I have recently learnt more about working with dreams from my clinical supervisor, a woman whom I admire for her intelligence, knowledge and the way she encourages me to think.
Dreams are both crazy and fascinating. When explored in psychotherapy it can lead to a better understanding of internal conflicts, unprocessed material and offer insight on a profound level. Anything is possible in a dream; conflicting aspects and feelings can co-exist. The sense of time and boundaries is free-flowing and completely subjective.
Our conscious minds repress a range of information and affect which would be too much to process by day. These normally appear in our dreams. Freud thought of dreams as wish fulfilment and used interpretation, while Jung saw it as compensation for what was missing in a person’s life and worked with the original images in a dream.
I am interested in how the unconscious seeks ways of communicating, not only through dreams but also in waking life; and how this manifests between client and therapist. For instance, the use of imagery and metaphor is a powerful way of unconscious communication.
Phillip Bromberg writes about the use of association in his clinical work. Often a client’s unformulated feelings or thoughts seek to find expression in therapy through an unconscious or telepathic communication with their therapist. The use of associations by the therapist in deep attunement with their client (when appropriately communicated in a timely way) can enable an internal dialogue between parts of the client’s self which seek to become more integrated.
“The road to the patient’s unconscious is created, and it is created nonlinearly by the analyst’s own unconscious participation in its construction even while he thinks he is simply observing it” (Bromberg 2011 p.86).