I’m analyzing a waking dream about a workplace conflict. Here’s the dream:
A waking dream about a job conflict
At work, my boss has quietly let me know that I am up for a promotion. It will involve more responsibility with our company’s strategic planning. The decision isn’t official yet, but already there are hints being given that my fellow workers can consult me for planning decisions. Some employees come to me, ask for my opinion and accept what I tell them. Others willingly ask for my feedback, but then put up resistance, letting me know that I have no authority to advise them. Still others come to me, get my input, but then don’t know what to do with it. They tell me that, even though they like what I say, they’re going to go to my boss anyway. All of this is driving me bats! No one seems to know what my role is. I go home from work feeling really maligned and unsettled.
Isolating and interpreting the metaphors
The dreamer and I went through her dream description and isolated the important symbols. Then I asked her the neutral question, “Tell me about it” to help us reveal the metaphoric meaning of each one.
Tell me about…
* Work: It’s what I do to help me pay my expenses, and I find it interesting and absorbing.
* Boss: The one in charge
* Promotion: I’ll have a better job with more authority and more pay.
* Strategic planning: Helping to decide the direction that the company should go in.
* Employees: The workers who do the various tasks to make the business function.
* Planning decisions: We have to constantly make business choices.
* Bats: Upset, uneasy.
Reassemble the dream
Once we had the symbols reinterpreted as metaphors, it was time to reassemble the dream. We would replace the symbols with the dreamer’s own descriptions of them, and I would add words and phrases, like “There is a part of me that…”, to remind the dreamer that each of the symbols was describing an aspect of herself:
There is a part of me engaged in helping me pay my inner expenses, and I find this interesting and absorbing. The part of me in charge has let it be known that I am to be given more authority and more inner pay. I’ll be taking more responsibility in helping to decide which way I should go and what choices to make. But the parts of me that are the workers who do the various tasks inside of me to make all this function have a variety of reactions to this. Some accept it, but others put up resistance. Still others don’t know what to make of it and question my authority. This is making me upset and uneasy.
The waking dream revisited
Although a dream retold in this way can seem cryptic at first reading, almost invariably these “translations” leave a profound impression on the dreamer. We’ll find out this dreamer’s reaction in my next post.
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