanism, particularly pathological defense. Regression occurs when stressful incentives affect the body and the ego moves back in psychological time. Case in point is a child who may begin to wet the bed again when influenced by stressful stimuli. Therefore, this regression should be a sign to the parents that the youngster is experiencing psychological stress and they should manage it accordingly. Hence, regression is a neurotic defense mechanism that is why realizing the stressful stimuli that cause it one can employ particular means to assist the affected individuals in coping with it.
Fixation and Regressive Behavior
The critical issues in this scenario are fixation and regressive behavior. According to Pedersen (2016), regression has been defined as a defense mechanism that is unconscious, and it may cause either long-term or temporary ego reversion. Besides, this kind of conduct can be attributed to several factors that include traumatic events, frustrations or even stress. Often people manifest retrogressive behavior as they communicate their distress. Fixation and reverting conduct is a defense mechanism used in coping with current stressors in human life. Most individuals usually resort to regression when they encounter an issue that is difficult to address or when they feel that they are not capable of arbitrating in any way (Nezhad & Vahedi, 2011). In case of Lieutenant Brown, the latter froze under pressure and was immobilized. Initially, she fulfilled her obligations properly until things started to get hectic and the woman was not in a position to find any solution as required by her superiors. Hence, this is because she could not bear the anxiety caused by the situation that she faced. To help Lieutenant Brown overcome fixation and regressive behavior it would be advisable to create awareness of the defense mechanism. Making Lieutenant Brown understand her defense mechanism and its ramifications will induce her to identify its onset; furthermore, she will be able to actively deal with it and handle stressful stimuli in a much better manner.
Similarly, she would need therapeutic assistance from a healthcare practitioner who can perform the conscious intervention in a plan executed through effective questioning among other efficient methods. The person-centered approach would aid Lieutenant Brown in developing resilience and great adaptive strengths (Pedersen, 2016). However, the therapist should err on the side of caution with regard to the words used during the therapeutic sessions to avoid a situation when the person being interviewed forms false memories. Additionally, close-ended questions tend to implant false memories, and this is a risk that should be avoided. The benefit of therapeutic assistance is that the individual who employs regression as a defense mechanism will be in a better position to deal with the stress of life and handle it maturely rather than going back in psychological time.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to provide professional assistance to Sylvia in order to help her identify the cause of fixation and regressive behavior. The professional counseling will further contribute to her consciousness of herself as well as prevent occurrence of such a kind of conduct.
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Supervisory Problem: The Frustrated Employee
Any form of conflict in the workplace dramatically interferes with doing the job as required. In this scenario, Captain Watts undertakes the initiative of resolving the stalemate with Lieutenant Brown; that is why he calls her for a meeting in his office. Hence, Captain prevents any further destructive disagreement to recur in the duty station. In this instance, Lieutenant Brown is a frustrated employee that wants to embark on work whereas Captain Watts thinks and believes that she needs more rest to be fit to perform well and produce necessary results. Therefore, this kind of conflict has created uncertainty between them as well as with his superiors.
Captain has created a relatively conducive and private environment to talk with Lieutenant Brown who has not taken frustration to the level of jeopardizing her position. In this situation, Lieutenant Brown is adamant with regard to having more days to rest for recovering and is determined to immediately resume fulfillment of her duties. By meeting with Lieutenant Brown personally, Captain Watts attempts to discover what the problem is and how to tackle it. Captain was not aware that Lieutenant Brown had such an issue in her life since she is known to be very hardworking and loyal to the organization. First and foremost, as illustrated by Captain Watts, he took time to listen to Lieutenant Brown and opened a line of communication to help in turning the existing situation back to normal.
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The key issue was that Lieutenant Brown froze under pressure. Hence, such an act was prompted by external stimuli in the form of additional workload that she was not used to handling; hectic conditions made her regress. The ramifications of the identified root cause, namely a hectic change of pace that induced her to freeze would be drastic. Since she is involved in law enforcement, in a scenario where she goes to the war leading her platoon and freezes under pressure, such a behavior of Lieutenant may result in the loss of lives of her men. Moreover, Captain Watts should be more determined in his decision and prevent his employees from acting in their own way, which does not directly conform to the established rules, as this would contribute to making him a better leader.
Objective of Professional Counseling
Professional counseling has a primary purpose of empowering the clients so that they could face their situations adequately thereby reducing stress. Additionally, counseling can help them to reach rational decisions (Iannone, Iannonne, & Bernstein, 2013). In this case, Lieutenant Brown should have sought professional counseling on the issue at hand. Hence, this is based on the fact that Major has given instructions to suspend Lieutenant and reassign her to administrative duties.
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The cause of the presented problem is that Major will do anything in his power to prevent Brown from commanding the platoon, who may have lost confidence in her. Major is not primarily concerned for her well-being but he is focused on ensuring that there are no scandals that can impede his promotion. Nevertheless, this change will considerably affect Lieutenant because it may be considered a demotion. Professional counseling would substantially help her in the transition without irreparably damaging her low self-esteem (Iannone, Iannonne, & Bernstein, 2013). In addition, professional counseling would be beneficial for Lieutenant because she is hurt, feels frustrated and overwhelmed by the sudden changes in her position as a lieutenant leading a large group. She may experience some intrapersonal difficulties as well as anxiety and depression that may result in poor performance of her new role. Therefore, professional counseling would be useful because the therapist understands what Lieutenant encounters, and there is the likelihood that the consultant has dealt with this type of defense mechanism before. Thus, the counselor will be capable of assisting Lieutenant Brown in better management of her regressive defense mechanism.
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In summary, regression is a defense mechanism that is activated when people undergo stress or are in a position that cannot be resolved in an arbitrary manner. By understanding regression and the stimuli that cause it, one can help the affected individuals overcome it. Therefore, those who resort to regression as a defense mechanism are encouraged to first acknowledge it, then learn about its stressors and eventually find the way to deal with it. One of the solutions employed should be objective professional counseling to aid the person who uses regression as a defense mechanism to handle stressful incentives more effectively.
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