Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
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JUNG'S ANALYTICAL INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

To get a grasp of Jung's approach to the interpretation of dreams {and the basic of how I interpret dreams} here is a brief overview of Jung's Analytical Interpretation of Dreams

JUNG'S ANALYTICAL INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

From Dreams as Viewed by Freud and Jung

Carl Gustav Jung is a scientist, who assigned more importance to dreams and dream work as perhaps no other of his colleagues. His father studied theology due to financial problems,5 which is why he later began to have doubts as to whether the knowledge he was passing on to others was true or not. Therefore the father influenced on his young son Carl so that he soon started to deal with metaphysical questions. In his writing Jung showed the close parallels between ancient myths and dreams. Jung explained the relationship between the unconscious and conscious in his original way and proposed the now well-known idea of collective unconscious. "Ultimately Jung believed that by understanding how one's personal unconscious integrates with the collective unconscious, a person can achieve a state of individuation, or wholeness of self." (Vered 1997)

Much like Freud, Jung also emphasised the importance of interpretation of dreams in therapy. The most significant dream is that from the night before a patient visit the therapist. This dream is so called initial dream.

Initial dream


The interpretation of initial dream is so important because there is a good chance that the main problem of patient will be discovered right at the beginning of therapy. Jung, too, claimed that dreams are psychic phenomenon and that they can mirror central conflict of dreamer. All dreams at certain point in our life, Jung held, "reflect our life situation until we seriously start to concern ourselves with it, that is, so long as we do not draw back completely or remove it." (Bras 1977: 206)

We all know how concerns, problems or excitement can occupy our mind just before we fall asleep. For instance, as we may put it, a boy who is going on a trip tomorrow, will hardly think of anything else because of his excitement. It is also very likely that once he manages to fall asleep, his dreams will contain elements of the trip he is about to have when he will wake up.

It is not easy to decide to visit the therapist. The state of alert mind, which is caused by the importance of the event, can produce a strong impulse for the manifestation of patient's conflict in dreams. Furthermore, such dreams usually contain a prognosis: ways of resolving the conflict, possible troubles and even final result.

Jung claimed, that all dreams in certain time frame express most important internal process of person, namely some conflict or complex, even when there is no obvious interconnection between respective dreams. All dreams will be pointing at conflict that the dreamer should become conscious of, and remove it. This of course does not mean that each and every dream reflects conflicting psychic state, nor that people who do not remember dreams do not have any conflicts. Special importance must be put on repeating dreams, which as a rule deal with the same conflict but from different points of view. A series of dreams actually indicates more complex conflict; "dreams show that we rightly hesitate in some situation, or we cannot avoid it, and they always point in same direction – at same solution." (Bras 1977: 206).

Jung is of the opinion that precise dream record is a basis and a minimum for every dream interpretation. The patient must not leave out, beautify or in any other way deform dream material. Only such material is the real text of subconsciousness. S/he must also tell as many details according to certain dream element as possible (what, who, where, when, why, how… . The therapist's task then, is to carefully write down all these details as they suggest the direction of main dream flow. In case that patient does not remember some part of dream, s/he will be asked to use imagination. The ideas that patient tells are psychotic fantasies, which are coming directly from the subconsciousness and move around the central problem.

Even when the therapist gathered and processed dream material, s/he cannot know the meaning of dream. It is impossible to adequately explain a dream without patient's cooperation and being acquainted with patient's life situation (e.g. social status, buisness worries, economic and marital status, social aspirations, inteligence… . The therapist begins interpretation with easier and more evident parts of dream. With patient's help, s/he then moves further on more difficult and complicated parts. It is important to notice the sequence of dream events, since they are interconnected, and hence the relation between them reveals the meaning of dream. Jung discovered that a course of events in dreams is similar to that in a stage play.

Dramatic structure of dreams


The majority of dreams are composed of four parts or phases, pretty much like in drama. Firstly, we need to figure out the scene and time of dream as well as dramatis personae. In first phase, which can be regarded as the exposition, the initial situation (setting) is represented – already pointing at central conflict expressed in dream. The second phase is the plot and contains something new (essential change), which leads the dream in the third phase: the culmination. In this phase the most critical things happen, which bring the dream to a closure: the fourth phase or denouement. Jung attributed extraordinary significance to the end of dream. The end of dream is so important, Jung held, because we cannot consciously influence on the outcome (i.e. change the end), and dreams so reflect the real situation. "Nature is often obscure or impenetrable, but she is not, like man, deceitful. We must therefore take it that the dream is just what it pretends to be, neither more nor less. If it shows something in a negative light, there is no reason for assuming that it is meant positively."6

According to the end of dream, he discriminated between favourable and unfavourable dreams. If we were to reverse the well-known proverb, then for dreams we may say that a good end makes a good beginning. Favourable dreams have quieting effect and direct us to the most constructive ways of solving problems. On the contrary, unfavourable dreams contain a warning of, perhaps life important, negative changes. Hence dreams can be said to have a prospective function; they warn us about bright or dark future. Favourable or unfavourable end of dream, however, must not be taken as a final and absolute meaning of dream. This can be done only after several interconnected dreams.

Archetypes


Dreams are also an expression of collective generic experiences, which refer to basic life problems and manifest in terms of symbols and myths – thoughts and memories shared by all humanity. The interpreter of dreams must therefore be familiar with various myths, religions, cults, rituals and fairy tales in order to fully understand the meaning of dreams. These mythological motifs, which can be found in dreams, Jung called archetypes. Archetypes or primordal images are "specific forms and pictorial relationships, which did not only consistently appear in all ages and in all latitudes, but also appear in individual dreams, fantasies, visions and ideas." (Jung 1978: 396) This observation led Jung to think that there exists collective unconsciousness – the sum of all experiences that human race acquired in its phylogenetic development. The access to collective unconsciousness is particularly easy, when a person has to take an important decision or is in life situation, crucial for his/her personal growth. S/he gets a suggestion from the collective unconsciousness in form of archetypal situation. If that happens in dream, then such dream is called the big dream, which "is expressed in language of universal human experiences, condensed in rich, vivid symbols, in eternal ancient images that [sic] overwhelm us completely." (Bras 1977: 17 Wide knowledge is required when interpreting the big dreams. This knowledge, however, cannot be simply memorized; it can only be an insight into experiences of the person who uses it.

The gender of dream actors plays an important role in interpretation of dreams. The actor of the same gender is the dreamer's shadow (usually regarded as the dark aspects of the personality) to which Jung ascribed basic instincts, responsible for unpleasant and morally inadmissible thoughts in dreams. The level of consciousness, which is in accordance with the dreamer's social role, is called the persona. "The persona consists of what a person appears to be to others, in contrast to what s/he actually is. That is to say the persona is the role the individual chooses to play in life, the impression and the way s/he wishes to appear to, and makes on, the outside world." (Vered 1997)

Dream actors of the opposite gender have an interesting role too. Such figures, which had formed throughout millenniums of men and women living together, come from collective unconsciousness as a balancing experience to help the dreamer understand the nature of opposite gender. Female figure that appears in dreams of men is called the anima, while same male figure is called the animus.

"Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, an hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system of the man, an imprint or "archetype" of all the ancestral experiences of the female, a deposit, as it were, of all the impressions ever made by woman - in short, an inherited system of psychic adaptation. Even if no women existed, it would still be possible, at any given time, to deduce from this unconscious image exactly how a woman would have to be constituted psychically. The same is true of the woman: she too has her inborn image of man."7



The features of anima are expressed in archetype of extremely attractive girl, strict, cold seductress and a beauty… And the features of animus in archetype of a sailor, wise old man, an officer, a doctor… Or to illustrate the two archetypes with Jung's words: "When animus and anima meet, the animus draws his sword of power and the anima ejects her poison of illusion and seduction. The outcome need not always be negative, since the two are equally likely to fall in love (a special instance of love at first sight)."8

A king, the pope, a commander-in-chief and a dictator symbolize the "big man". A queen or female judge and similar figures symbolize the creators of our faith.

"Archetypes are complexes of experience that come upon us like fate, and their effects are felt in our most personal life. The anima no longer crosses our path as a goddess, but, it may be, as an intimately personal misadventure, or perhaps as our best venture. When, for instance, a highly esteemed professor in his seventies abandons his family and runs off with a young red-headed actress, we know that the gods have claimed another victim."9



Objective and subjective level of interpretation


It is often observed that in dreams, people who we otherwise know good, behave differently than it is typical for them. Objective levelof interpretation enables us to discover the dreamer's true relation to these persons. In other words, in dreams the dreamer expresses his/her relationship to the person s/he knows. When we connect dream content with everyday life situation, we discover that dream relationship is not necessarily the same. For instance, our relationship to person, who we overvalue in wakening state, may be undervalued in dreams. This is to understand as suggestion that less respectful relationship could bring a better social intercourse.

When however, the relationship is not apparent to us, namely does not connect with the dream story, then we interpret dreams from subjective level. In this case, we search for dreamer's qualities projected into other dream persons. The dreamer is shown his/her own tendencies of characther, to which s/he did not devote enough attention. Hence, the subjective level of interpretation helps to recognize the dreamer's own points of view.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 61 Murfreesboro, Tn. USA

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