August 1973 – This paper was written while completing my MS degree in Counseling, I had been in Jungian Analysis for three years. It became very clear to me that the unconscious factors available within Dreamwork would be a necessity for me to include in my psychotherapy practice.
“Suddenly we know who the Dead are. We are the dead.
We are the psychologically dead if we live only in the
world of consciousness, of science, of thought which
‘estrangeth from being.’”
Singer, Boundaries of the Soul, p.333,
quoting Carl G. Jung
I view this paper as an opportunity to further identify and expand what my unique values are as a counselor. I am aware of many specific expectations I have of myself in this future role, such as being open, flexible, non-judgmental, accepting, congruent, empathetic, responsible, facilitative, possibility-oriented, ambiguity-tolerant, and if I were to work with groups, possibly developing my own personal “bag of tricks.” However, for me, because of certain personal and professional experiences, I knew I needed and wanted more than the above, though to describe it was difficult. Perhaps it was an inner sense of knowingness I sought, an inner sense of wholeness I did not feel yet?
Two other class experiences recently had given me the opportunity to begin to explore some areas that had consistently bothered me during my years as a psychiatric nurse and teacher of understanding human behavior. These were what I would describe as a lack of respect for (upon the part of many therapists I knew) or knowledge of the many possible physiological considerations to be made in relation to understanding the causes of behavior problems, and secondly, what appeared to be ignoring of what I called “spirit” in the patient or client. The former I was able to explore in a paper for Mrs. Cochran and I now feel I have a stronger foothold in that area. (Pye, May 1973). In relation to the latter area, because I had severs E.S.P. experiences, a meaningful struggle through an illness and many numinous dreams, I began to wonder how I would help a person, such as myself, integrate these experiences meaningfully with one’s intellectual side, so thoroughly conditioned through Western, scientific thinking to ignore such “knowing.” Frankly, I didn’t know, but since the fall of 1971, these vague questionings had led me, through the acquaintance of a friend, to attend several seminars and lectures given by John A. Sanford, author, lecturer, and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal church. As I listened, carefully weighing his words against my thoughts and feelings, I became further convinced that I would never satisfy my own personal goals as a counselor until I could deal comfortably with the spirit, the numinous, in myself and others. Thus, on March 4, 1973 I began a personal commitment to experiencing and learning dream analysis with Sanford. I knew this would be both an experiential and intellectual journey. I felt excited and very determined, never really grasping, of course, the full implications of where it might lead me.
Sanford has stated in his first book, Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language, that we “unconsciously contain an image of what we should become and the psyche tries to lead each individual human being to fulfill this destiny.” (Sanford, 1968, p.150). Could it be that I had a specific image in relation to my goals as a counselor? I allowed the possibility to exist in my mind and soon an unexpected opportunity arrived.
Dr. Cummins did not require a personal paper on identity in his Identity Crisis class experience and I certainly had had no intention of writing one. However, because of the puzzling symbolism in the dream (Pye journal, March 26, 1973), and because of checking out Sanford’s suggested readings, I became highly motivated to investigate the essence of Shamanism, as it related to my personal experiences and identity. (Pye, June, 1973). It was both exciting and meaningful and much growth occurred for me, but more dreams have come, offering me new challenges and new information. Before considering the possible relevance of these dream experience to the immediate situation, let us consider the problem and some facts about dreams.
It was the purpose of this study to review selected literature regarding 1) some historical and recent findings about dreams, 2) two hypotheses important to the consideration of dreams as valuable in counseling, and 3) a critical evaluation of Carl Jung’s understanding of the dream.
SOME HISTORICAL AND RECENT FINDINGS ABOUT DREAMS
Except for the writings of Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung, the dream has often been considered to be a fairly irrelevant event, “a random, fleeting, and probably instantaneous experience dependent for its occurrence on such stimuli as ingestion, a full bladder worry, or creaking doors.” (Faraday, 1972, p.21).
Freud consistently believed and evaluated the dream as the disguised expression of repressed, unconscious content with strong emphasis on the sexuality aspect. He saw it as a facade behind which lay hidden meaning, “a meaning already know but maliciously, so to speak, withheld from consciousness.” (Jung, 1963, p.161)
Jung valued and respected sexuality but Freud’s “monotony of interpretation,” (Ibid., p.152) concerned him. He felt Freud “was blind toward the paradox and ambiguity of the contents of the unconscious,” (Ibid., p.152) and when “Freud announced his intention of identifying theory and method and making them into some kind of dogma, I could no longer collaborate with him: there remained no choice for me but to withdraw.” (Ibid., p.167).
Jung’s independence of thought did, indeed, cost him his friendship with Freud, as he chose to investigate what he termed psychic wholeness. He sough “its personal significance and geological function, its spiritual aspect and its numinous meaning, and this to explain what Freud was so fascinated by but unable to grasp.” (Ibid., p.168).
Jung defined the dream as “a fragment of involuntary psychic activity, just conscious enough to be reproducible in the waking state.” (Vol. 8, CW, 1960, p.282). He viewed the dream as “a part of nature, which harbors no intention to deceive, but expresses something as best it can.” (Ibid,. p.162). It is “the expression of an involuntary psychic process not controlled by the conscious outlook. It presents the subjective state as it really is. It has no respect for my conjectures or for the patient’s views as to how things should be. Burt simply tells how the matter stands. I have therefore made it a rule to put dreams on a plane with physiological fact. If sugar appears in the urine, then the urine contains sugar, and not Albumen or Urobilin or something else that I may have been led t expect. This is to say that I take dreams as facts that are invaluable for diagnosis. (Jung,1933, p.5).
Jung’s intuition regarding dreams as a physiological fact were confirmed unexpectedly in 1953 in the Department of Physiology at the University of Chicago when, quite accidentally, Eugene Aserinsky, one of Professor Nathaniel Kleitman’s students, noticed that “an infant’s eyes moved rapidly and jerkily under the closed lids for short periods during sleep.” (Faraday, 1972, p.21). This observation led to the use of electrodes (similar to those used in obtaining an electroencephalogram – EEG) for monitoring the electrical activity around the eyes in sleeping subjects. This record of eye movements was called the electrooculogram or EOG. Kleitman’s concurrent, night-long measurement of both eye movements and brain waves led him to discovery that people descend and ascend throughout the night through four stages approximately ninety minutes long. (Ibid., p.23).
With further observations of the eye-movement record, these same researchers noted that Stages 2, 3 and 4 had slow eye movements (these were labeled NREM periods for non-rapid eye movement) while in emergent Stage 1 (i.e., coming back from Stages 4, 3 and 2), the eye movements were not only rapid (labeled REM’s for rapid eye movement), but “binocularly synchronous, that is both eyes moved in the same direction as though the sleeper were watching a play.” (Ibid., p.24). Not only was there heightened cerebral and ocular activity during these REM periods, but also “the autonomic nervous system showed great irregularities in pulse and respiration rates, and in blood pressure. There was a higher rate of oxygen consumption in the brain, and males displayed full or partial penile erection,” (Ibid., p.24) while major body movements decreased.
The hypothesis that the sleeper could be dreaming during REM sleep was tested by waking the subjects and asking them if they were having a dream. The results were historic according to Faraday’s summary: “80 percent of awakenings from REM periods yielded vivid detailed dream recall, against only 7 percent from the NREM periods of sleep.” (Ibid., p.25). For the first time, through the objective measurements of the EEG and EOG, there was a way of knowing when a sleeping person was dreaming.
The word “dream,” however, tends to have a highly individualized meaning and for Dr. David Foulkes of Wyoming University this problem of dream definition called for further clarification. (Ibid., p.40). by changing his interview techniques in relation to the definition of a dream, he discovered that “something was passing through his subject’s minds on 87% of awakenings from REM sleep and on 64% on awakenings from NREM sleep.” (Ibid., p.40). This discrepancy in relation to Kleitman’s data led him to further distinguish the difference between the REM dream and the NREM dream. Faraday’s summary of this research is that, in general, the REM dream is “usually vivid and predominately visual in nature.” (Ibid., p.50) whereas the NEM dream, which we normally sleep through, is brief, vague, pale and colorless. It is interesting that in 1948 in Jung’s essay, “On the Nature of Dreams,” he distinguished between little and big dreams. (Vol. 8, CW., 1960 p.290).
According to Faraday’s summation of more recent independent studies, including studies on the newborn and congenitally blind, “REM’s appear to be fundamentally biological activity, part of an overall pattern of body functioning occurring at regular intervals during sleep.” (Ibid., p.27). Furthermore, “It is generally considered among dream researcher that the subjective experience of dreaming is somehow superimposed on this basic biological process and modifies what would other wise be an entirely random pattern of eye movements. (Ibid,. p.27).
It is now known that the average adult with at least three REM periods a night automatically produces approximately one thousand dreams a year. (Ibid., p.28). The 1/3 of our life spent sleeping provides an opportunity for self-discovery that we may not have known about or used.
A DISCUSSION OF HYPOTHESES, WHICH ARE CRUCIAL TO ANY EVALUATION OF THE USE OF DREAMS IN COUNSELING
“In themselves, dreams are clear – that is, they are just as they must be under the given conditions.” (Jung, 1933, p.8). In order for the reader to be able to consider Jung’s statement as valid, it will be helpful for him to review two hypotheses, which are crucial to any evaluation of the dream in the counseling situation.
June Singer, noted author and practicing Jungian psychotherapist, believes that the special value of the dream lies in the fact that it “comes directly from the unconscious and it’s not modified by any conscious wishes or desires.” (Singer, 1972, p.xx). The experience of dreaming, to her, “is the clearest proof we have that the unconscious exists.” (Ibid,. p.267).
Jung has stated that, “As a general rule, the unconscious aspect of any event is revealed to us in dreams, where it appears not as a rational thought but as a symbolic image.” (Jung, 1964, p.23).
Historically, it was the study of dreams that first “enabled psychologists to investigate the unconscious psyche – though many scientists and philosophers deny its existence.” (Ibid., p.23).
Nevertheless, implied in the above statements, is the existence of the unconscious as a living force. Jung describes it as “an extremely fluid state of affairs; everything perceived by my senses, but not noted by my conscious mind; everything which, involuntarily and without paying attention to it, I feel, think, remember, want; and do, all the future things that are taking shape in me and will sometime come to consciousness; all this is the content of the unconscious.” (Vol.8, CW., 1960, p.185) “Judging from all experience we do have a right to assume that the importance of the unconscious is about equal to that of consciousness.” (Ibid., p.256).
Jung acknowledged Freud as the pioneer who empirically demonstrated “the presence of an unconscious psyche which had hitherto existed only as philosophical postulate” (Jung, 1963, p.23). Freud’s assumptions that dreams were not a matter of chance were based upon conclusions of eminent neurologists of that time.
Jung, however, came to the conclusion that Freud’s views of dreams and the unconscious were too narrow and expanded his understanding of the unconscious, on the basis of his personal experiences, to be “the totality of all archetypes,” “the deposit of all human experience right back to its remotest beginnings,” “a living system of reactions and aptitudes that determine the individual’s life in invisible ways.” (Jung, Vol.8, C.W., 1960, p.157). In his essay, “On Nature of the Psyche,” he described the unconscious as a “second psychic system coexisting with consciousness, (Ibid., p.178) and in “General Aspects of Dream Psychology,” he concluded, “In my view, which is based on many years of experience and on extensive research, the significance of the unconscious in the total performance of the psyche is probably just as great as that of consciousness.” (Ibid., p.254).
Most dreams, with their source in the unconscious lack logic, appear uncouth, silly, of questionable morality and are seemingly nonsensical. Because the meaning of most dreams “is not in accord with the tendencies of the conscious mind but show peculiar deviations,” (Ibid., p.287) the second hypothesis crucial to the consideration of the possible value of dreams is that the unconscious has an independent function. Jung says this is so and calls this the “autonomy of the unconscious.” (Ibid., p.287).
It is just because the dream does not agree with the conscious attitude that Jung assumed that “the unconscious, the matrix of dreams, has independent function, an autonomy of its own. The dream always comes “with a purposeful intent from the unconscious.” (Sanford, 1971, p.103-104).
In reflecting upon the nature of unconscious contents and the value of personifying these contents in Memories, Dreams and Reflections, he consistently describes these contents as having a separate identity of their own. “Their autonomy is the most uncomfortable thing to reconcile oneself to, and yet the very fact that the unconscious presents itself in this way gives us the best means of handling it.” (Jung, Vol. 8, C.W., 1960, p.187).
Sometimes the nature of the autonomy is prospective. Jung preferred the term “prospective” to the term “prophetic” in relation to unconscious dream content, but described it as “something like a preliminary exercise or sketch, or a plan roughed out in advance.” (Ibid., p.255). The following statement perhaps describes the nature of this autonomy more clearly – “They are merely an anticipatory combination of probabilities which many coincide with the actual behavior of things but need not necessarily agree in every detail.” (Ibid., p.255).
I am reminded of a personal example in a dream that pictured me back in school, long before I had ever considered the possibility.
Sanford remarks that, “the unconscious prods, stimulates, cajoles, or seduces the ego into knowing.” (Sanford, 1971, p.103). once again, my personal experience with dreams would verify this matter of autonomy. It definitely contributes to the numinous effect of some dreams. Sanford suggests that it is the very “fact that the psyche takes the initiative in launching the knowing process,” (Ibid., p.101) that gives this psychological experience a religious quality.
CULTURAL RESISTANCES TO THESE HYPOTHESES OF THE UNCONSCIOUS
Acceptance of these particular hypotheses of the unconscious has grown, but is not widespread. Jung concluded, late in life, that “contemporary cultural consciousness has not yet absorbed into its general philosophy the idea of the unconscious and all that it means, despite the fact that modern man has been confronted with this idea for more than half a century.” (Jung, 1963 p.169). Regarding those who doubted, he said, “Whoever denies the existence of the unconscious is in fact assuming that our present knowledge of the psyche is total.” (Ibid., p.23), an attitude intolerable to Jung. As a part of nature, the unconscious, in his framework, could be neither limited nor totally defined.
Jung did believe there were historical reasons for this general resistance to the idea of the unconscious. Just as primitive peoples are deeply superstitious and fearful of novelty, so too, does modern man continue to react to new ideas negatively. Jung believed, “Consciousness naturally resists anything unconscious and unknown.” (Jung, 1963, p.31). Western man is so conditioned to his rational world that he can hardly imagine anything occurring that cannot be explained by common sense.
Robert E. Ornstein, research psychologist at Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, in his book, The Psychology of Consciousness, discusses “two major modes of consciousness,” (1972, p10) in man, the analytic or rational and the holistic or intuitive. He suggests that these functions should be complementary, but states that “we have separated these two modes of knowing into separate areas of specialization, into Science and Religion,” (Ibid., p.10) with the dominant mode of knowledge being largely “analytic, verbal, linear and rational.” (Ibid., p.10). In other words, the a rational, non-verbal modes of consciousness, including dreams and intuition (Intuition here is defined as an irruption of unconscious content into conscious) continue to be devalued in general.
Dreams “illustrate the patient’s situation in a way that can be exceedingly beneficial to health. They bring him memories, insights, experiences, awaken dormant qualities in the personality, and reveal the unconscious element in his relationships. So it seldom happens that anyone who has taken the trouble to work over his dreams with qualified assistance for a longer period of time remains without enrichment and a broadening of his mental horizon.”
Vol. 8, C.W., 1960, p.289
CHARACTERISTICS OF DREAM CONTENTS AS DESCRIBED BY CARL JUNG
IMPORTANT ATTITUDES TO BRING TO CONTEMPLATING A DREAM
Jung valued a open, possibility-oriented attitude in contemplating the dream. He states, “A dream, like every element in the psychic structure, is a resultant of the total psyche. Hence, we may expect to find in dreams everything that has ever been of significance to the life of humanity. Just as human life I s not limited to this or that fundamental instinct but builds itself up from a multiplicity of instincts, needs, desires, and physical and psychic condition, etc., so the dream cannot be explained but this or that element in it, however beguilingly simple such an explanation may appear to be.” (Jung, Vol. 8, C.W., 1960 p.277). Furthermore, “In order to do anything like justice to dreams, we need an interpretive equipment that must be laboriously fitted together from all branches of the human sciences.” (Ibid., p.278).
It is important to keep in mind that Jung was a pioneer, that his “concepts and hypotheses are conceived on as wide a base as possible (without making them too vague and all-embracing) and why his views form a so-called ‘open system’ that does not close the door against possible new discoveries. To Jung, his concepts were mere tools or heuristic hypotheses that might help us to explore the vase new area of reality opened up by the discovery of the unconscious.” (Von Franz in Man and His Symbols, p. 304).
Jung, in his goal to do justice to both the conscious and unconscious personalities insisted that “Stereotyped interpretation of dream-motifs is to be avoided; the only justifiable interpretation are those reached through a painstaking examination of the context. Even if one has great experience in these matters, one is again and again obliged, before each dream, to admit one’s ignorance and, renouncing all preconceived ideas, to prepare for something entirely unexpected.” (Jung, Vol.8, C.W., 1960 p.287).
Thus, because possibilities exist here without number, an open, non-judgmental, possibility-oriented, ambiguity-tolerant attitude is important for the counselor considering the use of dreams as resource. Singer describes such as a person as one who is able to “exclude his own projections,” “leave out his own wishes,” and forego “his own moral judgments.” (Singer, 1972, p281.)
THE PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS
Jung divided the unconscious sharply into two parts, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. These are important concepts to differentiate.
All the contents of the personal unconscious have at one time been conscious, and they are of exclusively personal nature. In his essay, “the Psychological Foundations of Belief in Spirits,” Jung described the persona unconscious aw “A whole group of contents, chiefly those which appear morally, aesthetically, or intellectually inadmissible with are repressed on account of their incompatibility.” (Jung. Vol. 8, C.W. 1960 p.310). This essentially was Freud’s view of the unconscious, though he was aware of the archaic and mythological thought-forms there. The following is the most succinct differentiation that I located: “The personal unconscious consists firstly of all those contents that became unconscious either because they lost their intensity and were forgotten or because consciousness was withdrawn from them (repression) and secondly of contents, some of them sense-impressions, which never had sufficient intensity to reach consciousness but have somehow entered the psyche. The collective unconscious, however, as the ancestral heritage of possibilities of representation, is not individual but common to all men, and perhaps to all animals, and is the true basis of the individual psyche.” (Jung, Vol.8, C.W., 1960 p.151-152).
It is the concept of the collective unconscious, which lies at a deeper level that has been the most misunderstood. Perhaps because its contents are universal, not personal and belong to the whole of mankind. It exists as “a second psyche system of collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals.” (Jung, 1971, p.60) – “it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all the world.” (Jung, Vol.9i, C.W., 1959, p.22). It “is inherited” and “consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic events.” (Jung, 1971, p.60).
Thus, the contents of the collective unconscious are known as the archetype, definite forms, always present.
The archetype principle of Jung’s’ resembles what mythological researchers call “motifs” – furthermore, Jung likens them to the psychology of the primitives where they correspond to “Levy-Bruhl’s concept of ‘representations collectives,’ and in the field of comparative religion they have been defined by Hubert and Mauss as ‘categories of the imagination.’ Adolf Bastian long ago called them ‘elementary’ or ‘primordial thoughts’.” (Jung, 1971, p.60).
The archetype is a psychic organ, no less important than our physical organs that “perform and continually influence our thoughts and feelings and actions.” (Jung, Vol.9i, C.W., 1959, p.79). It is “always an image belonging to the whole human race, and not merely to the individual.” (Ibid., p.161).
The main source of the archetype is the dream, the contents of which are spontaneous and involuntary, so that one can usually determine through questioning what seems to be revealed to one personally and what is not. The fact is that dreams contain images and thought-associations, which have not arisen from conscious intent. These instinctive trends or tendencies to form representation of a motif are the archetypes, which, charged with their own specific energy, autonomy and numinosity, speak out, heard or unheard by consciousness.
It is important to keep in mind that “There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life.” (Jung, Vol.9i, 1959, p.48). Furthermore, all archetypes have a positive, bright side and a negative, unfavorable aspect. They can bring life and creativeness, but they can also cause “petrification and physical death.” (Von Franz, in Man and His Symbols, 1964, p.216).
The archetype always lies within the possibility of being known, but, like all numinous contents, “cannot be integrated simply by rational means, but require a dialectical procedure, a real coming to terms with them, often conducted by the patient in dialogue form, so that, without knowing it he puts into effect the alchemical definition of the meditatio: ‘an inner colloquy with one’s good angel’.” (Jung, Four Archetypes from Vol. 9i, 1969 , p.5).
Intellectual acquaintance with the archetype has been a challenging task for me. The analogy of Jung’s that was most helpful to me in grasping the concept was that of comparing the evolution of the physical body with that of the developmental evolution of the psychic system – just as our bodies today show traces of earlier stages, so does the psyche. (Jung, 1963, p.348). I have gained considerable knowing at the experiential level by meeting the archetype in dreams, which I will discuss later in this chapter.
In this brief paper, I can only discuss a few examples of the archetype briefly. Four of the archetypes most commonly met in dreams are the figures of the shadow and persona, the anima and the animus. They have the most frequent and the most upsetting influences on the ego. The last to be discussed will be the Self.
SHADOW AND PERSONA
The shadow is the most accessible and in Singer’s framework of understanding is viewed as a “more or less autonomous splinter-personality,” (Singer, 1972, p. 192), the dark, negative, hidden, repressed side of ourselves that outwardly expresses itself in our projections upon others. Recognition of one’s own unconscious projections, Jung felt, was “a moral achievement beyond the ordinary.” (Jung, Vol.9i, C.W. 1959, p.9). He believed that our educational system had allowed consideration of the shadow figure in our belief that no one is 100 percent perfect. The shadow is also a common figure in cartoons.
In dreams the encounter with the shadow shows up as someone of the same sex as the dreamer, most usually expressing the opposite of our ego conscious attitude. The shadow demands knowing, for “it is a living part of the personality and therefore wants to live with it in some form. It cannot be argued out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness.” (Jung, Vol. 9i, C.W., 1959, p.20).
Jung’s challenge to wholeness was, “if we are able to see our shadow and can bear knowing about it, then a small part of the problem has already been solved; we have at least brought up the personal unconscious.” (Ibid., p.21).
The challenge to Singer regarding the negative side of the shadow is that “we cannot ‘dispose’ of dangerous or destructive aspects of ourselves, we can only know of there presence and how they tend to function.” (Singer, 1972, p.141).
There are positive as well as negative qualities to be found in the shadow, such as courage, dignity, strength and insight. The only way an individual can begin to take responsibility for their effects on others and on oneself is to begin to know their presence.
Shadow figures are usually related to the personal unconscious, but they can also express collective factors: for example, some of my personal shadow figures have been fellow female students, teachers and neighbors. Some collective examples are an old woman, an Italian woman and a Dutch woman.
Another figure that the counselor will meet in his own and other’s dreams is the persona. Persona was the name used to describe the masks worn by actors of old to establish the roles they played in the theatre. Jung labeled this stance or mask through which people relate to the world the persona and actually understood it as a mask of the collective psyche. It is the way we adapt to and deal with the world. In short, it “is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself as well as others think one is.” (Jung, Vol.9i, C.W. 1959 p.123). Persona “tries to make others and oneself believe that one is individual, whereas one is simply playing a part in which the collective psyche speaks.” (Singer, 1972. P.188). “It has two purposes: first, to make a specific impression on other people; second, to conceal the individual’s inner self from their prying eyes.” (Jacobi, in Man and His Symbols, 1964, p.287).
Certain behaviors are forced upon us by the world, “Every calling or profession, for example, has its own characteristic persona.” (Jung, Vol. 9i C.W., 1959 p.122). The danger lies in becoming identical with one’s persona and this is quite easy in Western culture for “the persona is usually rewarded in cash.” (Ibid., p.123).
Persona symbols in dreams are often cover-ups, such as coats, veils, hats, dresses, or tiny may take on the characteristics of a profession or trade, such as tools, or equipment or certain books, or they may be represented by a car or house or a variety of cultural status symbols. The task however, remains that of learning to separate the personal from the ego and eventually distinguishing both from the Self.
ANIMA AND ANIMUS
Not all projections belong to the shadow and persona, for when dream symbols appear as the opposite sex, we are confronted with the animus of the woman and the anima of the man. These archetypes are much further away from consciousness that the shadow, are much more difficult to become conscious of and are of especially great importance. Like the shadow, these figures behave in ways that balance the outer personality, exhibiting the characteristics lacking there. In a man, these are feminine characteristics, in a woman, masculine.
Emma Jung, in her book, Animus and Anima, isolated three factors of 1) sex 2) one’s own personal experiences with the opposite sex and 3) the collective image of the opposite sex that one carries, and described how these factors “coalesce to from a quantity which is neither solely an image nor solely experience, but an entity not organically coordinated in its activity with the other psychic functions. It behaves as if it were a law unto itself, interfering in the life of the individual as if it were an alien element; sometimes the interference is helpful, sometimes disturbing, if not actually destructive.” (Jung, E., 1972 p.2).
Whenever the numinous “woman within” (Von Franz in Man and His Symbols, 1964, p.177) appears in dreams, she usually takes on a personal form and usually functions as a potential guide to the unconscious if the individual will learn to relate to her openly. By personifying the anima one cannot only differentiate her from one’s Self, but come into relationship with her, rather than be possessed by her.
Woman is compensated by the animus, the masculine principle within. The woman who can recognize the negative qualities of her animus, such as harshness, recklessness, idle talk, ruthlessness and aggressiveness and who can then allow these qualities not to possess her has gained “an invaluable inner companion who endows her with masculine qualities of initiative, courage, objectivity, and spiritual wisdom.” (Ibid., p.194).
For the woman who cannot do this, the possibility exists that the animus will become “autonomous and negative” and will work “destructively on the individual herself and in her relations to other people.” (Jung, E., 1972, p.16).
Some of the animus figures I have come to know through my dreams are a wild boar, two old high school friends, a former neighbor (this animus figure dies in a later dream), a high school principal, a man with a gun, burglars, my minister and an unknown youth.
The concept of the Self was the central point of Jung’s research. To him, the Self comprised “consciousness, first of all, then the personal unconscious, and finally an indefinitely large segment of the collective unconscious whose archetypes are common to all mankind. (Jung, Vol. 9i, C.W., 1959, p.357). It is the true “centre of personality, a kind of critical point within the psyche, to which is itself a source of energy. The energy of the central point is manifested in the almost irresistible compulsion and urge to become what it, just as every organism is driven to assume the form that is characteristic of its nature, no mater what the circumstances.” (Ibid., p.357).
Von Franz described the Self as “the inventor, organizer, and source of dream images,” (Von Franz in Man and His Symbols, 1964, p.161) as distinguished from the ego, which is only a small part of the total psyche in Jung’s understanding. It is “an inner guiding factor that is different from the conscious personality and that can be grasped only through the investigation of one’s own dreams. (Ibid., p.162). Interestingly enough, how far the Self develops, she states, “depends on whether or not the ego is willing to listen the messages” it sends. (Ibid., p.162). It is the realization of this uniqueness in the individual, made possible by the submission to and connection with the ego that is the goal of the individuation process; for this process “excludes any parrot-like imitation of others.” (Ibid., p.217). To Von Franz, the Self was “the greatest power in the psyche” (Ibid., p.216)., because it carries the ultimate potential for both creativity or destruction.
It was through a dream that Jung came to understand that the Self “is the principle and archetype of orientation and meaning,” and that “therein lies its healing function,” (Jung, 1963, p.199) that of uniting the opposites, of being “a mediator, bringer of healing, that is, one who makes whole,” for the wholeness that transcends consciousness is “the Self.” (Jung, Vol.9i, C.W., 1959, p.164).
There is a wide range of symbols for the Self in the dream, but the theme is always unity or wholeness, and always encompassing the paradox of the opposites. Jung describes the symbolism in his essay, “The Psychological Aspects of the Kore,” as follows: “Because of its unconscious component the Self is so far removed from the conscious mind hat it can only be partially expressed by human figures: the other part of it has to be expressed by objective, abstract symbols. The human figures are father and son, mother and daughter, king and queen, god and goddess. Theriomorphic are the dragon, snake, elephant, lion, bear, and other powerful animals, or again the spider, crab, butterfly, beetle, worm, etc. Plant symbols are generally flowers (lotus and rose). These lead on to geometrical figures like the circle, the sphere, the square, the quanternity, the clock, the firmament and so on.” (Ibid. p.187) – “the unconscious supplements the picture with living figures ranging from the animal to the divine, as the two extremes outside man, and rounds out the animal extreme, through the addition of vegetable an inorganic abstractions into a microcosm.” (Ibid., p. l87-188).
Other possibilities are the horse, bull, bird, tree, stone, mountain, lake, mustard seed, pearl, hidden treasure, and heavenly city.
Finally, the depth and breadth of this archetype was expressed for me in Jung’s essay “the Psychology of the Child Archetype,” as follows: “The symbols of the self arise in the depths of the body and they express its materiality every bit as much as the structure of the perceiving consciousness” – “The deeper, ‘layers’ of the psyche loss their individual uniqueness as they retreat farther and farther into darkness. ‘Lower down,’ that is to say as they approach the autonomous functions systems, they become increasingly collective until they are universalized and extinguished in the body’s materiality, i.e. in chemical substances. The body’s carbon is simply carbon. Hence ‘at bottom’ the psyche is simply ‘world.’ In this sense I hold Kerenyi to be absolutely right when he says that in the symbol the world itself is speaking. The more archaic and ‘deeper’ that is the more physiological, the symbol is, and the more collective and universal, the more ‘material’ it is. The more abstract, differentiated, and specific t is, and the more its nature approximates to conscious uniqueness and individuality, the more it sloughs off its universal character. Having finally attained full consciousness, it runs the risks of becoming a mere allegory which nowhere oversteps the bounds or conscious comprehension, and is then exposed to all sorts of attempts at rationalistic and therefore inadequate explanation.” (Ibid., p.173).
It is an event for the ego to become aware of a transpersonal center. Edinger quotes Jung describing this experience: “When a summit of life is reached, when the bud unfolds and from the lesser the greater emerges, then, as Nietzsche says, ‘One becomes Two,’ and the greater figure, which one always was but which remained invisible, appears to the lesser personality with the force of a revelation. He who is truly and hopelessly little will always drag the revelation of the greater down to the level of his littleness, and will never understand that the day of judgment of his littleness has dawned. But the man who is inwardly great will know that the long expected friend of his soul, the immortal one, has now really come, ‘to lead captivity captive’ (Ephesians 4:8), that is, to seize hold of him by whom this immortal has always been confined and held prisoner, and to make his life flow into the greater life – a moment of deadliest peril! (Edinger, 1972, p.69).
If this even occurs, then a dialogue becomes possible between the ego and the unconscious, between the inner and outer experience and one “comes to realize that there is an autonomous inner directiveness, separate from the ego and often antagonistic to it. Such awareness is sometime releasing sand sometimes exceedingly burdensome.” (Ibid., p.97-98). Edinger cautions us in his reminder that the dialogue is not possible “as long as the ego thinks that everything in the psyche is of its own making.” (Ibid., p.103). The person, however who becomes consciously committed to this individuation process “is freed to a large extent from projections of the Self onto secular aims and objects” and “is released from the tendency to identify with any particular partisan faction which might lead him to live out the conflict of opposites in the outer world.” (Ibid., p.104). The great danger connected with this process of individuation is if the ego becomes identified with the Self. This consequence of inflation cannot be included within the scope of this paper.
AN ILLUSTRATIVE DREAM
My first personal experience with the Self archetype, that I am aware of occurred in a numinous dream. (Pye, Journal, June 7, 1973). Upon awakening and recording the dream, I realized I had attempted to interpret the dream during the dream. It took me approximately four hours, upon awakening, to be able to consciously move out of this dream. I felt an impact so strongly from this dram that my thinking side didn’t even seem able to function, except to know that this had been a very important dream. The dream is as follows:
I awakened from sleeping, feeling very nauseated. Suddenly, I began to wretch and vomited up, to my shock, puzzlement and horror what appeared to be a living creature. Frankly, I couldn’t believe it. It seemed to be fish-like, or serpent-like, in that it had a tail and it seemed slimy. My 14 year-old daughter, Karen, came in. She didn’t seem as horrified as I. In fact, she set about the task of nurturing the creature. I went back to be in a state of disbelief. After a time, I opened my eyes, only to see that Karen had put the creature in one of her empty aquariums. It had very bright eyes and, most of all was full of life. I still couldn’t believe it and went back to sleep in a state of shock.
In the next scene, I was in a class being held outside in a mountainous area. Dr. Cummins was the teacher. I became fascinated in the study of a very large magnificent rock.
In the last scene, my 12 year-old daughter, Kathy, and I were scurrying down a long, dark, basement-like corridor. We noticed a light shining from beneath a door and were drawn to it. We looked in to discover a secret church meeting. The minister, a young man I didn‘t know, was demonstrating the use of a hammer on a nail.”
I have wondered what I would have done with this dream had I not been in dream analysis. Perhaps it would have remained a puzzle forever, for there was no way I could have shrugged it off; possibly, on its strength alone. I would have eventually sought help in discovering its various meanings.
On June 12th I did discuss this dream with Sanford. There are many facets to explore, but, for ht purposes of this paper, I will only discuss the symbolism related to the Self, i.e. the creation, the fish, the stone and the secret church.
The birth ideation, Sanford indicated, may be “symbolic of a creative process that comes out of the unconscious.” (Sanford, personal tape). He suggested I review Marie-Louise Von Franz’s discussion of this process in her book Creation Myths. Von Franz says, “You find creation myth motifs whenever the unconscious is preparing a basically important progress in consciousness.” (Von Franz, 1972, p.13). Preparatory dreams with creation myth motifs come when the consciousness “takes a big jump.” (Ibid., p.14). She suggests that “practically all the important emotional states from which we suffer are collected in the different creation myths, as well as most of the primitive physical reaction with which we produce something: the sexual act and masturbation, spitting, vomiting, shedding tears, wherever we emanate something from our body, which is naturally the most primitive way of producing or creating something and has been used as a symbol or as an analogy for creation.” (Ibid., p.137).
The vomiting may also suggest that this Self may have something to say – i.e., there may be some relatedness to the “Word” here.
The fish is a fairly common symbol for Self, though this was a pretty grotesque fish. The rock refers to the alchemists’ “philosopher’s stone” and the secret church to the fact that the Self is a secret thing. I had never heard of this symbolism before, except possibly the fish, which I associated with Christianity. I only knew that I had, indeed, met something numinous and autonomous, and I kept marveling about the possibility that my ego may have been dethroned by this strange, incredible creature, who obviously had every intention of living.
Volumes have been written about the above symbols as representing the archetype of the Self. I can only hope to touch upon some meaningfully related ideas. I turned to Jung’s essay, “Concerning Rebirth,” where I learned the following: “The fish symbol is the ‘nourishing’ influence of unconscious contents, which maintain the vitality of consciousness by a continual influx of energy: for consciousness does not produce its energy by itself. What is capable of transformation is just this root of consciousness, which – inconspicuous and almost invisible (i.e., unconscious) though it is – provides consciousness with all its energy. Since the unconscious gives us the feeling that it is something alien, a non-ego, it is quite natural that it should be symbolized by an alien figure. Thus, on the one hand, it is the most insignificant of things, while on the other, so far as it potentially contains that ‘round’ wholeness which consciousness lacks, it is the most significant of all.” (Jung, Vol., 9i C.W., 1959, p.142).
I had thought I understood Sanford’s statement in Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language that “At the level of the dream, psychology and religion are inseparable.” (1968, p.41) and that a man wrestling “consciously with adversary in himself” – “will be wrestling with God.” (Ibid., p.167). In Jungian framework, the Self figure is the “archetypal image of God.” (Ibid., p.203), the fish-serpent being one of the many symbols for the divine. I searched further and in Jung’s essay on “The Structure and Dynamics of the Self,” located the following: “The serpent is an equivalent of the fish. The consensus of opinion interpreted the Redeemer equally as a fish and a serpent; he is a fish because he came mysteriously out of the darkness. Fishes and snakes are favorite symbols for describing psychic happenings or experiences that suddenly dart out of the unconscious and have a frightening or redeeming effect. That is why they are so often expressed by the motif of helpful animals. The comparison of Christ with the serpent is more authentic than that with the fish, but, for all that, it was not so popular in primitive Christianity. The Gnostics favored it because it was an old-established symbol for the ‘good’ genius loci, the Agathodaimon, and also for their beloved Nous. Both symbols are of inestimable value when it comes to the natural, instinctive interpretation of the Christ figure. Theriomorphic symbols are very common in dreams and other manifestations of the unconscious. They express the psychic level of the content in question: that is to say, such contents are at a stage of unconsciousness that is as far from human consciousness as the psyche of an animal. Warm-blooded or cold-blooded vertebrates of all kinds, or even invertebrates, thus indicate the degree of unconsciousness.” (Jung, Vol. 9ii, C.W., 1959, p.186).
There was no doubt in my mind that this fish-serpent was an alien creature from the deep.
The symbol of the fish in the New Testament, according to Jung, “is simultaneously an allegory of Christ and the devil,” (Ibid., p.245) a symbol of extreme opposites. He remarks how curious it is that the “medieval symbolists give diametrically opposed interpretations of the same symbol, apparently without being aware of the far-reaching and dangerous possibility that the unity of the symbol implies the identity of the opposites.” (Ibid., p.129-130).
Jung’s research took him into the developmental stages of symbolism. It was a surprising and meaningful experience for me to read about the following relationships: “Indeed, this serpent actually dwells in the interior of the earth and is the pneuma that lies hidden in the stone. The symmetrical complement of the serpent, then, is the stone as representative of the earth. Here we enter a later developmental stage of the symbolism, the alchemical stage, whose central idea is the lapis. Just as the serpent forms the lower opposite of man, so the lapis complements the serpent” (Ibid., p.245) “In the lapis, the counterpart of man, the opposites are so to speak united” (Ibid., p.244-248), for the lapis, “though of decidedly material nature, is also a spiritual symbol.” (Ibid., p.249).
For the first time I could see a possible relationship of scenes 1 and 2 in the dream. They were developmental symbols for the Self.
Jung researched the symbolism of the philosopher’s stone extensively in his book Psychology and Alchemy. The work is impressive. I can only give here a few quotations that were especially meaningful to me in relations to the stone in the dream. For example, “Just as the world came forth from a chaos confusum, so does the stone.” (Jung, Vol. 12, C.W. 1953 p.312-313). Certainly my personal stone (Self) has grown out of my own personal chaos. He quotes the oldest source that specifically treats of the stone’s connection with Christ, “the Margarita pretiosa written by Petrus Bonus of Ferrara between 1330 and 1339,” (Ibid., p.358), where it is stated, “This secret stone is a gift of God.” (Ibid., p.359).
For the alchemist, the stone was their inner friend. From the Bibliotheca chemica of 1702, Jung quotes, “The seeker after truth hears both the Stone and the philosopher speaking as if out of one mouth: The Philosopher is Hermes and the Stone is identical with Mercurius, the Latin Hermes. From the earliest times, Hermes was the mystagogue and psycho-pomp of the alchemists, their friend and counselor, who leads them to the goal of their work. He is like a teacher mediating between the stone and the disciple. To other s the friend appears in the shape of Christ or Khidr or a visible or invisible guru, or some other personal guide or leader figure.” (Jung, Four Archetypes from Vol. 9i, 1969, p67).
For me personally, the alchemical association at present has come to mean that I see and seek spirit in matter (people). Dreams since this one indicate I have further work to do in synthesizing my Christian-Alchemical opposites into a whole. Since both the fish and the stone are alchemical symbols that lead, psychologically to the Self, to Christ, to wholeness, the parallel Jung draws to Christ and the Self as a psychological one in his essay. “Christ, A Symbol of the Self,” is helpful: “Just as the ancients believed that they had said something important about Christ with their fish symbol, so it seemed to the alchemists that their parallel with the stone served to illuminate and deepen the meaning of the Christ-image. In the course of time, the fish symbolism disappeared completely, and so likewise did the lapis philosophorum. Concerning this latter symbol, however, there are plenty of statements to be found which show it in a special light – views and ideas which attach such importance to the stone that one begins to wonder whether it was Christ who was taken as a symbol of the stone rather than the other way round. This makes a development, which – with the help of certain ideas in the epistles of John and Paul – includes Christ in the realm of immediate inner experience and makes him appear as the figure of total man. It also links up directly with the psychological evidence of the existence of an archetypal content possessing all those qualities, which are characteristic of the Christ-image in its archaic and medieval forms. Modern psychology is therefore confronted with a question very like the one that faced the alchemist: Is the Self a symbol of Christ or is Christ a symbol or the Self?” (Jung, Vol. 9ii, C.W. 1959, p.67-68).
Jung affirmed the latter principle – i.e., Christ as a symbol of Self and specifically differentiated between “perfection” and “completeness,” as a result. “The Christ-image is as good as perfect (at least it is meant to be so), while the archetype (so far as known) denotes completeness but is far from being perfect. It is a paradox, a statement about something indescribable and transcendental. Accordingly the realization of the self, which would logically follow from a recognition of its supremacy, leads to a fundamental conflict, to a real suspension between opposites (reminiscent of the crucified Christ hanging between two thieves), and to an approximate state of wholeness that lacks perfection.” (Ibid., p.69).
This powerful drive towards perfection, Jung believed to be inborn and in the instance “Where the archetype predominates, completeness is forced upon us against all our conscious strivings, in accordance with archaic nature of the archetype.” (Ibid., P.69). Thus, the individual in seeking perfection will be forced to “suffer from the opposite of his intentions for the sake of his completeness.” “Like the related ideas of Atman and Tao in the East, the idea of self is at least in part a product of cognition, grounded neither on faith nor on metaphysical speculation but on the experience that under certain conditions the unconscious spontaneously brings forth an archetypal symbol of wholeness.” (Ibid., p.69).
The concept of the paradox and union of opposites has been a difficult one for me to grasp, but the following statement regarding the symbols of the Self was helpful to me: “These naïve and completely uninfluenced pictorial representations of the symbol show that it is given central and supreme importance precisely because it stands for the conjunction of opposites. Naturally the conjunction can only be understood as a paradox, since a union of opposites can be thought of only as their annihilation. Paradox is characteristic of all transcendental situations because it alone gives adequate expression to their indescribable nature.” (Ibid., p.69-70).
So it seems that this archetype of the Self brings with it a conflict of opposites with which I must reckon. Certainly, I experienced the numinous qualities of the dream deeply, and am really just now beginning to grasp and integrate its meanings. I know, for sure now, what Jung meant when he said, “It is the way of the dream to give us more than we ask.” (Jung, 1933, p.5).
As far as the secret church, as a symbol for Self, it is possible that it symbolizes the secretiveness of the Self. My association to the church is “Christian.” I can remember thinking, when we moved to San Diego that I would give the organized church experience one more chance to be meaningful to me and then I would half-jokingly say, if it isn’t, I’ll have to try an underground church. Jung emphasized that, “We are rooted in Christian soil,” (Jung, Vol.9ii, C.W., 1959, p.176), and I certainly feel that personally, but it hasn’t been enough. I find myself identifying with his statement that “The bridge from dogma to the inner experience of the individual has broken down,” (Ibid., p.178) for change has not kept pace with man’s growing consciousness. I liked being reminded by Jung that the church is built “of living stones.” (Ibid., p.224). Maybe someday, as the dream seems to signify, I can “hit the nail on the head” in my changing relationship with the church.
“Dreams, visions, fantasies and delusions are expressive of a situation.
If I do not understand the dreams, neither do I understand the situation of the patient,
and of what use is my treatment then?”
Jung, Vol. 5, C.W. 1956, p.144
THE POTENTIAL VALUE OF THE DREAM IN COUNSELING
COMPENSATION OF THE ONE–SIDEDNESS OF THE EGO
The first potential value of the dream as a resource in counseling lies in the fact that it introduces the point of view of the unconscious, which compensates the one-sidedness of the ego. The dream serves a self-regulating function in this way.
As discussed earlier in Chapter I, (specifically, the section on the autonomy of the unconscious, p.8), the dream often flagrantly opposes one’s conscious intentions, thus serving a vey specific, individual, compensatory or balancing function. Jung points out that this compensatory function “is often not immediately apparent because we still have only a very incomplete knowledge of the nature and the needs of the human psyche.” (Jung, Vol.8, C.W., 1960, p.250). For example, the opposition in the dream may not always be marked. It may only introduce “slight modifications” (Ibid., p.287) in relation to consciousness, and on occasion may actually coincide with consciousness. The point is that the term compensation implies “balancing and comparing different data or points of view so as to produce an adjustment or rectification.” (Ibid., p.287-288). The following analogy is helpful: “Just as the body reacts purposively to injuries or infections or any abnormal conditions, so the psychic functions react to unnatural of dangerous substances with purposive defense-mechanisms.” (Ibid., p.253).
Jung described three possibilities in relation to how compensation functions: “If the conscious attitude to the life situation is in large degree one-sided, then the dream takes the opposite side. If the conscious has a position fairly near the middle, the dream is satisfied with variations. If the conscious attitude is correct (adequate), then the dream coincides with and emphasizes this tendency, though without forfeiting its peculiar autonomy.” (Ibid., p.288). The compensation is always related to the whole nature and to the conscious situation of the dreamer, thus the possibilities are inexhaustible.
Jung warns cautiously that it is important to understand that while, in the majority of situations, compensation aims at self-regulation, in some instances, such as psychoses, “compensation may lead to a fatal outcome owing to the preponderance of destructive tendencies.” (Ibid., p.288)
In instances where the compensation seems remote to the problem at hand, “one must always remember that every man, in a sense, represents the whole of humanity and its history. What was possible in the history of mankind at large is also possible on a small scale in every individual. What mankind has needed may eventually be needed by the individual, too.” (Ibid., p.250).
Culturally, today, the phenomenal interest in the occult, spiritualism, metaphysics, and Eastern mysticism (San Diego Union, July 15, 1963) may well be compensatory, balancing condition, a natural consequence against the materialistic, causal, rational, mechanistic, scientific attitude of the West. It is noteworthy that in the East, the psyche or unconscious has always been perceived and accepted as autonomous, whether it be called the Universal Mind, the Buddha-essence, the Buddha Mind, the One or others, as compared with extraverted, assiduous, enterprising Western man, who, in his pursuit for “possessions, health, knowledge, technical mastery, public welfare, political power, conquest, and so on,” (Jung. Vol.11. C.W., 1958, p.483) has forgotten to build on and from his own inner man.
Jung’s concern, as the West acquisitively seeks this compensatory knowledge and technique of Eastern spirituality, has consistently been this obvious ignoring of the power of the autonomy of the unconscious, of the “guiding spiritual principle,” (Ibid., p.483) within. He insisted that “We must get at the Eastern values from within and not from without, seeing them in ourselves, in the unconscious,” (Ibid., p.484) otherwise we are once again just pumping something into “our barren souls.” (Ibid., p.483).
It was Jung’s belief that “just because of their compensatory behavior, a methodical analysis of dreams discloses new points of view and new ways of geeing over the dreaded impasse.” (Jung, Vol. 8, C.W. 1960, p.289). I certainly view my interest in learning dream interpretation for use in counseling as serving a balancing, compensatory function for me.
DISCOVERY OF THE INNER PATTERNS OF THE PERSONALITY
The second potential value of the dream for the counselor is that the dream “helps the ego discover its own inner patterns,” (Sanford, personal tape, July 26, 1973). The dream is always “in the service of wholeness.” (Sanford, 1968, p.210). Jung was consistently delighted with the choices the dream would make and was convinced that “The total material that is added to consciousness causes a considerable widening of the horizon, a deepened self-knowledge which, more than anything else, one would think, is calculated to humanize a man and make him modest.” (Jung, 1971, p.82). He taught that dreams “are our most effective aids in the task of building up the personality.” (Jung, 1933, p.13).
The possibility of enlarging the personality always exists. Most often this occurs by the new concepts that find their way into the personality from the outside. In fact, this happens so routinely, Jung felt, that we “tend to assume that this increase comes only from without, thus justifying the prejudice that one becomes a personality by stuffing into oneself as mush as possible from outside. But the more assiduously we follow this recipe and the more stubbornly we believe that all increase has to come from without, the greater becomes our inner poverty.” (Jung, Vol. 9i, C.W., p.120).
The fact is that if something from the outside does take hold of us, it is because something within responded and went out to meet it. Thus, for Jung, “Real increase of personality means consciousness of an enlargement that flows from inner sources.” (Ibid., p.120).
I know that if I am to avoid rigidity and closed-mindedness, my inflation and fundamental destructiveness must be seen, not projected onto others.
As a counselor, my psyche will be my “principle working tool.” I can only bring my clients as far as I have gone myself. Edinger warns, “We demand from others only what we fail to give ourselves,” (Edinger, 1972, p.161), and Guggenbühl-Craig stresses that the therapist’s effectiveness “depends to an overwhelming extent on the development of his own psyche.” (Guggenbühl-Craig, 1971, p.152). My Preventative Psychiatry training conditioned me to be acutely aware of the reality of effects – that they will occur, whether I realize it or not. It was my concern for these effects that encouraged and strengthened me to discover further the inner patterns of my own personality.
AN ILLUSTRATION OF A HELPFUL DREAM
“Conscious and unconscious do not make a whole when one of them is suppressed and injured by the other. If they must contend, let it at least be a fair fight with equal rights on both sides. Both are aspects of life. Consciousness should defend its reason and protect itself, and the chaotic life of the unconscious should be given the chance of having its way, too – as much of it as we can stand. That, evidently, is the way human life should be. It is the old game of hammer and anvil: between them the patient’s iron is forged into an indestructible whole, an ‘individual’.” (Jung, Vol.9i, C.W., 1959, p.288).
The above quote from Jung’s essay, “Conscious, Unconscious, and Individuation,” emphasizes that the unconscious must be given equal opportunity with consciousness. My unconscious, it seems, had something very important to say about this paper and it announced its message through the following, helpful dream.
“I was in a hospital, visiting an infant who was ill. No one had seemed to know what was wrong with the child. I commented to someone that while visiting the infant, he had told me exactly what was wrong with him, and said that no one had listened to him. He said that food was lodging way up into his nose, blocking his air supply. In the next scene, I was leaving the hospital building, dialoguing with a young man, walking down a long road.”
This dream came one week after much conscious deliberation and heavy concentrative reading in my effort to crystallize the specific approach, content and attitude that I sought for this paper. Outwardly, I was feeling overwhelmed with content and frustrated with all my readings and I was discouraged, thinking I had had an irrelevant dream in a time of such personal need.
It was with this attitude that I brought the dream to Sanford on July 11th. To my utter surprise and chagrin, I was to find that the dream dealt directly with my immediate situation!
I learned that a child appears in association with new life, new potentiality. The infant is probably the symbol of my individuation process, symbolizing growth, specifically, the growth of the Self; “The child is potential future” – signifying “an anticipation of future developments.” (Vol. 9i, C.S., 1959, p.164). The child “paves the way for a future change of personality, in the individuation process, it anticipates the figure that comes from the synthesis of conscious and unconscious elements in the personality. It is therefore a symbol which unites the opposites; a mediator, bringer of healing, that is, one who makes whole.” (Ibid., p.164).
But this infant is ill. It is in a hospital. Sanford suggested that the hospital situation may symbolize the fact that my growing self is now in a counseling situation, a healing context. This Self has been trying to get someone to hear him. The infant says he has told others what is wrong, but no one has really listened. This time I heard my Self. The problem is very clear, he said, food is blocking my nose so that air can’t get through. Air symbolizes “spirit” or “pneuma.” This latter word, “pneuma” “took on the meaning of ‘spirit’ chiefly under the influence of Christianity. Even in the account of the miracle at Pentecost the pneuma still had the double meaning of wind and spirit.” (Jung, 1971, p.64). I learned more in the following statement from Jung’s essay, “Answer to Job: “The pneuma, in keeping with its original wind nature, is flexible, ever in living motion, comparable to water, now to fire,” (Jung, Vol. 11, C.W., 1958, p.466), and in “The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales, “spirit is always an active, winged, swift-moving being as well as that which vivifies, stimulates, incites, fires, and inspires.” (Jung, Vol. 9i, C.W., 1959, p.120). Jung suggests that the presence of one’s own spirit “consists not only of up-rushes of life but of formal products too. Among the first, the most prominent are the images and shadowy presentations that occupy our inner field of visions, among the second, thinking and reason, which organize the world of images.” (Ibid., p.120).
In discussing one of his patients whose dream produced a spirit-wind symbol, Jung commented, “we are dealing with a genuine and thoroughly primitive God-image that grew up in the unconscious of the civilized person and produced a living effect – an effect which might well give the psychologist of religion food for reflection. There is nothing about this image that could not be called personal; it is a whole collective image, the ethnic origin of which has long been known to us.” (Jung, 1971, p.82).
A brief look at some of the historical background of this symbol is interesting and is presented in Jung’s essay, “Transformation Symbolism in the Mass:” “During the first centuries after Christ the words nous and pneuma were used indiscriminately, and the one could easily stand for the other. Moreover the relation of Mercurius to ‘spirit’ is an extremely ancient astrological fact. Like Hermes, who discloses the secret of the art to the adepts. The Liber quartorum, which being of Harronite origin cannot be dated later than the tenth century, says of Mercurius: ‘Ipse enim aperit clasusones operum cum ingenio et intellectu sue’ (For he opens with his genius and understanding the locked (insoluble) problems of the work). He is also the ‘soul of the bodies’ the ‘anima vitalis,’ and Ruland defines him as ‘spirit which has become earth.’ He is spirit that penetrates into the depts. Of the material world and transforms it. Like the nous, he is symbolized by the serpent.” (Jung, Vol.11, C.W., 1958, p.233).
My readings had given me a new look at symbols not as signs but as an image, discerning the nature of the spirit. The symbol leads beyond itself to a meaning yet to be grasped, not easily expressed in language. “…Spirit that demands a symbol for its expression is a psychic complex that contains the seeds of incalculable possibilities.” (Jung, Vol. 8, C.W., 1960 p. 336).
The message seemed clear enough – my spirit wanted something to say about the content and organization of this paper, but it was blocked and couldn’t breathe through all the intellectual food I was taking in.
The identity of the young man in the dream was not established, nor what significance this animus figure might have. It is possible that he could be the same figure as the young minister in the last scene of the Self dream – I just don’t know yet. The fact is, that at the conclusion of the dream I am left not knowing what happened. We don’t know whether the child has been forgotten or if the problem is being worked out. Both counselor and client are left to tolerate the ambiguity the situation leaves us in. I do know that the dream woke me up to the possibility that my spirit wanted its “say,” too, and that after July 11th, words and ideas began to come unannounced and unexpectedly.
Jung’s reminder that “an idea that is nothing but an intellectual counter can have no influence on life, because in this state it is little more than an empty word. Conversely, once the idea attains the status of the autonomous complex, it works on the individual through his emotions.” (Ibid., p.332). There is not doubt that this paper has been an emotional event for me. I keep having to send my thinking function in to see what has been done.
TYPES OF COUNSELING SITUATION WHERE DREAMS WOULD BE HELPFUL
Dreams are not always a valuable resource in the counseling situation. First of all, some people claim they do not dream. More than likely, they do not recall their REM activity; others may only dream or recall small NREM dreams. Some are simply not interested in understanding dreams. Lastly, many people grow and develop consistently within the context of their interpersonal relationships.
There are two types of counseling situations, however, in which the dream is especially valuable.
The first of these is a situation in which perhaps a dead-end or blind alley has been reached for the client or counselee or both; i.e., a situation where the ego can’t seem to find a way out and another point of view is needed.
The other situation in which dreams may be particularly helpful is where the further development of the personality seems to necessitate the inclusion of the point of view of the unconscious, rather than exclusively through interaction with outer circumstances.
Voice One: “You know very well what you are trying to do in that paper is integrate intuition with intellect.”
Voice Two: “Be cautious, wait and see.” A Dream.
Pye, Dream Journal,
July 14, 1973
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
The potential use of the dream as a resource in counseling has been reviewed within the framework described by Carl G. Jung. Jung was consistently scientific in his attitude, but at the same time, was deeply concerned about what he called, a certain kind of thought, “that which ‘estrangeth from being.” (Singer, 1972, p.333). He believed that objective reasoning “must not be permitted to become the only vehicle through which man may approach the problematic of nature.” (Ibid., p.333). Along with the scientific attitude, he sought “That knowledge – wherewith ye may be able to hold your thought in leash,” (Ibid.) i.e., the skill of holding your thoughts until information flowing from sensation, intuition and feeling could be included, all “to the service of consciousness.” (Ibid.)
Dreams were discussed as a form of this knowledge, readily available to the counselor who would consider expansion of his own personality and attitudes.
Primitive man lived directly from the inner center, but this relationship to the Self in modern man is disturbed and uprooted, for he fails to view life as an organic whole. It is only through the primitive in ourselves, however, that man will be able to make connection with this Self and thus heal his alienated state.
Dreams were discussed as a way for the counselor to get in touch with this compensatory primitiveness, both in himself and his counselee.
Edinger expresses this concept succinctly: “To be primitive in our relation to the outer world is to be superstitious; but to primitive in relation to the inner world of the psyche is to be wise.” (Edinger, 1972, p.101).
Illustrative examples of personal dreams were given that have been exceptionally meaningful and growth producing to this writer.
In conclusion, it is the opinion of the writer that dreams offer a valuable resource in the counseling situations described. I would like to see the dream included in the burgeoning affective educational programs for children, youth and adults in our culture, for I agree with Whitmont, that dreams may well “relate potentially vital messages that dreamers do not know but need to!” (Whitmont, 1972, p.63).
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SOME HISTORICAL AND RECENT FINDINGS ABOUT DREAMS……………………5
A DISCUSSION OF HYPOTHESES WHICH ARE CRUCIAL TO ANY EVALUATION OF THE USE OF DREAMS IN COUNSELING………………………………………………8
CULTURAL RESISTANCES TO THESE HYPOTHESES OF THE UNCONSCIOUS…….10
CHARACTERISTICS OF DREAM CONTENTS AS DESCRIBED BY CARL G. JUNG……………12
IMPORTANT ATTITUDES TO BRING TO CONTEMPLATING A DREAM…………….12
THE PERSONAL AND COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS……………………………..13
SHADOW AND PERSONA…………………………………………………….15
ANIMA AND ANIMUS………………………………………………………..16
AN ILLUSTRATIVE DREAM…………………………………………………….20
THE POTENTIAL VALUE OF THE DREAM IN COUNSELING………………………..…….27
COMPENSATION OF THE ONE-SIDEDNESS OF THE EGO…………………………27
DISCOVERY OF THE INNER PATTERNS OF THE PERSONALITY……………….….28
AN ILLUSTRATION OF A HELPFUL DREAM………………………………….…..29
TYPES OF COUNSELING SITUATIONS WHERE DREAMS WOULD BE HELPFUL…….32
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION…………………………………………………….…….35