Therapy Toronto Psychotherapy Definitions

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Unconscious
The term Unconscious has been defined in several ways by eminent contributors to the field of psychotherapy.


Freud used the term Unconscious (UCS) to refer to a realm of mental functioning that by definition could not be known.

In Freudian psychoanalysis the goal is to make the contents of the UCS clearly conscious and knowable. This would allow us to make clear and measured choices in our ordinary lives.

Freud’s detractors criticised him for his view that there could be a truly unconscious mental process, arguing that it was impossible to refute this logically.

Carl Jung developed a notion of the Collective Unconscious to denote the repository of archetypal images that are, he believed, to be found in every individual's personal unconscious. It included dream images that reflect myth, symbol and legend.

Such images inspire our deepest actions and act guides to our understanding. In Jungian work, the gradual recognition of the influence of particular aspects of this Collective Unconscious is to lead us to a better appreciation of how we are living, enabling better decisions for our daily lives.

Jacques Lacan more recently declared that what Freud called the UCS is really the storehouse of the injunctions, prescriptions and opinion of our parents and of similar authoritative figures in our early life.

Taken together their internalized statements act as directives about living that we need to confront and challenge as emerging individuals.
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