The Unconscious Rediscovered: How Everyday Unconscious Processes Impact Clinical Practice

Presented by Valentina Stoycheva, Ph.D.

Historically, in psychology, the behavioral and cognitive-behavioral traditions did not emphasize unconscious processes—that is, when they did not flat out deny their existence or deem them irrelevant to human functioning. However, even the psychoanalytic tradition casts the unconscious in a specific light: as conflictual, fueled by sexual and aggressive drives, full of wishes and fantasies.

Today, we know these views are limited and overlook the normal, universal everyday unconscious processes that are part of how our minds work. Unlike the dynamic unconscious of psychoanalysis, the normative unconscious processing is not attributable to conflict, defense, or relational needs. That is, it is not motivated and it is not pathological. This talk will provide an overview of several such normative unconscious processes: e.g., implicit memory and implicit learning, implicit motivation, affective salience, attribution, automaticity and embodied cognition, as well as how they impact the therapeutic process.

This workshop was recorded on June 4, 2021.