What ideas do you have about the unconscious mind? How much credence do you place in it as a separate and functioning entity? Have you found yourself driven to do something without understanding what’s motivating you? Are you stuck repeating patterns of behavior that seem to run on their own accord?
The Jungian approach to psychology and the unconscious mind is inclusive, acknowledging the impact of art, culture, philosophy and sociology on the psyche as well as giving relevance to dream symbolism, myths, religion and spirituality. Jung believed in order for people to achieve a sense of autonomy and inner balance they must understand and integrate both the conscious and unconscious processes.
This was my attraction to and mission when I began studying NLP in 1980 and has become the basis for founding “Of 2 Minds Coaching and Counseling” services which teaches people how to use intuition and logic in daily life and decision making. NLP is the acronym for Neuro-Linguistic Programming which simplistically defined is a behavioral approach to non verbal and verbal communication and change.
In NLP training I was introduced to Milton Erikson whom many refer to as the Father of Hypnosis. He was the founding president of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis. Are you familiar with his work? Aside from Erikson’s remarkable contribution to the field of hypnosis in particular, Conversational hypnosis, his concept of trance theory has had the most impact on me. This theory proposes that the unconscious mind is always awake and listening even when we are sleeping. Erikson specialized in medical hypnosis and also promoted the belief that the unconscious mind is a creative problem solver with the capacity to generate many solutions. Below the surface there is an active mind that looks, listens, and responds; a mind that is ready and able to help, a personal mentor and benefactor. My reaction learning this was, “Great news, now how do I get in contact with this force in my nature”?
Erikson’s work advanced the fields of short-term therapy and solution focused behaviorally oriented therapy. The co-creators of NLP studied and worked with Milton Erikson and fashioned a systematic approach to verbal and non verbal communication and change. In relaxed and casual manners of speech Erikson spoke to his clients using specific words to induce an altered trance state. Masterfully he wove indirect suggestions and metaphors into personalized parables. Erikson worked exclusively with the unconscious processes and all his interventions were obscure.
NLP techniques were designed to make Erikson’s work more specific and available to the conscious mind. Among the many verbal and non verbal exercises offered, learning what to say and how to phrase things in order to influence and change self defeating and self destructive unconscious thoughts and feelings as well as planting self enhancing and empowering messages was like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!
We are especially impressionable as children. So is our subconscious mind. Acting like a huge sponge it soaks up everything. Without the know how to filter and squeeze out misconstrued thoughts and painful confusing experiences the mind below the surface becomes a warehouse full of good and not so good. By the time we reach adulthood certain actions that we are taking seem out of our control. And they are but not entirely and not forever. What fuels them? Are you familiar with the terms “unconscious and unresolved issues from the past”? Now you can learn effective ways to deal with them.
In NLP there is a saying, “We can’t change our personal history but we can change how we perceive our past”. Perception generates belief and belief propels us to act whether we realize it or not.
“Consciousness is a priceless gem to possess”. Stephanie Rachel Alt