Assignment 1: Discussion—Denial as a Defense Mechanism

Assignment 1: Discussion—Denial as a Defense Mechanism

Denial is one of the most challenging defense mechanisms used by individuals with addictions. This term has been familiar to the substance abuse treatment nomenclature for many decades. It applies when a substance abuser denies the existence or severity of his or her problem. Treatment for clients in denial is typically challenging. In these cases, the focus of intervention is on helping the client acknowledge the problem. The only way treatment will be successful is if the client recognizes the existence or extent of the substance abuse.

The contemporary perspective is that denial occurs in the “pre-contemplative” stage of the change process (Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992). The denial of clients in this stage is not confronted as it was in older forms of treatment. It is viewed as a necessary beginning on the journey to sobriety. Addressing the denial requires encouraging the client to identify the ill effects as well as the perceived benefits of his or her substance abuse. The client in this stage will attempt to work toward finding internal motivation to change based on the insight gained about the effects of his or her use pattern.

Use the module readings and the Argosy University online library resources to research denial used as a defense mechanism.

Download and review the case study.

Respond to the following:

  • 1. How is the use of denial by the substance-abusing client evident in the case
  • 2. What other ways might substance-abusing individuals display denial
  • 3. What approaches could you use to work with the client in the case study

Support your responses using your module readings and authoritative resources. Incorporate theory and factual information in your response.

Write your initial response in 2–3 paragraphs. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.



Hi, class


As you look at the issue of “denial”, remember that what we are talking about is an initial refusal to believe or self-examine.  Traditional wisdom was that the pain wasn’t enough, the person had not “hit bottom” and so had no motivation to change — yet.  I like to think that we can positively influence clients with our questions that help them clarify what it is they want, and what they don’t want — and help them sort short-term and long-term needs and wants.

Answer this thread by answering the questions.  This should run about 150 words, roughly. (Longer is OK, shorter is not.)  Cite and reference.

Solution Preview


Denial is the refusal to accept reality or fact, acting as if a painful event, thought or feeling did not exist. It is considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms because it is characteristic of early childhood development. Many people use denial in their everyday lives to avoid dealing with painful feelings or areas of their life they don’t wish to admit. For instance, a person who is a functioning alcoholic ………