The Subconscious (SC) is that part of you that knows ALL and is accessed via the right brain. It understands, and is influenced by, images, symbols, colors and feelings. The SC also needs to work in tandem with the left brain or Conscious brain (C) – more on this below but first a description of the functions of each side of the brain.
The SC also has the following characteristics:
- Intuitive: emotional, creative, psychic (e.g. dreams and visions) – it represents the FEMININE aspect of the SELF.
- Lateral: can perceive all levels of reality simultaneously, the conscious, the spiritual and the cellular/body levels (i.e. the whole picture).
- Non-judgmental: sees things ‘as they are.’
- Survival: ensures all the systems and organs in your body are working to keep you alive. Also stores memories and emotions in the body.
- Behavioral: motivates 99% of your actions through stored memories and other information such as your beliefs and emotions.
The Conscious brain (C) has the following components:
- Linear: it understands and communicates in words (the language center is located here), logic and rational thought – it is the MASCULINE part of the SELF.
- Physical: it takes in information through your five physical senses – touch, sight, sound, smell and taste.
- Limited awareness: it can only take in between five and nine pieces of information at a time.
- Judgmental: it filters information from your environment and experiences by seeing events ‘as you would like them to be’ (i.e. it is aware of things that are consistent with your current belief system or what you are focused on. It also protects you from painful experiences until you are ready to deal with them).
- Behavioral: motivates only 1% of your behavior by responding to what you are consciously aware of at a certain point in time.
Both sides of the brain (or aspects of the SELF) are interdependent and need to remain so for optimum health on all levels (note that the root word for healing is the same as that for health). As the SC is the bridge between the C, the spiritual realms and the body it is the gateway to discovering what is causing your problems and how to resolve them. This can happen in two ways: firstly, the C can allow you to become aware of painful memories in order to heal, and, secondly, you can use various techniques to tap into the SC to get this awareness. In other words, the issues will arise spontaneously or you can make an effort to go in search of them.
The first point will be demonstrated by this example:
As a child, Joshua often heard his parents fighting. He avoided the pain of this by running to his room and playing with his train set. He became so focused on that task that he gradually began to ‘tune-out’ the yelling (i.e. his C was filtering out the painful memories from his awareness while the SC was taking it all in). At the age of twenty-five, during an argument with his current girlfriend, Joshua recalled many episodes from his childhood when his parents were arguing about the same issue – infidelity. He had blocked out all of those fights until that day. As he was now ready to deal with this pain, his C allowed him to access it from the SC in order to heal his relationship problems.
Accessing the SC in order to get to the cause of problems when you are unaware of what is going on requires techniques that allow the C to let down its guard for a while. Some of these methods include: meditation, dreams and writing.
Once the cause of (or the reason for) an issue has been discovered then you need to replace the negative thought, emotion, memory etc with positive instructions or images as the SC cannot process negatives (don’t, can’t, not, no). (It makes sense that the aspect of you that is responsible for health can only comprehend affirmative input since healing involves finding the beneficial in the detrimental.) For example, if you are a woman who has ended a relationship and want to move on, avoid statements like “I don’t want to think about my ex.” Your SC will respond to “I want to think about my ex.” It is more productive to say something like “Time for me to move on now” or “I’m going to introduce myself to the new guy at work” and then to visualize yourself with this man as the SC responds well to images.
Another example of an ineffective instruction for the SC is the phrase “Don’t forget” – it is better to say “Remember.”
REMEMBER to use affirmative statements and images when TRANSFORMING your negative thoughts, emotions and experiences into POSITIVE ones.
(Slightly modified excerpt from DIY Therapy: Simple Self-help Skills)
 For more on the role of the subconscious in therapy read “Emotional Healing” by Frank Wright (Inner World Publications, Kurrajong Heights, Australia, 1995).