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Emerson, L.E. (1919). The Subconscious in its Relation to the Conscious, Preconscious and Unconscious. Psychoanal. Rev., 6(1):59-64.

(1919). Psychoanalytic Review, 6(1):59-64

The Subconscious in its Relation to the Conscious, Preconscious and Unconscious

L. E. Emerson, Ph.D.

As is well known Freud has divided the mind into three parts—conscious, preconscious and unconscious. Consciousness he does not define. The preconscious is that part of the mind, not conscious, which holds, or is, all mental material immediately available. The unconscious is that part of the mind which consists of mental material not immediately available, but which is get-atable, so to speak, theoretically, at least, through special technical means, such as hypnotism, analysis, interpretation, inference, intuition, etc.

Obviously the unconscious is an immense domain, largely uncharted and unplumbed. To make a distinction, which will assist, perhaps, in surveying this boundless realm is the purpose of this paper. To do this requires that the subconscious be denned. The definition I wish to propose is that: the subconscious is that part of the unconscious which, once conscious, is capable of being trained, in other words, is educable. I am assuming, for the time being, that the unconscious itself, strictly speaking, is not capable of education, while the subconscious is.

If this distinction be allowed, the major divisions of the mind would then be as follows: Conscious, Preconscious, Subconscious, and Unconscious.

There are a number of reasons why such a distinction as that I speak of would be valuable. For instance, it has been maintained that the unconscious is capable of education. One doctor claims to have seen the results of education not only in the improvement shown by particular patients, but also premonitory signs of such improvement in their dreams. He has noticed, this especially, as I understand, in the change from homosexuality to heterosexuality.

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