Friday, April 13, 2012

Jungian Psychology: Dreams

"The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends."
-C. G. Jung
What have I learned?

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Ways to reach the unconscious include association method, analysis of symptoms (i.e. by finding out memories related to problems), anamnestic analysis (reconstructing the development of the problem), and analysis of the unconscious - for example, through dreams.

Dreams use material from the conscious and memory to the deepest parts of the unconsciousness, speaking a “language of images”. Their function is that of the unconscious as a whole: compensation.

Interpretations of dreams must rely on the patient’s individual situation, conscious, and context; further, analysis must be carried over a series of dreams. Assumptions are dangerous.

Dreams that originate from the contents of the unconscious are often strange, difficult, and important because they signal upheavals in the unconscious that if not resolved can cause problems.

They can be reductive (make base) or prospective (anticipate success); they can lead to the “land of childhood” composed of both individual memories and collective instincts.

To analyze dreams, the amplification method can be used. It is more structured than Freudian free association, but uses the same general process to get to all possible meaning of dream contents.

Reductive interpretation, by contrast, traces dream contents back to one complex point that answers the question, what is the unconscious trying to tell you with this dream?

Vivid, detailed dreams belong to the personal unconscious while simple dreams belong to the collective unconscious. They often signal an over-differentiated conscious.

(While it is important in the process of differentiation for the conscious to move away from the unconscious, it is dangerous to deny instincts: the “infantile contents” must be raised to consciousness and integrated. Work with the individual unconscious comes before work with the collective.)

The dynamic tendency of the unconscious sends dreams and other content into the conscious, where they then affect the unconscious. It is always active and combines material in new ways; thus, it can be a guide. Dreams express the inner truth “as it is.”

On the subject level, the contents of the dream interpreted as symbols of the dreamer’s inner reality. This level makes use of projections, in which the unconscious projects its contents onto an object; the projection must be integrated with the subject.

Those whose individual psyches are not differentiated as incapable of recognizing their projections as such; hence, gods.

By contrast, introjection is when contents go from the object to the subject, as in adaptation of the outer world to suit the inner. The object level of interpretation says the dream contents show different aspects of something in the dreamer’s outer environs.

Symbols are images with both expressive (express the psyche) and impressive (influence the psyche’s activity) character.

They express the ineffable, that which cannot be explained adequately in words. Because they originate in both the unconscious and conscious, they address both as well and cannot be fully brought to light.

Individual mythologies are made of unconscious symbols, often linked to the collective unconscious. The active imagination, or imaginatio, is the process in which the contents of the unconscious are translated into images/symbols. It is related to shamanism.

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Next: how to become an individual.

Sleep well.

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