Journeying Toward Wholeness

Vibrant Jung Thing Blog

Dream Interpretation in Jungian Psychotherapy: The Roadblock

December 22nd, 2010 · dreams, inner life, journey, Jungian, Jungian analysis, life journey, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, persona, Psychology and Suburban Life, Psychotherapy, The Self, therapy, unconscious, wholeness

I thought that I would try and say a little bit in this post about how a Jungian approach to dream interpretation might look like “in action”.  Here’s a dream motif that appears sometimes in psychotherapy, in one form or another.  It’s one that at times will appear in the dreams of my clients.  In rough outline, it goes something like what follows below.

A Dream Motif

The dreamer is trying to get somewhere.  Perhaps the dreamer is in a vehicle, like a car, or on a bicycle, or possibly he or she is on foot.  However, there is some obstacle.  She or he might have to go down a narrow path in her car, and there’s a vehicle accident completely blocking the road.  Or it might be that he or she has to climb an impossibly steep hill.   However, when the individual starts to backtrack, something happens.  Perhaps they are injured, or otherwise hindered. 
In any event, going backward to retrace his or her steps is well-nigh impossible.

The specific interpretation of such a dream would be unique for such an individual, to be sure.  However, there are still a number of important things that Jungian psychotherapy could say about its meaning.

1.  The Individual is Not Going to be Able to Move Forward Travelling in the Current Direction

Very clearly, the dream is showing us that the dreamer cannot move forward.  There is a barrier, either in the form of an insurmountable obstacle, or something that would take an impossibly large amount of energy to overcome.  The dream is clearly giving the message that the direction that the individual is moving in, with respect to the situation that is being dreamt of, will simply not work.  The individual may have been moving in this direction for a long time, or may have just started on this path.  No matter: the import of the dream is the same.  You can’t keep doing what you’re doing.

2.  To Try to Go Back to a Previous State Will Only Cause Pain, Exhaustion or Loss of Vitality

However, that doesn’t mean that the dreamer can just go back to something that happened in the past.  He or she cannot simply retrace his or her steps.   There’s too much pain, or too many cuts of lacerations, too much loss of life-blood.  The older way, the “regressive restoration of the persona”, as a Jungian would say, doesn’t work either.  The person can’t do what he or she used to do.  Life isn’t going to let him or her get away with it, at least not without paying a fearful psychological price.  What may be recalled enthusiastically as “the good days” cannot be reproduced in the present moment.  What is the individual to do?

3.  Something New is Needed

A standard Jungian dream interpretation would be that the dream is painting a picture of a person in a dilemma.  Something new is needed: a different way, or a different approach.  This is not likely to come about as a result of the individual “just trying harder”.  The individual is going to have to explore aspects of her- or himself that have been unknown and undeveloped.  From the perspective of Jungian psychotherapy, the answer will have to emerge from the unconscious.

Is There Anything Across Your Path?

Have you ever encountered a dream of this type?  Have you possibly had such a dream recently?  As I stated, this type of dream is not particularly uncommon.  With the right kind of dream interpretation, the unconscious shows us quite an apt portrait of a person’s psychological situation.  If you’ve had this kind of “blocked path” experience, I would really welcome your comments below.

Wishing you a deep wisdom to know the way forward on your personal journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

1-905-337-3946

PHOTO CREDIT:      Some rights reserved by lumaxart under a Creative Commons license

© 2010 Brian Collinson

Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)

→ 10 Comments

A Jungian Psychotherapist’s Symbol Book

November 11th, 2010 · analytical psychology, Carl Jung, dreams, Jungian, Psychology and Suburban Life, symbol

I’ve decided to do an ongoing  series of posts on this blog that discuss particular symbols, and their significance for analytical psychology and psychotherapy.  I want to do something that gives a sense of some key symbols that might appear in dreams, art and elsewhere in our lives, as perhaps Carl Jung would identify them.  WHY do I want to do this?

Simply put, because symbols are very important in human life, and have an enormous capacity to enrich human life.  They are also often poorly understood.  For one thing, a symbol is not the same as a sign.  To see what I mean, consider the following.

If you encounter this critter when you’re driving your car, there is really no mystery about it.  The meaning that this thing is intended to convey could be put into one or two sentences, the chief of which would be, “When your vehicle gets to this point, come to a complete stop, and then proceed when it is safe to do so.”  Or words to that effect.  No mystery there.

A Sign Can be  a Symbol

But let’s say that you encounter a vivid image of a stop sign in a dream.  Its meaning in that context may be nowhere near as apparent or as cut and dried as it is when one encounters STOP as a road sign.  Its meaning might well be a whole lot deeper, and it may carry a great deal more emotion — if for instance it is occurring in a dream that is about a key love relationship, or about a career that one has pursued for a long time, that is now threatening your health.

My example is a rather simple one, but I think that you’ll see my point.  A symbol is not at all the same thing as a sign.

Definition of a Symbol?

What, really is a symbol?  In my opinion, that’s a whopper of a question.  I think that people have some sense of it, but it is extremely hard to put into words.  Here is one definition, by Jungian analyst June Singer:

“the images which people create or discover as expressions of the not-yet-known”

Singer, June, Boundaries of the Soul, (New York: Anchor Books, 1994) p. xxxvii

This is not a perfect definition — it definitely has some holes in it.  Yet I think its heart is in the right place, and it points us in the right direction.

Symbols Have Emotional Power

Symbols can have tremendous emotional power.  When they resonate with us, they can affect us right down to our very core.  And sometimes, after we really encounter them, they can even change us, right down at the center of who we are.

I hope to have some fun opening up for you some of the key symbols, from a Jungian perspective.  My approach is probably not going to be systematic or comprehensive, but I hope that you’ll find value in the symbols that I bring to your attention.

Are You Concerned with Symbols?

Are symbols something that concern you, even if you don’t usually refer to them using that term?  For instance, do you ever find yourself  puzzling or turning over an image in a dream, and wondering  “What the heck does that mean?”?  I would be extremely interested to hear how symbols engage you. If you have a story or a reflection you’d like to share, let me know via  a comment or through a confidential email.  I’d like to keep this relevant, by discussing the things that matter to you.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst

1-905-337-3946 

PHOTO CREDITS: © Marek Pilar | Dreamstime.com ; © Klotz | Dreamstime.com

© 2010 Brian Collinson
Brian Collinson, 2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Oakville / Mississauga border)

→ No Comments

Is Attending to Your Dreams “Worth It”?

July 16th, 2009 · Carl Jung, depth psychology, dreams, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Psychotherapy, wholeness

Attending to Your Dreams 1 for Vibrant Jung Thing There are some people who might look a bit oddly at you if you tell them you pay close attention to your dreams.  To some people, in fact, it seems like an incredibly “flaky” thing to do.

Often, these people subscribe to the “daily regurgitation” theory of dreaming.  Their understanding of where dreams come from is that the mind sort of soaks up all the impressions and images from the day, and then at the end of the day has to wring itself out, or clear itself from all the accumulated daily grunge.  This “grunge disposal”, on their view, is what dreaming is.  “After all” they say, “I had a dream that involved Harry Potter last night, and I just went to see the Harry Potter movie two days ago.  So surely seeing the Harry Potter movie made me dream about it!”

However, dreaming is really not that psychologically simple a process.  It’s unquestionably true that the dream will use imagery or ideas from a person’s recent life.  So if you went to the Harry Potter movie yesterday, it might very well appear in your dreams.  But does that mean that the Harry Potter movie caused your dream?  There are lots of things that you experienced in, say, the last 48 hours.  So why would the dream focus specifically on this?  As opposed to, say, the time you spent stuck in traffic on the QEW or the scrumptious BBQed ribs you had for dinner?

To determine the answer to that question may take some real inner exploration.  ButAttending to Your Dreams 2 for Vibrant Jung Thing it can reveal a great deal to you about your unconscious and your inner life.  The answer will depend very much on what Harry Potter or the Harry Potter movie symbolizes for you.  That will depend on both your personal associations (e.g., if your brother is the biggest Harry Potter fan ever, the dream may have something to do with him, one way or another) and also on the more objective or archetypal meaning of the symbol (e.g., Harry Potter is very much an archetypal hero, and the dream may have something to do with the heroic aspect of yourself).

Conscious, careful recording and examination of your dreams will be “worth it”.  There is a great deal of your self contained within them, and they offer the chance to know your psyche and the hitherto unknown aspects of who you are.

What do you think about your dreams?  I’d be interested to talk with you about them, and to hear how they’ve been meaningful or important in your life.  

My very best wishes to you on your individual journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson


Website for Brian’s Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca 

Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

Get “Vibrant Jung Thing” posts delivered to your email using the “FeedBurner” box in the left column!

PHOTO CREDITS:  © Jiss| Dreamstime.com ; © Javarman| Dreamstime.com 

© 2009 Brian Collinson    

 

 

 

→ No Comments

Dreaming About the Self as a House

April 9th, 2009 · Carl Jung, depth psychology, dreams, Jungian psychology, Psychotherapy, soul, symbolism, The Self, wholeness

Carl Jung had the following dream when he was about to embark on a new path in his psychological work. The dream is of a type that is familiar to Jungian therapists, as it is a kind of dream that many people have, sometimes at key turning points in their lives.

I'll be interested to hear from people reading, to find out if any of them have had this kind of dream, and when it occurred in their lives.  Possibly you've had such a dream recently.

"Before I discovered alchemy, I had a series of dreams which repeatedly dealt Dreaming About the Self as a Housewith the same theme.  Beside my house stood another, that is to say, another wing or annex, which was strange to me.  Each time I would wonder in my dream why I did not know this house, although it had apparently always been there.  

"Finally, there came a dream in which I reached the other wing.  I discovered there a wonderful library, dating largely from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Large, fat folio volumes, bound in pigskin, stood along the walls.  Among them were a number of books embellished with copper engravings of a strange character, and illustrations containing curious symbols such as I had never seen before.  At the time I did not know to what they referred; only much later did I recognize them as alchemical symbols.  In the dream I was conscious only of the fascination exerted by them and by the entire library.  It was a collection of medieval incunabula and sixteenth-century prints.

Dreaming About the Self as a House 2

"The unknown wing of the house was a part of my personality, an aspect of myself; it represented something that belonged to me but of which I was not yet conscious…."

"The Work" in Jung, C.G., Jaffe, Aniela, ed. and Winston, Richard & Clara., transs.,

Memories, Dreams and Reflections (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), p. 202

 

In a time of uncertainty and doubt in a life, perhaps a time of economic anxiety, such dreams frequently come to people.  Jung's dream is a magnificent specimen and it illustrates how dreams can work to comment on, or as Jung says, to "compensate" the conscious position or attitude that we have in our lives at the time of the dream.
 
Jung's dream of a new wing on his house related to his discovery of alchemy, but the motif or theme of a new wing on our house, a door that suddenly appears and which leads into a new room — this is something that we find frequently in the dreams of people.
 
I would like to ask everyone reading:
 
What might be the "new wing in your house", the unexplored part of your personality?
 
Have you ever had a dream of a house, and a new wing or door suddenly appearing in your house?
 
When did such a dream happen?  What was going on in your life at that time?  Was it at a time of major change in your life?
 
I would welcome your input, comments and thoughts on these things.
 

My very best wishes to each of you on your individual journeys to wholeness,

Brian Collinson

Website for Brian's Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca 

Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

Get "Vibrant Jung Thing" posts delivered to your email using the "FeedBurner" box in the left column!

PHOTO CREDITS:  © Sorinus | Dreamstime.com ; © Jacus | Dreamstime.com

© 2009 Brian Collinson 

→ 1 Comment

Carl Jung on Dreams

March 6th, 2009 · Carl Jung, depth psychology, dreams, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, symbolism, wholeness

Dreams figure prominently in Carl Jung's psychology, and he has a great deal to teach usDreams for Vibrant Jung Thing about them.  The quotation that follows builds very well on my earlier post in which Jung reflects on the position that many people find themselves in at mid-life.

"Through scientific understanding, our world has become dehumanized.  Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos.  He is no longer involved in nature and has lost his emotional participation in natural events, which hitherto had a symbolic meaning for him.  Thunder is no longer the voice of a god, nor in lightning his avenging missile.  No river contains a spirit, no tree means a man's life, no snake is the embodiment of wisdom, and no mountain still harbors a great demon.  Neither do things speak to him nor can he speak to things, like stones, springs, plants and animals….  His immediate communication with nature is gone forever, and the emotional energy it generated has sunk into the unconscious.

"This enormous loss is compensated by the symbols of our dreams.  They bring up our original nature, its instincts and its peculiar thinking.  Unfortunately, one would say, they express their contents in the language of nature, which is strange and incomprehensible to us.  It sets us the task of translating its images into the rational words and concepts of modern speech, which has liberated itself from its primitive encumbrances — notably from its mystical participation with things….

A realistic picture of the human mind reveals many primitive traits and survivals…. The man of today is a curious mixture of characteristics acquired over the long ages of his mental development.  This is the man and his symbols we have to deal with, and we must scrutinize his mental products very carefully indeed….  Such are the people who produce the symbols we are investigating in their dreams…."

                   Carl Jung, Symbols and the Interpretation of Dreams, Collected Works, volume 18, paras. 585-588, Princeton: University Press

Jung's idea that dreams are a form of communication with our original nature is very powerful indeed.  Following his lead, Jungians are very careful to examine the meaning of dreams for the individual, functioning from the understanding that dreams are a kind of comment by the unconscious of the dreamer on the conscious stance that the dreamer's ego takes in his or her waking life.  This is an activity most successfully done with the help of a thoroughly trained Jungian therapist or analyst.

My very best wishes to you on your individual journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson

Website for Brian's Oakville and Mississauga Practice: www.briancollinson.ca ;         Email: brian@briancollinson.ca

Get "Vibrant Jung Thing" posts delivered to your email using the "FeedBurner" box in the left column!

PHOTO CREDITS:  © Alexander Kuzovlev| Dreamstime.com

→ No Comments

A Quotation from Carl Jung on Midlife Transition

February 24th, 2009 · Anxiety, Carl Jung, depression, depth psychology, dreams, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, life passages, Meaning, midlife, Psychotherapy, soul, unlived life

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm planning to add some posts to this Path in Garden for Vibrant Jung Thing Blog blog that are built around quotations from Carl Jung, in addition to the posts that are my own reflections.

This is because I think that Jung's own thoughts and language often have some very good things to say to us directly about what life is now.

A good example of this is the following quotation, taken from C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, a book which compiles many of Jung's public addresses and the experiences that other had in in encountering him.  This quotation expresses in its own way a kind of experience associated with mid-life transition and "the unlived life" that I recognize in many of my clients.  Perhaps you will recognize it, too.

"Take the example of a businessman — successful, rich, not yet old.  He is perhaps forty-five.  He says, 'I have made my fortune; I have sons that are old enough to carry on the business which I founded.  I will retire.  I will build a fine house in the country and live there without any cares or worries.'  So he retires.  He builds his house and goes to live in it.  He says to himself, 'Now my life will begin.'

But nothing happens.

One morning he is in his bath.  He is conscious of a pain in his side.  All day he worries about it; wonders what it can be.  When he goes to the table he does not eat.  In a few days his digestion is out of order.  In a fortnight he is very ill.  The doctors he has called in do not know what is the matter with him.  Finally, one of them says to him, 'Your life lacks interest.  Go back to your business.  Take it up again."

The man is intelligent, and this advice seems to him sound.  He decides to follow it.  He goes back to his office and sits down at his old desk and declares that now he will help his sons in the management.  But when the first business letter is brought to him, he cannot concentrate on it.  He cannot make the decisions it calls for.  Now he is terribly frightened about his condition.

You see what has happened.  He couldn't go back.  It was already too late.  But his energyThinking Man for Vibrant Jung Thingis still there, and it must be used.

This man comes to me with his problem.  I say to him: 'You were quite right to retire from business.  But not into nothingness.[Italics mine]  You must have something you can stand on.  In all the years in which you devoted your energy to building up your business you never built up any interests outside of it.  You had nothing to retire on.'

This is a picture of the condition of man today.  This is why we feel that there issomething wrong with the world.  All the material interests, the automobiles and radios and skyscrapers we have don't fill the hungry soul.  We try to retire from the world, but to what?  ….They are like the businessman who tried to go back to his desk.

….I say to him, "My dear man, I don't know any more than you do the meaning of the world or the meaning of your life.  But you — all men — were born with a brain ready made.  It took millions of years to build the brain and body we now have.  Your brain embodies all the experience of life."

'….Now suppose that I am in need of advice about living, and I know of a man who is already thousands of years old.  I go to him and say, 'You have seen many changes; you have observed and experienced life under many aspects.  My life is short — perhaps seventy years, perhaps less — and you have lived for thousands of years….

When I say this to my patient he cocks his ears and looks at me.

'No,' I say, I am not that man.  But that man speaks to you every night.  How?  In your dreams.'Aborigine Rock Art for Vibrant Jung Thing (2)

The psyche is much older than our personal existence.  The Self is a present reality if we are prepared to look for its manifestations in our own life.  Carl Jung knew it, and we can, too.

In my next post, I'll be continuing my series "Therapy: Pain Killer or Path to Myself", of which I've already published PART ONE and PART TWO.

I wish each of you every good thing on your personal journey to wholeness,

Brian Collinson, www.briancollinson.ca

PHOTO CREDITS:

© Beata Becla| Dreamstime.com ; © Riekefoto| Dreamstime.com ; © Jurgen Kleykamp| Dreamstime.com

 

 

→ No Comments

Middle Aged Person Traumatized by Financial Losses…

January 14th, 2009 · Current Affairs, depression, depth psychology, dreams, life passages, midlife, panic, Trauma, Wellness

Maybe you know this person, or maybe it's you.  When it comes right down to it …  who DIDN't lose a lot of money in the Fall of 2008?

Financial Trauma for Vibrant Jung Blog

However, the person we're describing thought that everything was going great financially, and that they were in investments that were "safe as houses" — until last Fall.  Then things suddenly and unexpectedly went south in the stock market, or in the housing market, and all of sudden there were losses — big time.  Right out of the blue things began to feel really insecure and unpredictable.  Hopes, dreams and plans that people had for themselves, or for their families suddenly began to seem threatened.

And the feeling overall was a feeling of being overwhelmed, and just plain helpless as things spiraled out of control.  Perhaps things started to seem very fearful, and completely out of control.  And the effect was so dramatic that our person was shaken shaken right to the core.  And it may well be that he or she (or you or I) realize that things just haven't felt the same since.

I'm seeing people in my practice who have been through just this kind of experience, and who are strongly feeling the need to find their footing again.  And I'm convinced that there are a lot more people out there who have had just this kind of experience who really need to be talking to someone and getting this kind of help.Financial Trauma 2 for Vibrant Jung Blog

As you might be aware, usually, when professionals refer to people who have been through trauma, they think in terms of specifically life-threatening events.  Things like life-threatening incidents in wars, or terrorist attacks, or very serious car accidents, or violent crimes, where the individual specifically feels that they are in actual, physical danger of losing their lives, or are subject to watching others lose their lives, or get maimed, or something of that sort.  But this is too narrow: experiences of serious financial loss that are experienced as threatening the well-being or economic survival of an individual or of those close to that individual have a traumatic character.

If you have experienced any of the following, you should be seeking out help from a skilled, compassionate professional:

  • Feelings of Being Overwhelmed – THis may be something you even experience physically, i.e., "limbs turn to jelly";
  • Flashbacks or Intrusive Recollections - A flashback is a memory that is so intrusive that it feels like the event is happening all over again; an intrusive recollection is less intense, but is a memory that can set off a whole chain of traumatic recollections;
  • Sleep Disturbances – Do you wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, or sleep restlessly and cry out in your sleep?
  • Nightmares – Do you have dreams that involve re-living the circumstances of your financial loss, or that have horrific content?
  • Bad Temper and Lack of Concentration – Do you find yourself becoming negative, argumentative, or easily irritated in ways that you were not before the experience of financial loss? 
  • Intrusive Thoughts – Do you find that your thoughts about the financial loss will simply not leave you alone?
  • Exaggerated Startle Response and/or Panic Attacks – Do you startle more easily now than you did before the loss?  Does the reaction stay with you for a log time?  Do you have panic attacks now, with sudden shortness of breath, severe chest pains or feelings of dizziness or faintness?
  • Avoidance Behaviour, Emotional Numbness or Difficulty with Intimacy – Are you avoiding people, feeling "shut down" emotionally or finding intimacy difficult, emotionally or sexually?
  • Increased Use of Alcohol, Drug Use or Comfort Eating – Are you using any of these things to block out painful reactions to what happened?
  • Depression or Traumatic Grief – If you find yourself sleeping or wanting to just do nothing, or confronting feelings of unbearable sadness since the financial losses, you may be dealing with depression or grief.
  • Guilt or Self-Blame – Do you blame yourself for the financial losses, or find yourself thinking "If only I had done things differently"?
  • Decreased Self-Esteem and Loss of Confidence – If you are confronting feelings of lack of confidence in your abilities, or of hopelessness, then it may be that the financial losses have impacted your self-esteem.

If you are experiencing these reactions now, and you have recently sustained serious financial losses, it would be a very good idea to speak to a qualified professional, as your losses may have triggered a traumatic response.  Please remember: the sooner you address the signs of trauma, the easier it is to deal with them.  You do not have to live with these responses: there are concrete things that can be done.

All the best,

Brian Collinson, www.briancollinson.ca

PHOTO CREDITS:

© Wingedsmile| Dreamstime.com

© Suzanne Tucker| Dreamstime.com

→ No Comments

Oak Tree… Mandala … My Inmost Self

September 25th, 2008 · depth psychology, dreams, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, mandala, Meaning, Psychotherapy, The Self, wholeness

Most of the analytical psychology of Carl Jung ultimately revolves around Vibrant Jung Thing Tree for Self Blog   the idea and image of the Self.  It is here that his approach differs from that of so many other psychologies.  What exactly does Jung mean when he uses this term?

He certainly doesn't mean just the ego.  For Jung, the ego is the centre of our consciousness, but it is not the whole of our personality.  Not by a long shot!  As he states,

…the self comprises infinitely more than a mere ego, as the symbolism has shown from of old.  It is as much one’s self, and all other selves, as the ego.  (C.G. Jung, “On the Nature of the Psyche”, in Jung, Collected Works, v. 8, para 432)

It's very hard to describe in a few words exactly what is meant by the Self.  The Self is, among other things, the sum total of what we are.  It's an image of a human's fullest potential and of the wholeness of the human personality.  In the words of Jungian Andrew Samuels:

© Ongchangwei | Dreamstime.com

The self as a unifying principle within the human psyche occupies the central position of authority in relation to psychological life and, therefore, the destiny of the individual. (Samuels et al., Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis, p. 135)

The destiny of the individual.  So the ego is not "running the show".  It may think it is, in the midst of its incredible, franticFaces for Vibrant Jung Thing Self Blog busyness, as it tries to balance all the demands of life, and to pursue its pet projects and seek its goals.  But there is more at work in us than that. 

Most people have had the experience of moments at some point in their lives of a profound truth, where we somehow touch on destiny and on what we are meant to be, and where we get a sense of something bigger than our everyday selves that is at work in our lives.  We can really "feel ourselves" at those times.  Some people may attribute a religious significance to such moments: some may not.  Abraham Maslow in his psychology speaks of "peak experiences".  Sometimes such experiences can come in dreams; sometimes in meaningful coincidences, what Jung calls "synchronicity".  At such times, we can become profoundly aware that something within us is striving to come into being.  Often people have the feeling that we do have a destiny, that our lives are moving toward something that we can only dimly intuit, at best.                                                                        

© Loveliestdreams  | Dreamstime.com

[Read more →]

→ No Comments

In Your Dreams

August 23rd, 2008 · collective consciousness, depth psychology, dreams, Halton Region, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, Meaning, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, Psychotherapy, symbolism, wholeness

Night_dreams_vibrant_jung_thing_b_3 Looking at dreams is often a part of Jungian analysis.  Jungian analysis, along with other forms of depth psychology, maintains that dreams are meaningful, and that the dreams a person has are directly connected to what is going on in his or her life, both right at the present time, and over much longer periods of time.

Shtirlitz | Dreamstime.com

Sometimes people are afraid of looking at their dreams, or sometimes they feel gullible or silly for looking at them, as if this wasn’t "practical", or "down to earth" in some sense.  However, it is interesting to note that this attitude toward dreams in our culture is at odds with the views of most other cultures, and even with our own culture in earlier periods of time. 

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews certainly believed that their dreams were meaningful, and this attitude prevailed in the West throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and even up to andDream_sleep_vibrant_jung_thing_3   including the Enlightenment.  It is only with the rise of "hard core" empiricism and materialism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that our Victorian forebears began to be sceptical about dreams, a trend reversed by that very hard-nosed and commonsensical empiricist and rationalist, Sigmund Freud. 

                                                                                                                                                                            © Dewayne Flowers | Dreamstime.com

Unlike Freud, who saw dreams as a mechanism for preserving sleep by keeping repressed thoughts and Dream_sleep_2_vibrant_jung_thing impulses from emerging during sleep, Jung believed that dreams represent an on-going commentary by the unconscious on the conscious position and attitudes of the individual.  For Jung, the unconscious is composed of so much more than just repressed contents, and it has its own wisdom, which can sometimes greatly surpass the understanding of the conscious mind.  If that is true, then we can expect to glean many important insights from understanding the contents of our dreams.

© Petar Neychev | Dreamstime.com

[Read more →]

→ No Comments