Externalization is a term used is psychoanalytic theory which describes the tendency to project one's internal states onto the outside world. It is generally regarded as an unconscious defense mechanism, thus the person is unaware they are doing it. Externalization takes on a different meaning in narrative therapy, where the client is encouraged to externalize a problem in order to gain a new perspective on it.
In Freudian psychology, externalization (or externalisation) is a defense mechanism by which an individual projects their own internal characteristics onto the outside world, particularly onto other people. For example, a patient who is overly argumentative might instead perceive others as argumentative and themselves as blameless.
Like other defense mechanisms, externalization can be a protection against anxiety and is, therefore, part of a healthy, normally functioning mind. However, if taken to excess, it can lead to the development o