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The heart of a dreams meaning

While learning to understand the language of dreams is an art form that takes years to master, there is one question that can almost always take you into the heart of a dream's meaning:

What is the strongest feeling in my dream?

While so many aspects of our dreams are dressed in symbol and metaphor, feelings are never disguised. They are honest representations of the feelings you are having, or not having, in waking life. Even if we don't have associations to a certain dream figure, we always know how we feel about them.

Source - Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home (Her Own Room Press 2017), p. 107.

Since the complex is the hidden emotional content of the dream, it determines the structure of the dream and so cannot be separated from it; but complexes often become personified in our dreams and naturally they are not recognized. They appear as unknown people with easily described characteristics, so-called splinter or broken-off bits of the psyche, operating, as it were, on their own. We ask for the dreamer's impressions of the dream:

  • What strikes him as significant?

  • What is the atmosphere of the dream – was it agreeable, alarming, interesting or featureless?

  • What conscious attitude does the dream compensate?

In this way, through his associations about the items in the dream, the dreamer is able to see the dream in the setting of other events in his life, and at the same time the analyst learns something more of the dreamer. This is how we would approach any unknown phenomenon. Amplification is carried out on a conscious level. This is in contrast to the therapeutic procedure of free-association, devised by Freud, in which the patient, relaxing on a couch, speaks of the first thing that comes into his mind and so allows the unconscious to express itself. Jung's criticism of this passive method was that inevitably it leads to the patient's complexes and the dream may not be mentioned. Free-association, as the term implies, may lead anywhere and a dream is not required to set it going. Naturally it is valuable to know of the complex or complexes; but it is also important to understand the dream and to discover, if we can, what the unconscious has to say about the complex.

Not infrequently, however, the dreamer is unable to give any associations. This happens when the dream is of an impersonal, collective character. By his knowledge of anthropology, of mythology, fairy tales and folklore, the analyst may be able to throw light on the dream. Experience shows that such specialized knowledge often "clicks" with the patient and that is how we know whether or not the dream has significance for the dreamer.

Source - E. A. Bennet (Edward Armstrong), What Jung Really Said (Schocken Books 1983), pp. 100-101.

Art: Alexey Kurbatov

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"If you discount the years of training, continued education, emotional investment, attention to detail, mastery of multiple theories and techniques to weave this altogether for each individual. Therap

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