Subconscious vs Conscious Mind

Subconscious vs Conscious Mind

When you stop and think for a moment, your heart is beating, your blood circulating, your body’s immune system is fighting off harmful bacteria and diseases in a split second – but you don’t need give these processes a conscious thought. They happen automatically without the need for conscious input. Along with your memories, imagination, emotions and autonomic nervous system, they are part of the realm of the subconscious mind.

An image that is useful to portray the relationship of the conscious vs subconscious mind is that of an ice berg. The ice peak that sits above the waterline represents the conscious mind. We refer to this as the critical or analytical mind. The much larger submerged ice represents the subconscious or unconscious mind. This is the feeling mind – a very powerful part of the mind. This is where we store all our beliefs, behavioural patterns and habits.

Subconscious Learning

When you first learned to drive a car, you had to consciously think about what you were doing. You learned where all the different controls were and what they did etc. You had to learn to drive adhering to the road rules and to anticipate what other drivers might do in all sorts of situations.

Now, you hop in the car and just drive. And other than watching where you are going and being aware of other traffic, the actual driving of the car doesn’t require much conscious effort. You no longer need to think about where the controls are and what they do, because your subconscious mind has stored all of this knowledge, patterning and muscle memory. An example of how well this works is Highway Hypnosis. After driving on a long trip, you suddenly realise that you haven’t been consciously aware of paying attention to driving the car.  You had been thinking about a conversation you had with a friend a couple of weeks ago. And consequently, you don’t remember part of the journey. This is because your subconscious mind was driving the car and that left your conscious mind to wander in thought.


The same effect is there with habits – good or bad. The person that bites their fingernails while watching TV is quite often unaware when they are doing so. The smoker who lights a cigarette but has no recollection of wanting or needing one and so on. These are subconscious patterns of behaviour that have been learned and reinforced over time.

It is not until a more appropriate suggestion, idea or pattern is presented to – and accepted by the subconscious mind, that lasting and meaningful changes can take place.

When we are fully awake going about our daily lives, we are using two types of logic;

1) Inductive logic – a thought process working from specifics to a premise

2) Deductive logic – a thought process working from a premise to specifics

The subconscious mind only uses deductive logic – it doesn’t reason.

When you undergo clinical hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will induce a bypass of your conscious critical factor. Appropriate therapeutic suggestions (based on goals previously discussed and agreed beforehand) are then presented directly to your subconscious mind to help you to achieve your desired outcome.