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  • Writer's pictureDayna Sharp, LCSW

Psychological Wellness and the Unconscious

When we think of a tree, we often picture the trunk, the branches and leaves. Though overlooked, the roots are a large and essential part of the picture.

When you think about the unconscious, maybe you picture Freud, or even wonder if such a thing exists. What is the unconscious after all? I think I can explain it so that it makes sense--and in a way that you might actually relate to.

Let's use a tree as a metaphor. Maybe some of the leaves have spots on them. And a few of the branches seem frail. At first, you might pick the leaves that don't look right. You could spray with a bug repellent. You prune the branches that don't seem healthy. In this metaphor, the parts of the tree that you can see are your conscious. It's part of what you might do if you're experiencing anxiety. You problem solve, removing or devising a plan for anxiety triggers, you replace negative thoughts with positive ones and so on.

But in order to really understand where the spots are coming from, you've got to see the whole tree, including its roots. Are the roots getting enough water? Is the soil nutrient rich? Is there cement or another obstacle cutting into the roots? The roots are the equivalent to your unconscious. They are memories and working models of relationships and of your self. In order to really heal psychologically, we've got to attend to our roots: is there something about the way we see the world and ourselves that contributes to anxious thoughts?

To delve deeper into the tree metaphor, check out this video from the American Psychoanalytic Association. Whether or not you're interested in traditional analysis, acknowledging your "roots" and their part in who you are and how they affect you psychologically is an important part of lasting recovery.

Creating Space Counseling and Wellness is a safe space where you can not only problem solve through your anxious leaves and branches, but also understand what your roots need to anchor you through the storms of life.

Call today for a free 15 minute phone consultation! 856-281-1664


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