Thursday, November 29, 2012

More on Unconscious

What is unconscious? Can the thought processes that do not reach the level of consciousness be useful? Can we make better decisions by integrating both conscious and unconscious part of our mind?

This view of the unconscious as the repository of historical, pathological, irrational, interpersonal, or relational schemas has encouraged the development in contemporary psychoanalysis of a view of the unconscious simply as meanings outside of awareness rather than as a structure of the mind that is a source of energy and encompass the irrational as an important counterforce to the rational. ...
This view of the unconscious as unarticulated relational patterns and the treatment corollary of the patient's learning a more realistic or functionally accurate view of self in relation to others, of differentiating the repetitive, self-destructive relationship patterns through a current relationship with the analyst, is the central theme in many contemporary psychoanalytic approaches. ...
Levenson (2001) critiques our preference for a narrow band of rational conscious thought, which we view as the center of awareness. ...
We are shifting to a more holistic concept of brain functioning. The unconscious, many of us now believe, is where most everything happens. Consciousness becomes an epiphenomenon, a bubble of awareness. 
Hanna Segal (1994) ... describes the unconscious as having the characteristics of either deadness, when its contents are evacuated into external reality, or aliveness, creativity, and joy, when experienced as internal symbolic fantasies. She describes the universal struggle to resolve the ``inner conflict between creativity and the anti-creative forces'' (p. 612) in the development of the unconscious through the integration of love and hate, and the evolving capacity to use symbols.
... Eigel (1981) ... describes the unconscious as the capacity to make a passionate commitment to life, which he calls ``faith,'' defined as a ``way of experiencing which is undertaken with one's whole being, all out, with all one's heart, with all one's soul, and with all one's might'' (p. 413). He contrasts this passionate dimension of the unconscious with theories that emphasize ego mastery, interjection, and successful adaptations to the external world.
... The Kleinian and Winnicottian view of the unconscious suggests that more important than the patient's internalized childhood relational patterns in the development of the capacity to integrate internal experience in an intense, committed, alive, creative, and symbolic form. This developmental dimension of the unconscious, implicit in Klein's and Winnicott's two-person perspective, is reflected in the person's evolving capacity for pleasure, joy, a passionate commitment to life, and the capacity to create symbolic and transitional experiences that are an expanding source of power and energy. ---pp. 168--173, Between Emotion and Cognition

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