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See also Unconscious mind. The notion of a subconscious in some branches of psychotherapy is considered to be the deepest level of consciousness, that individuals are not directly aware of, but still affects conscious behavior. This notion is similar to, but not precisely the same as, the notion of the unconscious in psychoanalytic theory.

At the present stage, there are still fundamental disagreements within psychology about the nature of the subconscious mind (if indeed it is considered to exist at all), whereas outside formal psychology a whole world of pop-psychological speculation has grown up in which the unconscious mind is held to have any number of properties and abilities, from animalistic and innocent, child-like aspects to savant-like, all-perceiving, mystical and occultic properties.


Somewhat related to the subconscious are nonconscious psychic events. The term nonconscious seems to be used in various ways. Some appear to use the term to avoid the somewhat value-laden term "unconscious" or "subconscious", but basically for the same purpose. Others use it to refer to events that can only be observed indirectly (e.g. certain acts of short-term memory), and still others use it to point to events such as brain activity controlled mostly by the limbic system (e.g. emotional reactions to certain smells). Not surprisingly, there are no sharply delineated conventions for distinguishing exactly between the nonconscious and the subconscious -- partly because they interact with each other, and partly because, as is so often the case, psychologists are unable to agree on the definitions.

The subconscious mind is halfway between the conscious thinking mind and the unconscious mind or collective unconscious. The thinking mind would be the consciousness and is able to reason and make meaning of things. The subconscious mind is the recording mechanism that records information based on how it was perceived by the judging thinking mind. The unconscious mind is a record of things how they innately are without judgement and is thought to be outside of time and space so therefore is a record of everything in the past, present and future. The subconscious mind takes info from the conscious mind and puts it into the unconscious mind and likewise, the subconscious mind pulls information from the unconscious mind and surfaces through the conscious mind in the form of ideas, inspirations, etc...

Application of the subconscious

Knowledge of the subconscious has been exploited by marketing strategists employed by corporations to either play on hidden fears and secret desires buried in the common subconscious. Teams of psychologists are sometimes hired to do market research and understand Consumer behaviour in order to use more targeted messaging in advertising campaigns.[citation needed] There is evidence that this information is sometimes used to create subliminal messages hidden within advertising campaigns.

Questions about the subconscious mind

Is the subconscious altogether inaccessible, or is it just hard to access? As some of the above examples indicate, material is constantly moving from the conscious mind to the unconscious and vice versa. The conscious mind only holds a small amount of information at any given time. In many cases information - especially easily accessible memories - can be called into awareness at will.

Modalities targeting the subconscious mind

Hypnosis, Subliminal messages, Binaural beats, Affirmations, Autosuggestion, PATHS, EMDR

External links

Further reading

  • Dr. Joseph Murphy, (2001). The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-58318-2
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