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Symbolization

 

Explanations > Behaviors > Coping > Symbolization

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

  

Description

Symbolization is a way of handling inner conflicts by turning them into distinct symbols.

Symbols are often physical items, although there may also be symbolic acts and metaphoric ideas.

Example

A soldier explains his decision to join the army as 'defending the flag'.

A man asks for the woman's hand, symbolizing the 'hand in marriage'.

Discussion

Symbols are often displacements of deeper desires, where the person has turned an unwanted or stressful thought into a concrete or metaphoric thing.

Dreams are highly symbolic, and Freud made significant efforts to interpret them, believing that understanding the symbols would lead him and his patients to uncover the original root causes of their problems.

So what?

People leave streams of symbols through their lives, from the furniture in their houses to the minutiae of the words that they use and the actions they perform. If you can read these, you can learn a great deal about what is in their subconscious mind - and perhaps surprise them with how well you understand them.

See also

Displacement, Intellectualization, Rationalization

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