A psychiatrist uses his intellect and intuition to diagnosis and treat a patient. Theodore Reik, a Freudian era psychoanalyst called the intuitive part, Listening with the Third Ear. It means getting beneath the surface of what someone is saying, feeling what he feels, what he doesn’t feel,  and being able to decipher that his words may contradict what he’s actually feeling.

The logic of the unconscious, the part of us that is not available to conscious thought, has different rules than the logic of everyday life. A patient may insist that his father is a wonderful man, but then why does he forget his birthday, have an angry father-related dream, or a negative slip of the tongue?

Our intellect and the logical part of our brain (the left brain) is often at war with the intuitive and creative part (the right brain). Observing the war, both sides of it, is important. It gives us the chance to examine the invisible part of the iceberg that supports what is visible to the world.

We can all benefit from using our Third Ear. Knowing what we really feel and think is essential to being at peace and having good relationships. If our Third Ear is undeveloped, get to work! Take time to let your mind wander about issues that you suspect are troublesome, jot down your dreams, and don’t push away a feeling that gnaws at you. What you learn may be a clue as to what’s really going on in your unconscious.

It is work making the unconscious accessible to the logic of the conscious mind. It is work worth doing. Having a strong, functional Third Ear can change our lives.  Thanks!

6 thoughts on “EVERYBODY NEEDS A THIRD EAR, by Art Smukler MD

  1. The first serious book about psychology I read was Carl Jung’s “Modern Man in search of a Soul,” and it completely changed how I looked at life. It’s short, personal and anecdotal, and really explains how our subconscious feelings are woven into the every day narrative of our lives. After that, it was Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth.” There are no better sources that can explain the role of the subconscious throughout human culture and experience. And they are both very accessible, I think.


  2. Art,
    I like that third ear idea. I think you may have just solved my own dilemma. I like telling an animal or bird’s story. But before I can do that, i have to get under their feathers or their fur and understand what it is they want to convey. By employing your method unknowingly, I’ve come to some successes. My work is rather believable in the long run or by the time I finish spinning my yarns. LOL Cheers, I enjoyed this commentary very much. Don


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