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

Can Our Brains Work On Autopilot?

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
DESIGN PSYCHOLOGY offers a better way to finally bridge the gap between 'human factors' THINKING and design PRACTICE.

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.

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.

Feeling Grateful and 'Paying it Forward'

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Media Spotlight
According to the "find, remind, and bind" theory of gratitude first proposed by psychologist Sara B. Algoe, gratitude plays a role in cementing the social bonds we have with other people. A new research study published in the journal Emotion suggests that grateful are more likely to copy body movements of those who help them which can help cement new relationships.

When a Sociopath Is Hell Bent on Destroying You

By Carrie Barron M.D. on April 13, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Sociopaths (anti-social personality, psychopath) can decimate a life. The mental, emotional or physical trauma can be stunning. The aftermath of sociopathic is unique because the assault instills a dim world view, a shaky sense of safety and a feeling that one has been visited by evil. Here are 16 points of focus to begin recovery.

Kicking an Abuser Out of Your Life, and Out of Your Head

Kicking an Abuser Out of Your Life, and Out of Your Head. Ending an abusive relationship requires leaving physically and psychologically. By Avigail Gordon , M.A.

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.

Why Be Ordinary?

Because you don't win a gold medal by trying to win a gold medal.

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

Love Affair Between Psychology and Poetry

By Diana Raab Ph.D. on April 07, 2015 in The Empowerment Diary
April is National Poetry month and a good time to reflect upon the long-standing connection and mutual respect between psychologists and poets. It has been said that every psychologist has a favorite poet, and every poet has a favorite psychologist. Both professions have keen observational skills and are able to identify deep inner truths of any given moment.

Envy's Higher Purpose

How can envy -- an emotion most of us are ashamed to admit -- help us better understand how we need to grow? It can if we learn to be compassionate to ourselves when we feel it and let ourselves examine our envy from a place of curiosity and not judgment. Envy isn't a sign that there's something wrong with us: it's a signal something is right that we aren't claiming.

If I Talk to a Therapist Will I Stop Speaking to My Parents?

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on April 04, 2015 in Off the Couch
A young man walked into my office for his first therapy session. “If I start talking to you, am I going to end up not talking to my parents?” he asked.

Alzheimer's Discordance and Family Discord

There is usually a significant difference between how the person with the disease sees (or doesn’t see) the symptoms of the disease, and how the care partner sees them. This “discordance” is one of the most distressing and difficult challenges care partners face in trying to cope with the illness.

The Paradox of Self-Pity

Everybody knows someone who's steeped in the language of self-pity. All they talk about is how rough they have it. They constantly seek sympathy, to the point where they turn others off. But contrary to what they're putting out there, such people usually have no real sympathy for themselves.

Taking Your Hands Off the Controls

By Tara Brach Ph.D. on April 03, 2015 in Finding True Refuge
Some of us control by withdrawing. For instance, we might find ourselves thinking, “Okay, if you’re going to treat me this way, then I’m going to pull back.”