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Life Coaching & Alternative/Holistic Counseling Magical Toolbox
The words subconscious and unconscious are
often used interchangeably. One difference between the two is, the subconscious
refers to the realm beneath or beyond conscious awareness.
the unconscious is where psychic material is stored that has a strong
influence on behavior.
This is like an iceberg where the tip floating above the water represents
our conscious mind, and the much larger part below water is the depot of
memories, knowledge and experience.
The unconscious mind is a magnificent warehouse of stored
experiences. These experiences are stored in a field of energy that
is centered in the brain and spreads throughout the body.
The unconscious mind captures and
absorbs absolutely everything that it is exposed to, and sorts it into
retrievable information. It also contains all the knowledge necessary for
generating personal solutions, happiness, inner peace and optimal mind-body,
and spiritual beingness.
Because the unconscious mind takes in everything around it,
nothing is ever lost. Even when it may appear that nothing is happening, the
unconscious is often busy reorganizing massive amounts of material so it can
accept and use new ideas. Eventually, it all comes together over time,
and the desired change takes place.
Throughout my work, I tend to use the distinction of the unconscious
mind as a way of identifying a deeper level of access.
Metaphors are the language of the
unconscious mind. They are most easily recognized from our dreams where
events in our daily lives are reflected.
Our unconscious mind thinks in
images. If I say to you the word "tree," a vague picture of a tree
most likely pops into your mind.
Metaphors are stories that stimulate our
imagination. We are generally attracted to movies that often play out our
own life experiences or desires.
The unconscious is very literal. For
example, how often have you noticed someone who lost weight only to
"find" it again? The unconscious believes that if we
"lose" something, we should find it! Then there is the smoker who
"quits" only to start up again. In our society, a
"quitter" is usually frowned upon.
The unconscious mind has no image for
negative words such as no or not or don’t. Have you
ever told yourself: I don’t want to forget to stop by the store on my way
home from work–and promptly forgotten?
The unconscious heard: ...forget
to stop by the store. In its desire to oblige our perceived wishes, it
When a person
communicates to us using analogies, stories, or metaphors, it can help us to better understand their story because we can
identify with it using our frame of reference or experiences.
When we do
that, we can become introspective and sometimes recognize
"lessons" at the unconscious or conscious level that we may need
from the telling, and act on them in positive ways.
So using metaphors in communication can
be a way to "reach" another person indirectly and non-aggressively. You may be
life coached/holistically and alternatively counseled in how to develop proficiency in this very useful
Dictionaries define a metaphor as a
figure of speech in which a word of phrase denoting one kind of object or
idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between
When listening to a metaphor, the
conscious mind usually hears one part of a message, the unconscious mind may
hear another deeper part of the message.
I once had a colleague who went into
the hospital for some foot surgery. I stopped by to cheer her up. I
proceeded to chat with her about my dog that was in obedience training. I
was so proud of him; he was learning how to heel and follow commands so
much more quickly than all the other dogs.
In a follow up, she later told me that
her doctor was amazed ... her foot had healed up in about a third of
the time he would have expected! What her unconscious mind heard was that
her foot (slang, dog) could learn to heal (heel) very quickly. And, by the way, I
never did tell her that I didn’t even own a dog--at least at that time!
When I wish to
communicate to a client that very often only one tiny change is all that is
needed to broaden and expand into an exciting outcome, I tell them the
following metaphorical story:
"The Two-Degree Course Change"
Imagine for a moment that you wanted
to take a cruise ship to Alaska. Let’s say that you travel to the Port
of Los Angeles where you embark on your trip. It becomes nighttime, and
the weather is overcast. All you can see are dark waves rising and
Unbeknownst to you, the captain decides
to make a two-degree course change. You discover this when all of a
sudden you wake up and
here you are
in the exotic orient about to board
And, yes, there is actually only about a
two-degree course change when starting out from the Port of Los Angeles and redirecting
Milton Erickson, MD
was the pioneer of clinical hypnosis, and master of metaphors and
techniques. He was a brilliant psychiatrist who was wheelchair bound,
having had Polio twice. He was also colorblind and could only see the color
purple. As a result, he always wore a purple suit. He authored many books,
and many books were written about his work. He died in the early 1980s.
Using Signals to "Talk" with the Unconscious Mind
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National Institute of Mental Health, psychotherapy only has a 20% success
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