Introducing Why Do I Do That?One of the primary reasons Intro to Psychology classes are so popular in college is because students are trying to figure themselves out. They believe that by taking the class, they might be able to shed some insight into their own behaviors and emotions.

Unfortunately, most Intro to Psych classes cover such a wide breadth of material, they’re practically useless in answering this question.

But many people gain a spark during those classes, and go on to do more research into their own psyche, habits, and underlying motivations.

A big part of how we act and react in our world is captured in the psychodynamic theory of defense mechanisms. Now there’s a new book to help you better understand these mechanisms, by our own blogger Joseph Burgo, Ph.D., called Why Do I Do That?

Some of the questions the book intends to help you answer include:

  • What are psychological defense mechanisms and why do we rely on them?

  • How can I recognize my own psychological defenses at work?
  • What are the benefits of disarming those defenses and moving beyond them?

As the description of the book says:

Why Do I Do That? adapts the basic strategies of psychodynamic psychotherapy to a guided course in self-exploration, highlighting the universal role of defense mechanisms in warding off emotional pain. Psychological defenses are an inevitable and necessary part of the human experience. But when they become too pervasive or deeply entrenched, they may [cause us problems].

How could they cause us problems? By damaging our personal relationships, for instance. They can also cause problems by restricting or distorting our emotional lives, according to Dr. Burgo. And they may prevent us from behaving in ways that promote lasting self-esteem, he notes.

One of the reviewers, Ann O. Glasser, Ph.D., said:

Dr. Burgo has a talent for taking difficult concepts usually expressed in the scientific vocabulary of his profession and putting them into everyday language. A valuable resource for anyone interested in psychodynamic psychotherapy but who may not be able to afford treatment.

Interested in the book? We encourage you to check it out on

You can also keep up with Dr. Burgo’s musings over at his blog, Therapy Case Notes.



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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Oct 2012
    Published on All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2012). Introducing Why Do I Do That?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from


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