The Depth Psychotherapist & the Meaning of Dreams
What possible reason could a depth case studies have to care about the meaning of dreams? Well, there are several reasons, as C.G. Jung shows us in the quotation below:
Dreams Contain Images and Associations
The language of dreams is fundamentally, uncompromisingly illogical. This can easily offend us. This language expresses itself through the power of images and associations which are not rational in the usual sense. Yet, if we can understand that language, the meaning of dreams can bring profound insights.
Dreams are Not Created by the Conscious Mind
Dreams come from the other realm — that huge portion of the human psyche that is not conscious. This is the source of their particular profundity. The /a-midlife-transition knows they represent the unconscious mind commenting on the attitude and outlook of the conscious mind and the ego.
Dreams Represent Psychic Activity Outside of the Will
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” So they say. But, is there a way that may be beyond the will? Personality outside the control of the ego and conscious volition? The great discovery of Freud and Jung was that, yes, there is. There is a whole “other” psyche, both at the personal, and at the instinctual-archetypal level that works in us without being under the control of the everyday conscious mind. The /a-midlife-transition knows this, coming out of a hundred year-plus long tradition, the roots of which extend back well before Jung and Freud. But today’s neuroscience, with its advanced empirical techniques, is confirming this reality — in spades.
Dreams are Actually Highly Objective
It sounds strange to speak of dreams as possessing objectivity. Yet, if we can understand their language, dreams give us a perspective on our place in life that is not contaminated by the particular tunnel vision and defense mechanisms of the ego. Like the sign on the map in the mall that indicates “You Are Here“, dreams give us an objective sense of what we are experiencing in our lives that compensates and supplements the perspective of the ego.
Odd as it is to find this message confirmed in popular culture, here is music by Billy Joel that is surprisingly apt:
Dreams are Natural
Dreams are natural phenomena, occurring in many higher mammals. Because they naturally occur, we can assume that they have an important role in our adaptation and survival. Doesn’t it make sense that we should pay attention to them?
Often, the role of the /a-midlife-transition is helping clients to understand and live out the wisdom of the unconscious, expressed in dreams, and elsewhere.