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Unconscious mind


Probably the most detailed and precise of the various notions of 'unconscious mind' — and the one which most people will immediately think of upon hearing the term — is that developed by Sigmund Freud and his followers, and which lies at the heart of psychoanalysis. It should be stressed, incidentally, that the popular term 'subconscious' is not a Freudian coinage and is never used in serious psychoanalytic writings.

Freud's concept was a more subtle and complex psychological theory than many. Consciousness, in Freud's topographical view (which was his first of several psychological models of the mind) was a relatively thin perceptual aspect of the mind, whereas the subconscious (frequently misused and confused with the unconscious) was that merely autonomic function of the brain. The unconscious was indeed considered by Freud throughout the evolution of his psychoanalytic theory a sentient force of will influenced by human drive and yet operating well below the perceptual conscious mind. Hidden, like the man behind the curtain in the The Wizard of Oz, the unconscious directs the thoughts and feelings of everyone, according to Freud.

In another of Freud's systematizations, the mind is divided into the conscious mind or Ego and two parts of the Unconscious: the Id or instincts and the Superego. Freud used the idea of the unconscious in order to explain certain kinds of neurotic behavior.


In psychoanalytic theory, the unconscious refers to that part of mental functioning of which subjects make themselves unaware. The psychoanalytic unconscious is similar to but not precisely the same as the popular notion of the subconscious. However, in the modern field of personal development the terms 'unconscious mind' and 'subconscious mind' are often interchangeable.

For psychoanalysis, the unconscious does not include all of what is simply not conscious — it does not include e.g. motor skills — but rather, only what is actively repressed from conscious thought.

As defined by Sigmund Freud, the psyche is composed of different levels of consciousness, often defined in three parts as

  • the preconscious
  • the waking consciousness
  • and beneath both of these, the unconscious.
For Freud, the unconscious was a depository for socially unacceptable ideas, wishes or desires, traumatic memories, and painful emotions put out of mind by the mechanism of psychological repression. However, the contents did not necessarily have to be solely negative. In the psychoanalytic view, the unconscious is a force that can only be recognized by its effects — it expresses itself in the symptom.








source:wikipedia






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