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What are the conscious and the unconscious mind?

What are the conscious and the unconscious mind?

So you need a quick guide for the trainee hypnotherapist on what are the conscious and the unconscious mind?

In short the conscious mind can be said to be everything which we are currently aware of. The unconscious is everything that makes us who we are that we are not aware of. This could include  such things as memory but it could also extend to our awareness of our physical self.



A common way of explaining the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious is the metaphor of the iceberg.

As most people know, when you see the tip of the iceberg you are only seeing 10% of what is there. The rest is below the surface. It is often argued that the conscious mind is like the tip of the iceberg, it shows but is only a small proportion of what is actually there.

Memory is a good example of both the conscious and the unconscious mind. A memory will often be stored in out long term memory (unconscious) but can be transferred into our awareness and thus become conscious.

Unconscious assumptions can effect the way we do things. A lot of psychological therapies rely on the concept of bring unconscious events (memories) or learnings from those events (cognitions) into conscious awareness so they can be challenged and altered. Hypnotherapy also looks to implant, through the medium of verbal suggestion and imagery, new unconscious beliefs about the world.

The concept of the pre-conscious.

The pre-conscious is a useful concept. The preconscious is the transference from unconscious to conscious awareness. This may be familiar from when you have had the feeling that you know something but are not quite there yet. This feeling usually indicates that something is in the preconscious and can be brought to conscious awareness, often by ignoring it and allowing the process of transfer to occur naturally.

Quick summary – What are the conscious and the unconscious mind

The conscious mind is everything that you are currently aware of , be that thoughts, feelings or memories.

The unconscious is everything which you are not currently aware of which is you (psychologically) and you (physically).


What are the conscious and the unconscious mindAuthor – Matt Krouwel is a  hypnotherapist in Birmingham (UK). He is also the course leader for the West Midlands  School of Clinical Hypnotherapy