Understanding the Unconscious

The unconscious is where most of the work of the mind gets done; it's the repository of automatic skills, the source of intuition and dreams, and an engine of information processing. Fleeting perceptions may register in the unconscious mind long before are 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

How Novels Help You Grieve

Freud warned that "Unexpressed emotions never die." Perhaps a good book can help you connect to deep emotions.

Why We Are Conscious

Why are we conscious creatures instead of unconscious ones?

Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas?

By Melissa Burkley Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in The Social Thinker
Why is it that writers often can’t tell us where their story ideas truly come from? The answer has to do with the fact that the human mind is a dual-process system.

Feeling Bad?

By Jeff Corbin, MD MPH on December 01, 2017 in Rethinking Normal
Positive and negative emotions — we all have them. Here's why.

Snakes in the Toilet!

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on December 01, 2017 in Fighting Fear
When Freudian nightmares become real.
Pixabay

Power in Sex Isn't a Problem, in Fantasy or With Consent

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on November 27, 2017 in Full Living
Disturbing as the recent accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct are, the sexual fantasies that fueled them are common. The problem isn't the fantasies; its the enactment.
Edgar Allan Poe Daguerrotype, May-June 1849. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Learning by Hearing, Learning by Seeing

By Laura Otis Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in Rethinking Thought
As a metaphor for learning, sound has a shadier reputation than sight.

Fantasyland: A Nation of Primally Wounded People

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on November 26, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
Are you concerned about a post-truth world? Kurt Andersen’s new book, Fantasyland, gives the history of America's attraction to fantasy. Primal woundedness helps explain it.

Six Elements Of Self-Care In Adults With Childhood Trauma

By Grant Hilary Brenner M.D. on November 18, 2017 in ExperiMentations
From childhood to our relationship with ourselves, carrying a negative or empty sense of self makes it learning self-love seem like an impossible bootstrap. Yet it can happen...

You Can't Be Mad At Your Mind for Having Unconscious Biases

By Elizabeth R Thornton on November 15, 2017 in The Objective Leader
You Can't Be Mad at Your Mind for Having Unconscious Biases You can be proud of yourself for overcoming your biases with the help of a Bias Transformation Worksheet

Roadblocks to Intimacy & Trust X: Breaking the Silence

I know of no relationship that improved without conversation.

52 Ways: What Motivates Others Who Threaten a Relationship?

By Roni Beth Tower Ph.D., ABPP on November 12, 2017 in Life, Refracted
A couple's relationship can be threatened by others. To minimize potential damage, explore conscious or unconscious motives that a third party might have.

Body Objectification: The Psychology Behind This Epidemic

By Zack Carter Ph.D. on November 09, 2017 in Clear Communication
Implicit association tests are clear but they shouldn't be an excuse to objectify the human body. Understanding the psychology behind objectification might help us fight back.

Dreams Help Us Connect With Our Inner World

Is Sigmund Freud's "Interpretation of Dreams" still relevant more than a century later?

The "Deep State" Warns Us About Shallow Thinking

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on November 03, 2017 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
Good politicians make the complex simple but good leaders make the complex important.

1,001 Nights of Dream Recall

A long series of dreams can offer insights into many aspects of waking life, including personal relationships, spiritual beliefs, and dynamic elements of the external environment.

Power: Five Non-Traditional Views

By Robert Enright Ph.D. on October 30, 2017 in The Forgiving Life
Is your basic life-orientation to seek power over others or to use what power you have to be in service to others? Five ideas are presented to help you self-examine power.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Imagine Talking to Yourself

Are you stumped about how to act or respond? Try an interior monologue to help you expose unconscious beliefs, pause, accept responsibility, and move on in a loving manner.

Lady CFO: A Case of Unconscious Bias

By Audrey Nelson Ph.D. on October 26, 2017 in He Speaks, She Speaks
We could not survive if all our decisions were completely subject to the conscious mind.

Open Your Mind: Merging Psychedelic Therapy with Sex Therapy

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on October 24, 2017 in Standard Deviations
Psychotherapist reveals current advances in psychedelic research and sex therapy.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Imagine an Invisible String

An imagery exercise can help us explore how we feel about a loved one and our connection to them.

Roadblocks to Intimacy and Trust VII: The Struggle To Commit

Couples therapy teaches that there are at least six people in every intimate relationship.

People Don’t Still Lie on a Couch, Do They?

100 years since it was introduced by Freud, the couch still provokes both curiosity and ridicule. But does it work?

What to Do When Doctors Haven't Helped You

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on October 09, 2017 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
A new approach when the old ones fail.

Unconscious Cues That Define Sexual Attractiveness

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on October 06, 2017 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
New research hints at how to avoid Mr. Wrong, while zeroing in on Mr. Right.
K. Ramsland

The Math Whiz and the Psychologists

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on September 30, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
A mathematical genius offered a formula for creativity to a group of psychologists a century before we could prove it with research.

The Psychodynamic Brain

By Paul Siegel Ph.D. on September 25, 2017 in Freud Lives
Neuroscience is showing that Freud's view of the brain was prescient.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Can Restore Consciousness

By Christopher Bergland on September 25, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can restore consciousness even after someone has been in a vegetative state for over a decade, according to a new and potentially revolutionary study.

Why Do We Love the View From High Above?

By Andrea Bartz on September 19, 2017 in The Wandering Mind
The weird psychological reason you'll take an elevator to the 102nd floor.