The Conscious and Subconscious Mind: Exploring the Difference

The conscious mind is known for its malleability, while the subconscious mind is more resistant to change. Thoughts come and go in the conscious mind, but the idea of conscious thinking is a misconception. This conclusion is based on two main theories of consciousness: the Global Theory of Workspace and the alternative view. The Global Theory of Workspace, proposed by neuroscientists Stanislas Dehaene and Bernard Baars, states that for a state of mind to be considered conscious, it must be present in working memory and available for other mental functions.

The alternative view, proposed by Michael Graziano, David Rosenthal and others, suggests that conscious mental states are those that you know without having to interpret yourself. Decisions and judgments should not be considered conscious because they cannot be accessed in working memory nor are we aware of them directly. We only have what is known as “the illusion of immediacy”, which gives us the false impression that we know our thoughts without any effort. Reprogramming the subconscious mind is a lengthy process because it is separate from the conscious mind.

Many people are unaware of the advantages of connecting the two. You can access your subconscious through introspection and you can identify your behavior in a subconscious way, such as motivation or impulse. When you think something, you realize that your subconscious is communicating with your conscious mind. In professional literature related to mental functioning, writers such as Freud tend to use the word “unconscious” instead of “subconscious”.

Hypnotherapy enters the subconscious to address deep-rooted trauma from childhood or past events that have caused negative feelings. Your stored memories, feelings and desires influence your dreams. The visible is the conscious, while what lies beneath is the subconscious and unconscious. The term “subconscious” was initially used interchangeably with “unconscious” by Freud.

Examples of subconscious thoughts include fears, beliefs, desires and memories that you may not be aware of. However, because of its literal definition as being unconscious when a person faints, “subconscious” is often used as a preference.