All Nightmare Long
Psychoanalyst Warren colman explains what Jungian dream therapy’s all about
SO, WHAT DID CARL JUNG THINK ABOUT DREAMS?
“He thought they were a kind of message from the unconscious part of the self. So if you can learn to understand the symbolic language, they can help you to grow, by integrating the aspects of yourself you might not know about. It’s about facing your demons.”
WHAT DOES JUNGIAN THERAPY INVOLVE?
“It could vary between just talking about your dreams to getting an interpretation of them. A lot of Jungian analysts might use a process that Jung called active imagination, where you might write it down, or draw, paint or sculpt – some kind of art embodying the dream. And also this process of having a dialogue with inner figures. A common idea is that if you’re being chased by a monster figure in your dreams, if you can find a way of turning and facing it, getting to know more about it, actually getting into a dialogue about it, you’re more likely to find out what it’s saying to you. Things are frightening when they seem meaningless. Once you begin to get some sense of the meaning, they become less frightening. And of course having a therapist there who’s a consistent figure helps a lot and also takes some of the fear out if it.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK AMALIE’S SCORPION DREAM COULD REPRESENT?
“It sounds like this is some aspect of her mother, but it’s also got something to do with her. It’s something that’s maybe poisoning her relationship with her mother, so I’d want to think about what might be scorpion-like in the relationship. Another way might just be to focus on the image, so other analysts might say, ‘Find out everything you can about scorpions, and allow that image to develop and see where it takes you.’ It’s interesting that the scorpion transfers from the mother to her – it’s something you can’t fight directly, you can’t just punch it in the face, something more complicated is needed.”