Robert Fettgather is a teacher of psychology with a lifelong interest in clinical hypnosis and dreams. Robert Fettgather enjoys time in nature, sports and keeps a dream journal on his nightstand.
Sigmund Freud was one of the most important historical figures in psychology, and he spent his life trying to untangle the mysteries of the unconscious mind. His views about personality, his system of psychotherapy, and his tools for exploring the unconscious are referred to as psychoanalysis.
Freud believed that during childhood our personalities are essentially formed. Many of his patients had unexplained or unusual symptoms that seemed related to emotional problems. He and his colleagues observed that the basis of the problems seemed to be sexual in nature, although his patients weren’t necessarily aware of this influence. Freud’s theory also developed the concept of defenses. A defense mechanism is a strategy developed by the ego to ward off anxiety. For example, when anxiety provoking memories are prevented from reaching conscious awareness, such as not remembering lying to parents, it is called repression.
According to Freud, consciousness is trilevel, a topographical model which guides your behaviors and personality. The conscious level includes thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of which you are aware at this moment. The preconscious level describes the mental activities outside your current awareness that can easily be brought to your attention. The unconscious level is home to activities outside your awareness, such as feelings or wishes, which are difficult to access without concerted effort or therapy. Noticing dreams upon awakening can represent a step toward accessing that unconscious level.