In recent years the
unconscious, the central theoretical construct of psychodynamic theory, has
reappeared in a new form in the scientific and clinical literatures.
Psychoanalysis has been called the scientific study of the unconscious mind
(Brenner, 1980), clearly implying both that the unconscious is the definitional
realm of study and that this realm is accessible to scientific analysis.
Although originally closely tied to the psychoanalytic theory of repression,
the construct of the unconscious is now being used across a number of
psychological and neurobiological disciplines to describe essential implicit,
spontaneous, rapid, and involuntary processes that act beneath levels of
conscious awareness. Yet, despite current significant advances in brain
laterality research, many clinicians and social scientists continue to hold
older and now unsupported ideas that the “primitive” nonverbal unconscious mind
is a miniature of the “more complex” verbal conscious mind, and that the
“nondominant” right hemisphere is a lesser mirror of the “dominant” left
hemisphere.