The Freud Museum


Is the unconscious like an iceberg?

Freud's account of the mind is often compared to an iceberg, because most mental processes take place 'beneath the surface'. Freud himself never used the metaphor. In fact, the iceberg metaphor can be very misleading when it comes to the Freudian unconscious. Ice is solid and inert, but the Freudian unconscious is always on the move. It is constantly trying to burst out, constantly being kept at bay by a kind of censorship, and constantly finding expression in distorted forms. The iceberg model overlooks the dynamic nature of the Freudian unconscious.

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