The Conscious Critical Faculty.
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So in this post we will be taking a look at what we call the conscious critical faculty, or CCF for short (as let’s be honest, it a bit of a mouthful!)
Let’s get started….
The conscious critical faculty more commonly referred to as the CCF is a part of the mind which begins to form between the ages of 8 – 9 years old. It is best described as the filter that exists between the conscious and subconscious mind. The CCF works by drawing on information from our stored knowledge (sometimes called our belief system) and uses it to assess the situation in front of us. It then decides if the event can be dealt with by the subconscious or needs to be passed to the conscious mind. Unfortunately, the information entered into the belief system is not always correct and this can be a cause of a lot of problems and issues. The belief system can be divided into two further sets which are external beliefs and internal beliefs. External beliefs are those that relate to the world around us and our environment; grass is green or the sea is blue. Internal beliefs are acquired as we grow and are based on what people tell us about ourselves and our own opinion of our personality. It is the internal belief system that can be the cause of a lot of problems and issues. If, for example we are told as a child that we are stupid and not very bright, then eventually this will be set as an internal belief and the individual will go out into the world with this opinion of themselves. It is very easy to see how this belief would have a negative effect on someone’s life. A good example would be if someone with this internal belief was offered a promotion at work, they would refer to the belief and think that they were too stupid to be successful in the new role and therefore would more than likely reject the offer without evaluating all the pros and cons. However, if we flip this around to someone who has a positive self-image and has been told they are smart and clever their whole life, then it is easy to see how the opposite would be true and they would face the challenges of life with a positive and bright attitude. These two examples are extreme and most of us fall somewhere between the two, however it is a good example of how the CCF works.
However it is not as simple as just telling the individual with the low self-esteem that they are not stupid and are in fact clever (oh if only it was, wouldn’t we all be so much happier in who we are!) if they have been told the negative over the years (and especially in childhood) and are then presented with the opposite opinion. The CCF will simply look at the statement, compare it to their held internal belief and kick it out as wrong. It is also safe to say that we will present to the world the person the internal belief tells us we are and so we will be treated as such and all this will do is reinforce the belief. You can see from this how it can become a negative cycle with the negative belief becoming self-perpetuating and reinforcing itself.
It is our role as therapists to challenge these beliefs with the correct skills to help our clients see that in fact, their internal beliefs are wrong and in most cases it is possible to help them change their beliefs to a more positive one. This can be a long and hard journey for the individual but it is a journey well worth taking as the results can be life altering and allow them to lead a much better life.
This is of course jut just one way of explaining the inner workings of the mind (and a quite simple way at that) and although it can be given many different names and formats, they are all fundamentally the same at the basic structure.
So that’s about it for today, I know this post is a bit short and sweet but I have a Halloween party to prepare for and I haven’t yet carved my pumpkin!
Until next time, thank you ever so much for reading.
All the best Tom.