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Freud (Concept and Principle:The Role of Conscious, Pre-conscious,and Unconscious Forces in Personality)

Freud (Concept and Principle: The Role of Conscious, Pre-conscious, and Unconscious Forces in Personality)

Freud’s fundamental assumption about our mental life was that it is divided into three parts:   
 , the conscious, preconscious, and the unconscious.

  • Conscious 
 The conscious refers to those ideas and sensations of which we are aware . It operates on the surface of personality and plays a relatively small role in personality development and functioning. While it is true that psychologically healthy people have a greater awareness of their experiences than do unhealthy ones, still Freud believed that even relatively mature people are governed, to a degree greater than they would care to admit, by unconscious needs and conflicts. 

  • Preconscious
The preconscious contains those experiences that are unconscious but that could become conscious with little effort. For example, you may have forgotten the foods you had for supper yesterday, but you could probably recall them readily if you were asked to list them for a dietician who is trying to help you lose weight. The preconscious exists just beneath the surface of awareness. 

  • Unconscious

 The unconscious operates on the deepest level of personality. It consists of those experiences and memories of which we are not aware. Such mental states remain out of awareness because making them conscious would create tremendous pain and anxiety for us. The unconscious could include sexual abuse that we experienced during early childhood at the hands of a parent, relative, or family friend. It could consist of incestuous feelings, strong emotional reactions of anger or rage toward certain authority figures, or painful feelings of shame and humiliation growing out of competitive experiences. A key point is that such repressed memories do not simply disappear once they have been thrust from awareness; they continue to operate outside awareness, and seek expression in various defensive, disguised, and distorted ways. Unconscious ideas, memories, and experiences may continually interfere with conscious and rational behavior. 



Finally, while it is impossible to make these unconscious experiences fully conscious, their existence can be clarified through the use of psychoanalytic therapeutic procedures. In a sense, if therapy works, the person becomes more conscious or aware of the nature of these forces that he or she was at the beginning of therapy. 


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