Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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Rationalization
Rationalization is a word used to describe the false explanations we give to others for our behaviour because they conform to acceptable social standards for attitudes, actions, feelings, ideas etc. - standards which our actual motives involved may not conform to.


Rationalization can be conscious, for example when one is trying to look a certain way to others and editing one's motivations towards that end. However, it often works on an unconscious level; for instance, if one is trying to avoid feeling guilt about an action taken, one might rationalize the guilt away by clinging to the idea that the consequences of that action would have happened anyway.

This term was proposed by Freud’s first English translator, Ernest Jones, in his article "Rationalisation in Everyday Life" (1908).
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