When did dreams become something we all talked about? I’m sure long before Freud and Jung made it popular.
I could engage in deep research and find that answer. However, I’m not so sure it’s important in the scheme of things, we know we dream and that the dreams are often provoked by something in our waking hours. What I think Freud and Jung did do was, even within their theoretical mire, they in some way made dream interpretation a pedestrian activity. They made it accessible to everyone. Carving it up so that we could do a bit of our own dream interpretation and analysis. Now days there are endless books and resources to help us better understand our dreams.
In the work of psychotherapy, we are always looking into dreams and dreaming. I am regularly moved by the way in which a client might bring a dream into session and accurately interpret the meaning. It can be validating, though not always, thought-provoking and to enlighten. I always encourage dreams into the room.
Jung believed that dreams tell us more than they hide if we are to interpret them. As an analyst, he was very aware of the messages our unconscious holds. As a result, he felt that our dreams did a sort of assimilation of the unconscious and our conscious. He believed this studying of the unconscious activities of the mind was a part of the important process of us individuation.
Freud wrote volumes on dreams, using and dedicating the title Dream Interpretation on a huge body of scientific study into dreaming in the 1900’s. Along with Jung he also believed that our dreams were a part of our unconscious, and the foundation of our repressed wishes, so much so he believed it was the ‘royal road’ to knowledge about our unconscious. I would have to concur considering my own experience of dreams in my daily work
Dreams can be symbolic … making them tricky to interpret … goodness knows some of mine have been so symbolic I have had little to no chance of understanding them.
Dreams can also be ambiguous. I have noted over the years that there have been periods of profound dreams, periods of little dreaming and periods of knowing I dreamt but without any ability to recall those dreams.
If a client reports vivid, rampant dreaming I will occasionally ask them to write and start tracking their dreams when they wake … as it is in that moment in time, when we wake, that our dreams are most interpretable. I do this based on the theory of both Freud and Jung where they write that it is the unconscious allowing us into that previously unavailable space, on our journey to the individuation processes. I never what to miss that gift … though I/we often do.
I am currently engaged in writing a book which has become far more complex than I might ever have expected, imagined or intended. Right now, it feels a tad outside my bandwidth. While I struggle, read, thrash, research, eat, sigh, write, delete, write more and devour endless theoretical text’s my poor unconscious is obviously working overtime. As a result, this week that struggle threw me a gem of a dream ….
…. I was climbing up a sharp perpendicular rock face. I was at the top of the cliff with my hands and arms clinging onto the plateau where many people I knew, stood. They were chatting together, not at all interested in what I was doing. Looking back over my shoulder through some trees I could see another group of friends just milling about and talking among themselves.
I was desperately, but not fearfully, clinging on while my feet searched for some form of solid rock structure so that I could get a grip and pull myself up onto the plateau, to safety. I struggled for quite some time. Every time I tried to get my feet into something solid for leverage, it gave way to sand and rubble. I kept trying. I was tired but had no thought of giving up. Eventually I was able to use my upper body strength (a strength I didn’t know I had) to haul myself up onto the plateau to safely. I got up off the ground, dusted off my clothes, shook myself and walked off as if it had never happened. One girl, not a person I was particularly close to, but someone I liked said, ‘well that was a battle, but you got there’. I thought to myself; I usually do after a big struggle. End of the dream.
It was pretty obvious to me what that meant. This dream might also have been provoked and contributed a trigger from a random question that popped in recently. I had been talking and thinking about how I got to where I was with my part in this book with friends. I also recalled saying that I don’t talk to people about the struggle as I am sure everyone is jaded by my whining.
I’m wondering if you dream? If so, do you keep track of you dreams? Do you write about them?