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

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.

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.

Garbage Smells Green and Gunshots Are Rainbows

Some people hear colors and see sounds, a phenomenon called synesthesia.

Contagious Yawning is Hard-wired

New research suggests that the propensity for contagious yawning is rooted in the excitation and inhibition of the primary motor cortex.

How We Can Catch a Ball When We Don't Know Where It Will Be

By Jim Davies Ph.D. on September 06, 2017 in The Science of Imagination
Does our mind actually have two different ideas about how the physical world works?

When Relationships Fall Apart

When relationships falter, there are many roads a couple can take. Which path will you choose?
Flickriver

The Therapist As Saint or Sinner

Therapists must learn how to handle the projections of their clients -- negative and positive -- with sensitivity and curiosity if they are to learn what is behind them.

Do We See the World Like a Movie?

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on August 26, 2017 in Memory Medic
The two-stage model of perception may have profound implications beyond sensation that involve working memory, ideation, reasoning, decision-making, and voluntary behavior.

Is There Such a Thing as a Personal Destiny?

Does a preordained power we call destiny control both the nature of the events that occupy our lives and the resulting planned or spontaneous actions we take?

How the Enlightenment Went Astray on Dreaming

To create a healthy ecosystem for technologically enhanced dream exploration, we must make sure we accept and trust the philosophical assumptions built into that ecosystem.
pixabay open source

Interpreting signs and symbols

Signs and symbols expressed by the patient’s unconscious in dreams may enable health care professionals to identify the pernicious onset of delirium.

52 Ways to Show I Love You: Responding to Silences

Identifying a silence's meaning and responding according to its underlying intent can be a powerful way to show love. Matching the response to the meaning reflects intimacy.

Sticky, Tricky, and Icky: Unconscious Parent-Child Dynamics

Emotional abandonment may manifest in parental coldness, but when the dynamic is operative, both parent and young child believe it is they who are internally, irreparably flawed.

Loving a Broken Body

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on August 13, 2017 in Obesely Speaking
I lost 290 pounds in six months by giving up rage, anger, humiliation, and suffering.

An Impactful Change You Can Successfully Make

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on August 11, 2017 in Full Living
You have a voice inside your head narrating your life and actions. Is it kind and supportive? Unless you have made a conscious effort, it is likely mean and hateful.

Diluting the Gold of Analysis

Not all psychotherapies are created equal.

Your Memories Make You Who You Are

Don't worry if can't remember the details of your first kiss that well. Your unconscious does it for you.

Your Marriage and Social Media: The Grass Isn't Greener

By Zack Carter Ph.D. on August 07, 2017 in Clear Communication
Do you compare your spouse with others' pictures when you're on social media? You may be inadvertently damaging your marriage. Here's why you need to stop the comparison game.

The Psychology of Experience in the Digital World

a single experience is made up of an infinite number of smaller experiences.
olegkalina/iStock

For, Not Against

By Matt James Ph.D. on August 02, 2017 in Focus on Forgiveness
Tired of all the negativity and contentiousness? Learn how to use "toward" motivation to be healthier and achieve your goals.

How Good Is Your Autopilot?

By Ira Hyman Ph.D. on July 30, 2017 in Mental Mishaps
Have you used autopilot when driving? I don’t mean a self-driving car; I mean those times when you space out for a moment, your mind wanders, and your autopilot keeps you moving.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 12

By Michael Jawer on July 30, 2017 in Feeling Too Much
A life-threatening emergency can, in some cases, produce a veritable distress signal that communicates what is being experienced, physiologically and/or emotionally.

Sidestepping Into Addiction

By Holly Parker, Ph.D. on July 24, 2017 in Your Future Self
On the face of things, doesn’t it just seem like the answer to disagreeable feelings is to run for cover in our bat cave, where they can’t pester us anymore?