Headline December9,2012


Denial is taken as a hurdle over which we must jump, a barrier in the path of recovery.''If denial has not been bridged, people think they have somehow failed,'' said Jessica Corner, Director for Cancer and Palliative Care Studies at the Institute of Cancer Research at the Royal Marsden Hospital.
At its worst denial is a controlling mechanism which posts one version of reality as a superior to another. When Kearney asserted that one in 3 Americans either had a drinking problem or is affected by one, and that they are in denial, how is he to be disproven?

To accuse someone of being in denial is to set an account that is impossible to refute.
Modern critics of Freud, such as Richard Webster, author of ''Why Freud was wrong: Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis'',say that Freud used denial as a theoretical prove-all.According to Freud, denial was a evidence of repression, which was in itself pathological. He told the patients what he was going to find, when they replied with resistance, he told them they were in denial.

According to Dr Steven Greer, a consultant psychiatrist some years ago at the Royal Marsden Hospital, denial is not only a natural coping mechanism, it is a reaction that can vastly increase the chances of surviving a serious illness. In 1972, Dr Greer followed 62 women who were in the early stages of breast cancer. The psychological responses of the women were grouped in five categories; denial and avoidance; fighting spirit; stoic acceptance; helplessness and hopelessness; and anxious preoccupation.

When fighting spirit and denial were combined, 45 per cent of those patients were alive and well after a fifteen-year-follow-up, unlike 17 per cent of those in the other categories.
To some, lauding denial's role as a coping mechanism is still missing the point. ''That does not answer the question, ' Does denial contribute to happiness?'' said Professor Steinberg who was a visiting research fellow at psychology at Middlesex University. ''Digging up difficult memories is its by nature unpleasant, but I think it is only going to re-affirm the bad experience. A psychoanalyst would not agree, of course, and would argue that working through the memory is the only way you can lay the ghost. This is a very contentious issue. You cannot really do any controlled experiments. But surely it must be be better to get on with life than look back?''

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