When the patient is in the detached protector mode, the patient seems relatively mature and calm. A therapist could assume the patient is doing well. In fact, the patient uses this protective mode in order to avoid experiencing or revealing her feelings of fear (abandoned child), inferiority (punishing parent) or anger (impulsive child). Underlying assumptions that play important roles here are those of: it is dangerous to show your feelings and/or desires and to express your opinion. The patient fears losing control of her feelings. She attempts to protect herself from the alleged abuse or abandonment. This becomes particularly evident as she becomes attached to others. The protector keeps other people at a distance either by not engaging in contact or by pushing them away. Should others discover her weaknesses, the patient would face potential humiliation, punishment and/or abandonment. Therefore, for her it is better to not feel anything at all and keep others from getting too close to her.
Sample dialogue with a patient in the protector mode
(In this example and following dialogues, ‘ t' is therapist and ‘p' is patient.)
t : How are you doing?
p : (with no emotion) Good.
t : How was your week, did anything happen that you would like to talk about?
p : (looks away and yawns) No, not really.