14 Chapters
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CHAPTER EIGHT: Bombs Away

Kradin, Richard Karnac Books ePub

This was the herald dream brought by a 34-year-old man in the first month of therapy. James was a rock musician who had achieved modest recognition while playing in local bands. He was a physically imposing man who seemed uncomfortable with his large size.

I am riding in an open Jeep. It is a beautiful day and I am looking at the flowers along the side of the road. Suddenly I hear a loud blast and see a mushroom cloud rising in the distance. I realize that a nuclear bomb has been dropped and that everyone is going to die.

Associations

“I was watching a program on television the other day about the end of World War II. I like driving in the country. That’s all that comes to mind.”

Freud noted the role of the “day residue” in dreams (Freud

1901).1

I must at once express the opinion that some reference to the experiences of the day which has most recently passed is to be found in every dream.

The day residue represents perceptions registered while awake that appear in the dream of the same night. Recent sleep research has demonstrated that patterns of neuronal firing associated with task-specific learning in rodents are specifically re-activated during sleep (Jouvet 1999). This suggests that memory traces encoded during wakefulness can reappear in dreams. In turn, dreams may be recollected upon waking, so there is evidence for bidirectional communication between waking and dreaming modes of consciousness.

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CHAPTER NINE: Shadowlands

Kradin, Richard Karnac Books ePub

This was the first dream of a 38-year-old man who presented with panic attacks and depression. Bob appeared modestly disheveled, and was nursing a beerbelly. He oscillated in his demeanor from shy and retiring to overconfident and overbearing. He had been referred to therapy because of difficulties with unexpressed anger. He reported his initial dream approximately one year into the treatment.

I am at college but I am trying to go home. I get on the wrong train and wind up in a black neighborhood. A black man approaches me and begins to take small things out of my pockets. An elderly black man advises me to say the word “ebonic” and that it will help me avoid being robbed. At first I ignore him, but then I take his advice and it works. Next, a large crowd of angry black people surrounds me but I am afraid to antagonize them with the magical word. They take my wallet and my power tools but somehow I get them back.

Associations

Bob was a defensive and frequently argumentative patient who expressed little interest in his dreams. He offered the following associations.

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CHAPTER TWO: Dreams in Theory

Kradin, Richard Karnac Books ePub

In her book Dreams (Von Franz 1991), the Jungian analyst Marie-Louise Von Franz describes how Hannibal, driven by ambition to conquer Rome, misinterpreted the meaning of his own dream the night before a fateful battle, leading to an ignominious defeat. Important scientific insights, like Kekule’s recognition of the configuration of the benzene ring, have occurred in dreams. Kekule described the image of a snake in uroboric configuration, i.e., swallowing its own tail. Upon waking, the scientist recognized that the carbon structure must be a closed ring.

Extraordinary works of art have also emerged in dreams. Coleridge’s epic poem Kubla Khan appeared in complete form in a dream. Coleridge immediately began to transcribe it faithfully upon awakening but the ending was lost when he was interrupted by a visitor at the door.

The importance of dreams has in general depended on their interpretation. But why dreams should be interpreted at all is a question that is rarely addressed.1 As the desire to discover meaning and to dispel uncertainty characterizes human behavior, it is possible that the obscure nature of the dream itself evokes efforts at its interpretation. But before embarking on how to approach dream interpretation, it is worthwhile to examine what is currently known about dreams.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: The Cook

Kradin, Richard Karnac Books ePub

This is the first dream brought by a 53-year-old woman whose chief complaint was difficulty getting along with her coworkers. Jill was an attractive middle-aged woman who might be described as “animated”. She reported this dream in the third session of the treatment.

I am four years old. I am standing in the kitchen of my parents’ house attempting to cook an egg. My parents are in one corner of the room and they are paying no attention to me. I am intent on cooking the egg. My parents disapprove. The egg breaks and flows down the side of the counter.

Associations

“This sounds like something I might have done. I was always trying to do things by myself that I was too young to accomplish.”

Although Jill’s associations to her dream were limited, I sensed that she was at ease working with imaginal material and that she displayed a degree of ego-objectivity that would help in building the therapeutic alliance.

Jill had previously been in treatment with another therapist for several years. She described her experience as pleasant but not very productive. It is advisable to determine a patient’s prior exposure to psychotherapy, and to inquire as to whether it was helpful, as well as to why and how it ended. At times, it may become apparent within the first sessions that the patient has prematurely left a previous treatment, in order to avoid working through unresolved issues, and might benefit by returning to it. However, I do not contact previous therapists unless this issue begs for resolution and then only with the patient’s express permission. Inquiries may reveal rigid negative transference responses that predictably will be repeated in the new treatment and that could lead to its premature disruption.

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CHAPTER THREE: Dreams in Practice

Kradin, Richard Karnac Books ePub

By virtue of having trained in both Jungian and Freudian theories and techniques, my approach to dream interpretation represents a melding of both traditions. Whereas I adhere to the Jungian viewpoint that dreams are transparent, my application of the insights yielded by dream interpretations tends to focus on personal and developmental issues as well as on their archetypal and spiritual implications. I try to orient my interpretations to the sector where personal and archetypal experiences intersect, what I term the zone of individuation (Figure 5).

Jung justified his emphasis on archetypal images by concentrating his practice on patients who had previously been analyzed and who he believed were suffering primarily from existential crises. In my practice, I have encountered few individuals who have adequately resolved their personal conflicts by mid-life, although many patients can work productively in both the personal and archetypal areas of experience. In addition, as an analysis progresses, archetypal issues seem to arise naturally.

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