A plumber dreamed that he encountered an enormous spider in a crawl space. He was trying to destroy it, but decided to reason with it instead. That’s when it turned into a teddy bear. His dream had images of fear and panic. Much of the story had to do with understanding that he simply couldn’t fight it, and that he had to figure out some other solution in order to insure his own safety and comfort.
What dreams are about
Dreams are multi-faceted. They can be seen on so many levels. When dreams are worked with in therapy, many therapeutic approaches don’t even deal with symbols at all. They deal with emotional content, or they attempt to facilitate an interaction between the dreamer and the dream.
I recently finished reading a book which offered synopses of over a dozen professional, therapeutic approaches to dream work. What was interesting was that, despite a wide range of approaches, all the techniques had validity and were successful. And although some of them avoided working with symbols, every single one of them acknowledged the fact that dreams communicate in the language of metaphor. Further, every one of the practitioners interviewed insisted that the only person who can really explain the meaning of a dream’s metaphor is the dreamer!
Our dreamer explains his dream
So it is time to give our own dreamer his voice, and ask him if the metaphors that he was able to associate with his dream have a particular meaning for him. What follows is his own analysis:
I gotta start by saying that this whole process has been amazing to me. I almost can’t believe we ended up talking about facing some fears when the dream was so weird and was about spiders and toys. But, yeah, it makes perfect sense to me.
You asked me what the biggest issue on my mind is these days, and I think it’s about my retirement. I’m getting older, and I don’t like it. It’s like everything that I think of as being a useful person is about to end. You know, they’re going to “put me out to pasture.” The odd thing is that I don’t think I’m going to mind not having to work in all of these inconvenient places and torturing myself into uncomfortable positions, but like I said, it bugs me that I’m not going to be contributing something helpful. You know what I mean?
But the dream’s right: I can’t fight it, and I can’t run away from it. So the only thing left to do is to try and work with my own uncomfortable feelings. And maybe the dream is right again, that if I do work with my worries, they’ll shrink from a monstrous spider into a teddy bear. [He laughs.]
I asked him if he had any hobbies or interests. He said he loved his children—now grown—and loved to fly model planes. Maybe he could mentor kids, teaching them to make model planes, I suggested.
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