Strike defences

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I recently came across this post I wrote in March 2016 amidst the height of the Junior Doctor Contract Dispute in the UK... I thought it might warrant a re-airing..

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As a Medical Psychotherapy registrar I have been thinking a lot lately about how we have been feeling about the strikes - and the psychological defence mechanisms that we use to deal with difficult emotions.

I think I speak for many when I say: as a junior doctor lately I have felt anxiety, fear, uncertainty, frustration, anger and many other difficult emotions.

 

There are the more 'healthy' defence mechanisms:

Humour: how many comical posts have I read, song parodies, cartoons?... How I've loved those punctuated moments of lightness...

Altruism: the life-saving events on the picket line, the crowd-sourced funds appearing for those in financial hardship...

Suppression: I'll think about it later, for now I'll put on my badge, be polite and engage the public...

Anticipation: the planning for alternative careers, or moves to another country should imposition continue...

Sublimation: I think I'll take out my anger by pounding the streets as I go for a run... or maybe I'll channel that frustration into a strongly worded letter to my MP...

 

Then there are the slightly more neurotic defence mechanisms:

Intellectualisation: I think I'll write a post about the psychological defence mechanisms at play here...

Rationalisation: of course I'm angry I'm being treated like a child!..

Projection: the government are scared and don't know what they are doing...

Displacement: if only my partner were more supportive I'd feel better... This computer is not listening to me!...

Denial: this doesn't really affect me...

Repression: well, this one is truly unconscious, so try some therapy and you may find out you're doing it?..

Reaction formation: I'll be super kind to my MP and the government and my work colleagues and then they'll listen to me... Maybe I'll bake them some cakes...

 

And then there are the more psychotic defence mechanisms:

Splitting: the government is all bad, junior doctors are all good...

Omnipotence: of course the public should trust us, we are doctors, doctor-ness is next to godliness don't you know?...

Grandiosity: I might get to go on TV!!.. I think I was born to wear a hi-vis orange jacket and lead my people to victory... the NHS will fall apart without me...

Acting-out: I'll just resign - that'll show 'em!.. Or maybe I'll just turn up a bit late to work tomorrow...

 

Just some random musings from a typically healthy/neurotic/psychotic junior doctor x

 

 

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