Freud’s Levels of Consciousness

Freud’s Levels of Consciousness
February 17, 2022 No Comments Mental health emmahjoy

Sigmund Freud was a psychologist mostly known for developing the theory of psychoanalysis. In his theory, he talks of different aspects of the human mind that influences their behavior. Psychoanalysis basically explains psychosexual stages of development, personality development, defense mechanisms and the conscious mind. Freud states that past experiences tend to influence our perceptions thus, he came up with his own contributions of how the mind functions.

Freud developed three levels of consciousness to try and explain that our present behavior is influenced by events from our past. The levels include the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. Freud tried to explain the levels of consciousness through an iceberg analogy.

Freud’s levels of consciousness (Iceberg analogy)

The Conscious Mind

This is the first segment of our mind. In Freuds analogy of the iceberg, the conscious mind appears at the tip. It is the part of the brain that deals with the present thoughts, feelings, memories . It occurs in the here and now of your mental processes. For example you might be expecting a text message and so you decide to check your phone.

The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind also known as the preconscious mind, appears as the second segment of the mind. The iceberg analogy places it just below the sea level. It consists of the memories from our past that can easily be brought into our memory. It operates like a temporary storage waiting to be contacted before it releases information. For example, at the moment you might not be thinking about your high school but if someone asks ” which high school did you go to?” it would pop up in your mind. Therefore where this information originates is the subconscious part of our brains.

The Unconscious Mind

The unconscious mind is the last segment of the mind. According to Freud, it is the deeply hidden parts of our memory. The iceberg analogy symbolizes it as the deepest end of the iceberg. It contains the feelings, emotions and memories that are not available in the conscious mind but they tend to influence our everyday behavior. It is in this segment that Freud puts a lot of emphasis. Stating that the unconscious mind stores these memories from our past that influences the present.

Using this theory of the unconscious mind, he develops the structure of personality referred to as the Id, Ego and Superego. The theory states that the Id operates in the unconscious mind whereas the ego and superego can be found in both the subconscious and conscious mind.

The unconscious mind as well gives birth to the concept of defense mechanisms. Where an individual tends to protect themselves from everyday stressors without actually being aware of the factors at play.

Further discussions of the unconscious mind reveals that it is evident in different ways such as the Freudian slips and dreams.

Other Psychologist however, did not entirely agree with Freud’s analogy since it mostly negated the power of the unconscious mind. The unconscious mind being the larger part of the mind plays significant roles such as harboring the complex process of the mind.

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