Defense mechanisms are used by all human beings and may be necessary for survival in some situations.
We've all used defenses to distance ourselves from distressing feelings and maintain a sense of emotional stability. Our defense patterns began in childhood when they prevented us from becoming overwhelmed with anxiety. However, as an adult we outgrow their usefulness. If we continue to use outgrown defenses we are more likely to create rigid constrained relationships and risk never truly encountering another human being.
Part of therapy is identifying our defenses. If we can discover which defenses we use, we can replace outgrown ones with more healthy ones. Defenses are not conscious excuses to avoid problems. Actually, we are usually unaware we are using them.
Counseling can be helpful in uncovering our most used defenses, and help us learn new ways of defending and coping in life.