In my blog on “Advanced Past Life Therapy”, I mentioned that you can meet and talk to “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind. I’d like to discuss this in a bit more detail, because “parts therapy”, in one form or another, is something which I find very useful in my hypnotherapy practice.
Now, some hypnotherapists and psychologists will tell you that there’s no such thing as the “unconscious mind”. They may well be right; certainly there’s no specific area of the brain where it lives.* But, nevertheless, the mind behaves as though it has an unconscious region, and whether it’s real, a metaphor or a convenient fiction doesn’t matter – parts therapies work.
Whole Master’s degree courses exist on the subject of “consciousness”, so I’m not going to get bogged down here in theories of the conscious and unconscious minds. I’m just going to give you this simple diagram, my take on Freud’s Iceberg Model, incorporating Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious:
Your personal unconscious contains “parts” which are unique to you. A simple technique which I often use is “Parts Integration”; we find (for example) the “part” which is responsible for a negative behaviour, then the “part” which wants to change, and then we encourage the two parts to talk to each other and come up with an agreed strategy. This doesn’t have to be done under hypnosis, but I find that a light “trance” – just deep relaxation – helps the process along.
Archetypes belong in the Collective Unconscious; they are common to all mankind. According to Jung, principal ones include the shadow, the wise old man, the child and the mother, but there are many more. Three that I find particularly useful to work with come from hypnotherapist Terence Watts: the Warrior, the Settler and the Nomad. We can bring in all three, consider which is responsible for a behaviour, or which would be most helpful, and ask them to speak to us or to each other.
Which, if any, part of your unconscious mind houses spirit guides, angels and characters from your past lives is anybody’s guess. Again, it really doesn’t matter. As I said in my earlier blog: These “entities” may or may not be “real”; perhaps they exist independently or maybe they are simply “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind, but this isn’t important from a therapeutic point of view. We can treat them as real and benefit from their guidance.
*Some experts regard the “unconscious” as nothing more than automatic brain processes, but in my opinion those are something else which should not be confused with “the unconscious mind”.