Conscious and Unconscious

A second example of a unified personality is the harmony between conscious and unconscious actions. Adler (1956) defined the unconscious as that part of the goal that is neither clearly formulated nor completely understood by the individual. With this definition, Adler avoided a dichotomy between the unconscious and the conscious, which he saw as two cooperathig parts of the same unified system. Conscious thoughts are those that are understood and regarded by the individual as helpful in striving for success, whereas unconscious thoughts are those that are not helpful.

We cannot oppose "consciousness" to "unconsciousness" as if they were antagonistic halves of an individual's existence. The conscious life becomes unconscious as soon as we fail to understand it—and as soon as we understand an unconscious tendency it has already become conscious. (Adler, 1929/1964, p. 163).

Whether people's behaviors lead to a healthy or an unhealthy style of life depends on the degree of social interest that they developed during their childhood years.

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