Understanding the Unconscious

The unconscious is where most of the work of the mind gets done; it's the repository of automatic skills (such as riding a bike), the source of intuition and dreams, the engine of much information processing. Fleeting perceptions register in the unconscious mind long before we may be aware of them.

The unconscious mind is not some black hole of unacceptable impulses waiting to trip you up, but it can be the source of hidden beliefs, fears, and attitudes that interfere with everyday life. Most forms of psychotherapy aim to bring into conscious awareness many of these hidden hindrances, so that we can examine them and choose how to deal with them.

Recent Posts on Unconscious

Why Vulnerability Takes Courage

Being vulnerable can be terrifying, but when we find the courage to step out on stage, we have the opportunity to reveal our deepest secret, which is often ourselves.

The Psychology of Repression

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 02, 2015 in A Sideways View
Repression is a well known Freudian concept, written about by both Sigmund and daughter Anna. The central question is how and why this process occurs and whether it is essentially healthy or unhealthy?

Can Subliminal Messages Create Feelings of Love and Lust?

Can a sexy picture in the background or a well-chosen romantic word, trigger automatic feelings of love and desire? Could the right situation or association make you seem more attractive, sexy, or alluring to a potential lover? See what the research has to say here...

The Avatar Theory of Consciousness

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 27, 2015 in Memory Medic
Evolution made us smart enough to be effective killers and hopefully wise enough to be more humane.

Behavioral Economics—An Exercise in Design and Humility

By Alain Samson Ph.D. on June 23, 2015 in Consumed
What's the state of your bad decision making? Read Dan Ariely's exclusive take on irrationality and its consequences.

Are You Using Your Anger—or Is It Using You?

Anger can help us stand up for ourselves or give us the momentum to make the changes we need to make. But when anger is a constant state—either in a society or a person—it’s rarely useful and usually destructive.

How to Get Unstuck

Have you ever felt stymied? Stuck in the mud on a problem or when you're trying to be creative? Here are some ideas to get you moving out of the muck and back on track.

Owning Our Psychological Dark Matter

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 14, 2015 in Ambigamy
When we divvy responsibility for problems, we tend to take responsibility for consciously but not unconsciously motivated error, which can cause additional problems.

Nothing as It Seems but That Which Lies Beneath

And then we came to discover we are not the masters of our own houses

The Truth About Trying to Do It All (Simultaneously)

Have you ever been so consumed with what happened at work that you find yourself in your driveway with no real recollection of how you got there? What price are we paying for a life on autopilot?

Beyond Bread and Butter

Progressive political activists are too fixated on economic inequality and justice, reflecting a narrow and incorrect view of what people really need.

Synchronicity Can Signal Love Moments or Breakthroughs

Creating the environment that allows for you to aware of how synchronicity and its cousin, serendipity, can enrich your life.

Speed: Scientific Self-Correction versus Plate Tectonics

By Lee Jussim Ph.D. on May 15, 2015 in Rabble Rouser
If psychological science is self-correcting, it is very very very hard to detect.

My Design Psychology Career: 'Art + Science' = True Love

By Toby Israel Ph.D. on May 14, 2015 in Design on My Mind
Sculpting beautiful, profoundly meaningful places that allow us to transcend

It Is All in the Eyes

What is the difference between a blink and a wink?

The Thinking Trap

People believe their own thoughts despite the fact that much psychological science shows this is an illusion........

12 Ways Eye Movements Give Away Your Secrets

Eye movements unconsciously give away your secret personal information.

Discipline, Nurturance, or Living Example: What Works Best?

Discipline is pointing the way. Living example displays the message in vibrant color impacting a child even more than words.

Geography of Aging and the Illusion of Self

By Mario D Garrett PhD on May 04, 2015 in iAge
There is no "me". My body is a fusion of the outside world and an internal reality. The distinction between me and them is purely a creation of my mind. The separation comes as an afterthought. My mind creates this dualism, but in reality my body is fused with the geography and behavior of others around. The sense of self is how the body placates me.

Beyond the Divided Self: Why Mental Conflict Is Normal

Although inner conflict has traditionally been pathologized, the diametric model shows it to be normal.

Addiction: A Systems Perspective

By Dan Mager MSW on April 21, 2015 in Some Assembly Required
The dynamics of systems theory and neuroplasticity can provide valuable windows through which we can better understand the respective processes that contribute to addiction and recovery.

A Dream of Decapitation

By Robert J Landy Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Couch and Stage
Two drama therapists discuss a dream about a beheading and an attempt to restore life. In doing so, they recount two mythological stories, one about the Golem of Prague and the other about a simple journey home. Through their dialogue they seek to understand the meaning of healing.

Subliminal Messages Can Fortify Inner Strength

Subliminal messages have the power to fortify your inner strength and self-confidence on and off the court.

Remembering the Holocaust: A Psychoanalytic Moment

By Claudia M Gold M.D. on April 16, 2015 in Child in Mind
Much has been written about the Holocaust and intergenerational transmission of trauma. This clinical vignette offers insight in to the workings of the unconscious and how the process of analysis can bring these issues to light.

Wired for Perfect Health

Your unconscious mind knows exactly what you need to be healthy. So why aren’t you?

It Is Good to Smell You Again, My Friend

By Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. on April 14, 2015 in Am I Right?
What sniffing dogs have to teach us about friendship.

Loving the Process Means Everything for Creativity

By Gregory Ciotti on April 13, 2015 in Habits, Not Hacks
Artists must enjoy the process of creation for its own sake.

Confront Your Nightmares with Lucid Dreaming

By Michelle Carr on April 08, 2015 in Dream Factory
Lucid dreaming is the process of becoming aware in a dream. Once lucid within a nightmare you realize that there is no real danger, so you can choose to safely confront your fears.

The Zen of Love

What propels a person to leave the beaten path and try something new? We seem to be predetermined by our early experiences, especially when it comes to abuse and neglect. Yet, some people free themselves of their conditioning and leap into something they have never encountered: love. Little do we comprehend when it comes to leaps, but what we know may just be a good start.

The Art of Breaking Up

An example of how to apply creative thinking to breaking up with someone