Psychological Self-Help

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person)? Every part of your dream is a part of you, projected into the dream.
So, understand and own each part. 
Mahrer recommends letting yourself be taken over by the strong feelings
of the main character (or thing) in the dream. Then, let the dream continue,
see what happens if the raw naked emotions are fully carried out. He
observed that as people got in touch with the basic motivation, their attitude
towards the motivation frequently changed. Or, the apparent motive gives
way to a deeper motive. What is initially abhorrent or scary may become
tempting or exciting (wish-fulfilling?); we may take a certain childish delight
in thinking about carrying out some aspect of the initial motivation. Stay with
the fantasy until you have experienced and explored the feelings to the fullest
and to the end. Mahrer (1990) has developed this method into a complete
method for self-change. 
Example: Mahrer described being terrified by his own dream of a giant,
shiny, scaly gorilla in a house of mirrors. The gorilla looked crazed with rage,
very powerful and very angry. It was clear to Mahrer that the mirrors and
shiny scales were "leftovers" from his experiences that day in a lighting
fixture store where he had been overcharged. So, to understand his dream,
he tried to identify with the angry gorilla and see what the animal felt and did
(as the gorilla). It seemed like the gorilla was about to lose control and
destroy everything. The gorilla pointedly looked at Mahrer in the house of
mirrors but wasn't going after him. So Mahrer's fear eased and in its place he
felt a glimmer of "Yea, go ahead!" It sounded like fun to be huge and smash
the whole damn place. Mahrer recognized his anger at the manager was still
intense and vowed to assertively handle the inflated bill the next day. He did
(and he later told the manager that he had felt like smashing the store; the
manager said he frequently felt that way too). 
One of Freud's famous cases had a terrifying and repeated dream very
similar to Mahrer's dream. The 27-year-old patient dreamed that a man with
a hatchet was chasing him. Freud had him free associate to the dream. He
remembered an uncle's tale about being attacked, but the hatchet didn't fit
in. The hatchet reminded him of once hurting his hand and once hitting his
brother with some object. Then suddenly a memory of when he was 9-years-
old occurred to him. His parents came home late at night and he heard them
having intercourse and panting and moaning. He thought they were being
violent, which was reinforced when he saw blood on their sheets the next
day. This memory in combination with the dream enabled the patient to see
the connection he had long ago made between sex and violence. The patient
could also see that his wish to be approached by another man (as his brother
had done) was concealed by fear in the dream. Note: similar dreams may
mean very different things (and different therapists look for different
motives). 
10. Finally, you must take the hints and hunches gathered during your "analysis"
of the dream and pull it together into a feasible interpretation--or maybe two
or three alternative interpretations. Keep in mind that one dream is never
enough to base a conclusion about yourself on; you need to analyze several
dreams. It will clarify your dream interpretation(s) if you break it into several
parts, such as 
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