All Night­mare Long

Psy­cho­an­a­lyst War­ren col­man ex­plains what Jun­gian dream ther­apy’s all about

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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.”

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