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What's the Difference Between Subconscious and Unconscious?

What differentiates the Unconscious and the Subconscious?


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The terms unconscious and subconscious are often used mistakenly, often interchangeably. Although they might sound quite the same in our ears, these two terms have very different meanings.

One of the famous psychologists is Sigmund Freud. The id, ego, and superego originated from him as well as other well-known theories are developed by him. Freud explained that human minds have different levels of consciousness that would affect how we interact and perceive things. This is where the unconscious and subconscious comes in.

To start with, the unconscious refers to memories repressed in our minds. Since these memories are repressed it is not easily accessible by our conscious mind. It is similar to a memory loss during traumatic events wherein our psychological defense mechanism is to forget the event. Unfortunately, the unconscious mind still affects the person without him or her knowing it. It would be reflected on his actions, habits, social interactions.

The subconscious is accessible by the conscious mind. This can be evident through memories or any information stored in the mind. Examples are memories of past events and information you have learned such as in school. These are hidden just below your conscious mind. You don’t think about them often, but when you do, you need to dig deeper in order to get the information you want.

Different psychologists have different views on these terms. They often relate it to their area of expertise and theories. According to Carl Jung, the unconscious should be brought back to conscious. Whether we like it or not, the unconscious is present among us and that we have shared thoughts and ideas that linger in this domain.

Other psychologists oppose the concept of unconscious and according to them; the term is not real since it is not evident. Cognitive behaviorist suggest that a person should be able to speak out on what he or she thinks, express ideas, and examine their beliefs. They don’t believe that the unconscious should stay longer to where it is.

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