Sophomore Seminars

Your Secret Mind: Getting to Know and Living with Your Unconscious

PSYC 53Q

This course will introduce you to the motivational unconscious. Drawing on recent advances in neuroscience as well as insights from psychoanalysis, modern psychiatry has been able to study the motivational unconscious in greater depth. Today, we better understand how unconscious attitudes, motives, and beliefs shape our decisions and everyday experience. In this class, you will learn the science of the unconscious mind and the techniques used to gain conscious access to these psychological processes. You will be introduced to methods of exploring your own unconscious for creative purposes and to help you understand your own habits, reactions, motives, emotions, and thoughts. We will achieve this through a series of in-class exercises that have been proven to be successful. Through a case-based, problem-oriented format used in medical schools, you will be encouraged to use yourself as your own case study by producing your own expressive writing pieces for analysis, keeping a dream journal, analyzing your art preferences, recording your slips of the tongue, and taking a look at your personal memes. Your privacy will be completely protected while performing these in-depth exercises. You will also learn about and have the opportunity to complete psychiatric questionnaires that provide information about your personality tendencies and unconscious psychological processes. When you have completed this class, you will have a foundational understanding of the science of the unconscious mind, you will better understand your own unconscious processes, and you will be equipped with tools to continue your self-exploration. This course will benefit future writers, artists, actors, those interested in psychology and in building their creativity, and those not afraid to look into the mirror.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Hans Steiner

Hans Steiner is professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, emeritus, at Stanford University. He received an M.D. from the University of Vienna. Dr. Steiner is an international expert in developmental approaches to psychopathology and integrated treatment. He is a founding member of The Pegasus Physicians at Stanford, a group of doctors who are also creative writers. Members of the Pegasus Physicians present their writings in several annual readings at the Cantor Arts Center. His current research interest is the application of humanistic methods to the practice of medicine. He has published more than 500 papers, books, and abstracts, and has received numerous awards for his research and teaching. He regularly speaks to professional and lay organizations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.