Consciousness in the psyche is the state of being aware of oneself and one’s surroundings. It is the part of the psyche that we are aware of at any given moment and is what we refer to as the Conscious Mind

Unconscious is the part of the psyche that we are not aware of. It includes all our thoughts, feelings, and memories that are not currently in our conscious awareness. And is what we refer to as the Subconscious Mind

Only a very small portion of our mind is conscious in a self-aware way and most of our mind functions happen automatically without conscious thought. This can be likened to an iceberg – 10% of the mind is conscious and we are aware of it, 90% though is subconscious and without our awareness.

iceberg conscious subconscious mind


The conscious mind is the part of our mind we are more familiar, and which is associated with our personality.  It includes our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions and is essential for our ability to function in the world. It is the logical and analytical part of us allows us to interact with our environment, learn new things, and make choices that are in our best interests. It is responsible for our ability to make decisions, solve problems, and control our behaviour. It has a slower processing speed and can conceptualize past or future.

Some of the functions that conscious mind is responsible for:

  • Perception: our ability to perceive the world around us. This includes our ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.
  • Thought: our ability to think and reason. This includes our ability to solve problems, make decisions, and plan for the future.
  • Memory: our ability to store and retrieve memories. This includes our ability to remember past events, learn new information, and make decisions based on our past experiences.
  • Emotion: our ability to experience emotions. This includes our ability to feel happy, sad, angry, scared, and so on.
  • Behaviour: our ability to control our behaviour. This includes our ability to make choices, follow through on our plans, and resist temptation.

Some of the key characteristics of the conscious mind:

  • Subjectivity: It is subjective meaning that it is unique to each individual.
  • Intentionality: It is intentional, meaning that it is directed towards something.
  • Unity: it is unified, meaning that it is experienced as a single, coherent whole.
  • Continuity: It is continuous, meaning that it is experienced as a stream of consciousness.
  • Limited capacity: It has a limited capacity, meaning that it can only be aware of a limited number of things at any given time.


The Subconscious (also known as the unconscious) mind deals with our imagination, emotions, memories and functions of our body, as well as running all programs of automatic behavior based on what we’ve learned. It stores all our experiences, runs our autonomic nervous system and controls our bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure and respiration.

The subconscious mind holds all the memories of everything that has ever happened to us – everything we have ever experienced, seen, heard and learned.  Even if we cannot consciously remember them, the memories are there. It communicates through emotional responses called feelings and these feelings govern our reactions.   It has a superfast processing speed, and its workings are invisible to us.  

The Subconscious mind is there to keep you SAFE/HAPPY/HEALTHY. As its primary objective is survival, it ‘learns’ it reactions as instincts that it takes on board to protect you in some way. It there works on familiarity and repeated patterns, so if there is a behavior pattern that has worked and you are alive, it naturally wants to continue more of the same. The belief system believes that the pattern must be repeated and there will be an urge to repeat and will resists change unless there is a very clear positive reason to do so. That is why symptoms survive even when they cause great difficulty and hardship. 


The subconscious is totally without reason or logic, judgement or criticism, without qualification or allowance – it just does, taking instructions from the conscious mind, like an obedient servant.  Everything is black or white; it either IS or IS NOT and it negates the word don’t – which is why if you are told not to think of a certain thing, that is then exactly what you do think about! The subconscious also doesn’t understand time, and it also doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality – which are powerful facts that are used to create powerful change. It will accept imagination as being real.

The Subconscious uses its own language it talks to us through feelings, sensations, colour, shapes, symbolism, metaphor and intuition – the power of the imagination and the energetic part of our system.  It communicates with feelings and bodily sensations, which in turn, govern our reactions. If you try to overcome these feelings and reactions, then it redoubles its effort. 

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