Here is a quick bit of food for thought: our defenses all have to work unconsciously. Our psychological defenses protect us from thoughts or feelings, or being aware of things that might be very troublesome for us. In order to do so, the mind decides to trick itself. Obviously, the only way that would work is to keep the ‘trick’ an unconscious process. Thus, when we project our feelings (attribute them to some one else, and disavow them in ourselves), or when we deny an issue or use a counter-phobic defense (for example deciding something is thrilling rather than terrifying in order to manage our feelings) – these processes have to be done unconsciously – or they would not work.