On Monday I began analyzing the recurring nightmare of a successful young Japanese-American physician named Suki. She has had this dream ever since she was a child.
I was walking along a sidewalk in my neighborhood. It was broad daylight and there wasn’t a lot on my mind. Suddenly, I knew that there was a huge monster right behind me, and he was going to grab me. I raced into the first house I saw. It wasn’t my house, but I seemed to know it well. I ran upstairs to one of the bedrooms and hid under the bed. The monster followed me into the room and was looking all around for me. I was praying that he wouldn’t find me, but knew it was only a matter of time before he did. That’s when I woke up covered in a sweat, really frightened.
Isolating and interpreting the symbols
Now we come to the “Tell me about it” part of the analysis: I ask neutral questions to help the dreamer come closer to understanding each symbol’s metaphoric meaning.
Tell me about…
Walking: Going from one place to another.
Sidewalk: It’s a safe place to walk where you won’t be threatened by traffic.
Neighborhood: It’s where I live.
Broad Daylight: It’s light; it’s the active time; out in the open; it feels safe.
Monster: It wants to destroy me. It’s a threat. It’s evil. It’s scary.
A house I know well: I’m hoping it’s a safe haven for me, but it’s probably not.
Upstairs: The higher level—more difficult for a “bad guy” to find.
Under a bed: I’m trying to find the best place to hide.
Praying: Calling on a higher power for help.
Only a matter of time before [he found me]: My prayers were useless.
Reassembling the dream
It was time to put the dream back together, replacing the symbols with Suki’s comments about them. I would also sprinkle statements like “There is a part of me” and “inside of me” throughout the dialogue to remind Suki that every symbol represented aspects of herself.
There is a part of me that is going from one place inside myself to another. I’m in a part of me that is a safe place, where I won’t be threatened by my other traffic. I’m in the area inside of me where I live. It’s light. It’s the active time inside myself, I’m out in the open and it feels safe. But suddenly I become aware that there is part of me present that wants to destroy me. It’s a threat. It’s evil. It’s scary. I go to a place in me that I hope is a safe haven, but it’s probably not, even though it’s on a higher level. I’m trying to find the best place in me to hide. I call to my higher power for help, but it’s useless.
In my next post, I’ll see if I can help Suki explore what this is all about.
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