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Joseph, E.D. (1987). The Consciousness of Being Conscious. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 35:5-22.

(1987). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 35:5-22

The Consciousness of Being Conscious

Edward D. Joseph, M.D.


Starting with the therapeutic advantage gained when insight acquires consciousness, an investigation of the nature and function of consciousness is undertaken. Consciousness is a state of awareness, having a range of higher mental functions serving a regulatory, controlling, and integrating role in mental activity. There are high levels of thinking, reality testing, experiencing, judging, anticipating; self-awareness and self-reflection enter into these controlling activities. Psychoanalysis has rightly been a science that studies the workings and contents of the unconscious portions of the mind. It has perhaps overlooked the important role that consciousness plays in ordinary life and in providing the levels of control and self-awareness individuals both experience and require. That pathology and disturbances of function may accompany normal states of consciousness as well as altered states of consciousness is a common clinical phenomenon. Psychoanalysis as a therapy widens the scope of the conscious control systems.

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