Introduction to Dream Work

Introduction to Dream Work

Concept of Dream Work – Detail of Blake's Inferno painting

Personal and Reflective of the Collective Unconscious

This week we will be starting a 4-week series on dream work and dream tending. Freud and Jung both played a significant role in the depth psychological emphasis on the importance of dreams and dream work. However, their orientation to dream function and analysis are distinctly different. In On Dreams, Freud suggests that dreams are a function of repression and “disguised attempts at wish fulfillment”. Freud believed in a more literal rather than symbolic dream interpretation. He emphasized the relationship with biographical predisposition and the interpretation of the analyst. On the other hand, Jung saw dreams as a function of the universal and biological collective imagery moving towards consciousness. They are an expression of the unconscious engaging the ego and producing opportunity for integration. Dreams are both personal and reflective of the collective unconscious.


As Above, So Below

The revelations of dream work are always through image or a sensory revelation of the psyche. We can use ethereal realities to repress or disassociate from the realities of the body, the beauty in our humanity, and the poetry of our dying. For some of us, we’re so busy seeking figures of light that we might be missing the wisdoms of the mineral soils and misty caves of the inner mountain. We need to recognize that transcendence avoids intimacy. We need intimacy if we are to experience soul. Soul is in the sweat, the organs, the tickling recesses of the mysterious other. The stranger within ourselves.  If the Egyptian adage, “as above, so below,” is to be taken into account, then we need to recognize that in our flying heights. So, too, we welcome our own death, our melancholy, our cavernous depths, and the stink of sulfur.


Getting to Know the Journey

Enter dream tending.  This process shows us the way in and down, as well as the way up and out. Specifically, it shows us our own unique way. In the mass shifting collective cosmic awakening, dream work conserves unique, enriching, deeply intimate, sometimes uncomfortable, but always beautiful work of the soul. In all our spiritual ascent, we find a kind of guttural human experience longing to be discovered.  The imagination is not something of fiction. In peeling back, reflecting and moving down and into the primordial images, we can see that all our organizing systems are structures of fantasy and experience.  We have to begin our dream work by recognizing that we are already living within fantasies. Tending to our dreams is a process of getting to know and falling in love with this journey.


Right Here, Right Now

One more thing I want to say about this journey. When the sailors of the West first came to the new world, the native Americans could not understand why these men were so preoccupied with taking. With tilling, mining, claiming, demanding, and pillaging the free land. Recognize that we are in a growth fantasy in our culture to this day. A belief that we are meant to grow upward, upward, upward, and then die. What if our greatest adventure was not to grow but to get to know the real experience of our being in this time. Not to take but to grow. Not to claim and dominate but to feel and connect purely out of the waking fantasy. It is a movement into the imaginal liberation that comes from this work. Always calling out to us, echoes of our true nature, from ancestor to soul path.

Typology: Archetypal Insight and Interpersonal Understanding

Typology: Archetypal Insight and Interpersonal Understanding

Typology concept _ artist's representation of a window into the mind

Opening the Darkened Caverns

In Integrity In Depth, Jungian Analyst and Typology Specialist John Beebe suggests that therapy engages typological functions of both the therapist and the patient. When we use typology and work with the 8 functions to understand ourselves and our patients, we open the darkened caverns of inferior and unconscious functions. These serve to strengthen ones understanding and insight into the process of individuation and psychological awareness. I add that engaging typological considerations offers opportunity to pause and see through interpersonal exchanges whereby we may better see bias values and perception to an ultimately superior degree of insight. Typology opens the doors to self and other inviting us to see our bias and constellating archetypal patterns.


The 8-Function Model

Let’s take a look at the 8-function model introduced by John Beebe for further insight.  What we are dealing with here is the auxiliary functions. That is, Fi (introverted feeling), Fe (extraverted feeling), Ti (introverted thinking), Te (extraverted thinking), Ni (introverted intuition), Ne (extraverted intuition), Si (introverted sensing), and Se (extraverted sensing). According to Beebe, the auxiliary function refers to the second position. This function is associated with the archetype of the good parent. What this means is that mothering and fathering, of self and others reflects what function one has in this position. Without a doubt, therapy engages parenting functions because of the supportive and change provoking nature of the work.


A Way of Perceiving

Typology is a way of understanding and engaging with different temperaments and functions. However, as Jung made clear, it is not an exact science. Nor is it a method for describing a human being in totality. Typology is a way in, a way of perceiving. In conjunction with John Beebe’s 8-function model, typology provides also a conscious way of navigating the lesser functions of ones own type and the types our patients present with. Not only is typology a way of understanding, it is also a way of navigating.


Engaging With the World

Utilizing a typological framework offers tremendous room for growth in archetypal insight and interpersonal understanding. If, with Jung we look through the functions and attend to the unique values of the differences in type there is great potential to evolve in our therapeutic relationships. If you’ve not yet done so, I would suggest taking one of the various free personality-type tests. They are readily available on the web. (Here is one of many.) Then read up on common traits of your particular type. Is it accurate? What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of your type? How can you use this information to better engage with the world?