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A woman in early retirement started taking melatonin to help her sleep. In the process, she began remembering her dreams. However, the dreams were nightmares until she managed to coax them back into a more user-friendly mode. (Scroll down to read the dream and our beginning interpretation work.)
She and I did the initial work of isolating symbols and discussing them. We wanted to discover the metaphoric association each one had for her. Now it was time to reassemble the dream. In place of her original symbols, I would insert the comments she made about them. I would also insert phrases to remind her that every symbol of her dream represented a facet of herself.
For example, where, in her dream, she describes a “desk or table,” I would replace those words with her explanation of them: “the surface I work on.” Notice immediately that the scope of what the phrase refers to expands. A “desk” is specific. But a “surface I work on” can be a reference to any number of things.
I also add the phrases like, “There is a part of me…” to remind her that the symbol is describing herself. As a result, “desk or table” becomes something like “There is a part of me that is the surface I work on.”
A retired woman’s dream
There is a part of me that is a hazy cloud—nowhere definite. Everything is amorphous. I am looking at the part of me that is the surface I work on. It’s recent, not historical. It hasn’t been around for long. It wasn’t made of organic things—things grown in my own nature. It was all made of manufactured artificial substances. But it’s a durable, practical, synthetic surface. It looks to me like an uneventful, nondescript, unexciting color. But it also has two useful work tools, mostly to help me with storing information and communicating with other parts of myself. The communication system is not in use so much anymore, but actually, it’s a system that is the best I’ve ever had. You can hear more clearly, and it tends to be more reliable than modern alternatives. And the storage part is for everyone in my own, inner circle of acquaintances. There is something personal and thoughtful about putting the information in manually. It’s more time-consuming to do, but it is also less mechanistic and more humanistic. And the information is entered in a way that makes it easier to find what I am looking for. As I observe, I see that everything, except what is of most immediate importance has disappeared.
At first this dreamer thought her dream made no sense. Yet, when you read the reconstructed version above, the dream suddenly comes into focus. There is a cohesive narrative with a beginning, middle and end. Although we have to ask the dreamer, herself, what she thinks this dream might be a reference to, it clearly describes some phenomenon going on inside of herself.
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