Psychological Self-Help

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In short, the dreamer must consider and share both the little events of
his/her day and the major emotional events of her/his life. Obviously, a
recent death or accident, a break up of a relationship, a serious set back or
failure, or some wonderful event, a big break, a new love, and so on may
have impact on our dreams. A helper can't help without knowing those things.
For example, a dreamer reported a dream similar to this to a group
(Shuttleworth-Jordon, Saayman & Faber, 1988): 
I'm in a huge empty church with a storm raging outside. The wind and
rain burst through an old stained glass window. I am terrified but I
can't get out. Then I think of calling ______ (the dream group
facilitator) and find a phone, but whoever answered the phone
wouldn't let me talk with her. 
The group members asked several questions, such as "How did you feel
before the storm?", "Do you attend a church like this one?", "Do you ever go
to church alone?", "What are your religious background and current beliefs?",
"Have you recently been through a storm?", "How did you find a phone?",
"Who do you think answered the phone?", "How did you feel when you
couldn't talk to _____?", and so on. The dreamer told the group about her
recent divorce which wrecked her life, violated her "Christian upbringing" and
"stained" her reputation. She had been feeling abandoned, alone, empty,
crushed, scared, and helpless since her husband left her six weeks ago. There
certainly seems to be a close emotional connection in this case between real
life and the dream. 
5.
Because dreams involve symbols, condensation, and displacement, there are
many hidden meanings. Understanding this helps you analyze your dreams.
Just like poems and art, dreams constantly use symbols to hide our real
feelings. For example, a calm scene which turns into a storm which threatens
your family may symbolize your loving outside and your angry feelings
towards them inside. In condensation a small part of the dream may
represent a major, life-long psychological drive or conflict. Example:
dreaming of receiving food and presents may reflect decades of feeling
unloved or neglected and an enormous need for love. Displacement is a
simple way of denying some motivation, e.g. dreaming that a friend is angry
at you may be to hide that you are angry at him or dreaming that a stranger
is attracted to your lover may reflect your insecurity about your lover's
faithfulness. 
In analyzing dreams the term "psychological conflict" is often used. It
refers to the situation where there are strong motives or needs and barriers
or resistance to fulfilling those motives or needs. Example: a person may feel
a compelling need for attention but, at the same time, fear dependency and
rejection. Thus, expect dreams to have several meanings on different levels
and expect the motives to be complex and ambivalent. 
6.
Freud (1967) had his patients "free associate" to each separate element or
part of the dream. Likewise, Bosnak (1988), a Jungian analyst, also
associates to each part himself, along with the dreamer and 6 or 8 dream
analysis group members. So one of the first questions for dreamer and
helpers is: "What occurs to you when you think of _______?" (See examples
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