Psychological projection | Types, and treatment

Psychological projection

Did you ever hear the term psychological projection?

Did you ever meet someone that keeps projecting his own flaws and insecurities on others to feel better?

Read along for more details about its causes, types, and methods of diagnosis.


Psychological projection meaning

Psychological projection is a psychological defense mechanism; a person uses to project negative feelings and bad qualities on another person.


Psychological projection in psychology

It is sometimes called, the “Freudian projection” as it was discovered in 1895 by the Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud, known as the father of psychoanalysis.

He noticed during sessions with patients; that they projected their negative feelings on those around them and accused others of them.

It hence made the patients more able to deal with their feelings.


What causes psychological projection?

The person unconsciously practices projection to protect his ego from negative feelings and thoughts.

It is classified as a type of self-defense; projecting bad behavior and faults protects you from acknowledging their presence in your personality.

This projection gives a person a sense of relief when they discover the faults of others rather than their own.


Who uses psychological projection?

who uses psychological projection

A person who believes he knows himself well but actually doesn’t.

As well as those who suffer low self-esteem, and cast a feeling of inferiority on others.

But the exact opposite happens with people who accept their weaknesses and failures and who can accept their own flaws, advantages, and weaknesses.


Psychological projection and narcissism

A narcissistic character practices projection the most. 

The narcissist does not see his faults and often casts his flaws onto others, especially his partner.

He usually does this out of fear of separation and exclusion from others’ lives.


Types of psychological projection

Some people think that there is only one type of psychological projection, but this is not true. 

Actually, it has other types that are not negative, including:


Neurotic projection 

It is one of the most common types of self-defense by projecting negative feelings on others.

Complementary projection

It happens to a person when he thinks that others have the same opinion and point of view, for example, poisoning stray dogs.

Most people condemn this act, but some think it is better to walk the streets in peace and without fear.

Complimentary projection

This type is slightly different, and it is not as common as complementary.

A person thinks that all humans have the same skills and the ability to do anything he can do, for example, cooking.

Most think that preparing eggs is simple enough and everyone can do it when, actually, this is not true.

Reverse projection

It is similar to neurotic projection, but it differs in characteristics; A person projects his good qualities on others.

We see this clearly in cases of the victims’ tolerance of their aggressors.

They project their good qualities on their aggressors without seeing the extent of the psychological harm inflicted on them and are unconvinced of their bad personalities.



Psychological projection treatment

Unfortunately, in most cases, the person does not realize that he has a problem, and self-knowledge is the first step in treating the patient’s condition.

Noting that any excessive emotion or adherence to the opinion on his part should not be ignored, but rather the reason behind this understood.

Some steps can be applied, including:

  • Soul searching and finding the real cause for this behavior while discovering personal flaws and not blaming others for them.
  • A person should look for bad relationships in his life, whether at work, home, or with friends.
  • Self-discipline should be considered without being too harsh on oneself.
  •  Seek the help of those around you and ask them about their vision, and have the capacity to listen to their opinions, whatever they may be.
  • Hiring a psychiatrist can correct a person’s vision and help him repair his relationships with others.
  • It is not advisable to be harsh in dealing with others or blame them for personal problems, but rather, resolve them slowly and through fruitful discussion.


Normally, human nature protects itself from negative feelings and experiences.

However, when this turns into a repetitive psychological projection, we should stop and consider the reasons for this.

Treatment increases self-confidence and social acceptance and helps build good relations with others.


Psychological projection test

This test is a multi-axis diagnostic system; It reveals aspects of human personality through his responses to external and ambiguous stimuli.

Its application depends on; creativity, imagination, and the ability to express and encode.

It is possible to understand the personality and its characteristics by projecting internal attitudes, behavior patterns, and reactions to those stimuli.

This test depends on the presence of each of the following:

  1. Creative materials for drawing.
  2. Verbal stimulus, such as; words, or a nonverbal stimulus, such as inkblots (Rorschach test).
  3. Ways to complete, such as complete the sentences or the blank.
  4. Arrangement methods, such as: arranging pictures or shapes.
  5. Objects for self-expression using dolls or puppets.


But because of the ambiguity of the human personality and its extreme diversity and its influence by culture, morals, education, upbringing, and religious beliefs; Sometimes this test is not valid for evaluation.


Rorschach Test

It is one of the most important and most common psychological tests, especially for diagnosing patients with schizophrenia.

It reveals the way a person thinks, his memories, and his interactions with others.

The psychiatrist shows some cards with ink drawings and asks the patient what he sees in each one.

The doctor records the answer, then shows him all the cards again to see if his answer remains the same.


Finally, we are all human, so accept yourself and your personality with good and bad qualities.

Also, do not be hard on yourself or carry it beyond its capacity, and consider your relationships with others and always try to improve them.

Keep in mind that psychological projection can always be treated.


Read Also;

Anxiety disorders treatment | When will my mental storm calm down?

Types and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder 

Translated by
Dr. Basant Mohamed Atef

Translator. Dr. Basant Atef

I am a pharmacist with a Ph.D. in microbiology. Passionate about delivering medical sciences to others. I love explaining and researching medical information in both Arabic and English. It always bothered me that medical information in Arabic is so scarce, so I took it upon myself to help change that. So, I specialized in SEO medical content writing as well as medical translation. When I am not working on that, you’ll find me out exploring the world with my two wonderful boys.
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