25 Chapters
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CHAPTER NINE. The position of the “I”: death, violence, marriage, sex, gender, toilets, time, and location

West, Marcus Karnac Books ePub

In this chapter, I look at some of the other important information that can be gleaned from a dream, in particular:

•  the position of the “I” in the dream: is the dreamer the subject of the dream (is the dream happening to them) or is the dreamer looking on, watching the main action happen to someone else? Are they in a film or a play, or even asleep or drugged?;

•  some possible symbolic meanings of death, violence, marriage, sex, gender, and bodily functioning;

•  the time setting of the dream: the mix of past, present and future;

•  the location: what can be told from the “background” of the dream.

The position of the “I” in the dream

The relation of the dreamer—the “I”—to the other figures and the action of the dream tells us a great deal about how much the dreamer is identified with (and perhaps also, therefore, conscious of) the issues that are being dreamt about; in other words, how much they are a part of how the dreamer sees themselves and, thus, integrated into their ego, or, instead, not yet integrated and part of the dreamer’s shadow.1Compare the following dreams:

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CHAPTER SIX: Jung, the self, and spiritual experience

West, Marcus Karnac Books ePub

Introduction

This chapter represents, to those who are not familiar with Jung's ideas, an introduction to Jung's concept of the self, and a demonstration of the breadth of the Jungian field. It also demonstrates, through the relationship to the identity-affect model, the way that Jung's psychology can be understood to articulate with psychoanalytic theory. In other words, it can be seen as a possible reconciliation of the “old split”. To Jungians, the chapter offers an understanding of the mechanisms that might underlie and explain the phenomena that are traditionally ascribed to, and described by, Jung's concept of the self. In addition, however, in describing the mechanisms underlying these phenomena, it also represents a revisioning of the self and a critique of the concept as it is traditionally framed. This chapter represents another challenge, then, in terms of describing the elephant, because the description is likely to be received differently depending on where the reader stands.

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CHAPTER ONE. An overview of dreaming

West, Marcus Karnac Books ePub

“Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious”

(Freud, 1900a, p. 607)

Dreams have been considered an important source of wisdom and knowledge by all the great civilizations and religious traditions of which we have a written record, whether their meaning has been taken to be a message from God, a prophetic foretelling of future events, or a revelation of hidden knowledge. At other times, notably in some quarters of the scientific community in the past century, the wisdom of dreams has been doubted and dismissed as incomprehensible nonsense or “froth”, a debate which continues to this day to some extent, although most of the arch-sceptics now acknowledge that dreams have personal meaning and reflect the individual’s personality and waking concerns.

In this book, I explore these claims and counter-claims and focus specifically on how the counsellor, therapist, or analyst might consider, address, and work with the dreams that our clients bring. I introduce a simple, effective, and, I would also suggest, profound method of understanding and working with dreams, based upon the network of associations related to the symbolic nature of dream images and dream narratives. I draw particularly on the work of the two great depth psychologists of the twentieth century, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, as well as many other psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, neuroscientists, and dream researchers who have contributed to our understanding of dreams and dreaming.

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CHAPTER FOUR: Klein, Bion, projective identification, and the paranoid-schizoid position

West, Marcus Karnac Books ePub

Introduction

As James Grotstein writes, “questions about the concept of projective identification still persist” (2005, p. 1051). This chapter offers a reframing of the concepts of projective identification and the paranoid-schizoid position. It challenges Klein's classical framing of these phenomena yet is largely, though not wholly, consonant with Bion's later model. Klein's original formulation was in terms of projective identification being the prototype of an aggressive object relationship, and was set firmly within the context and understanding of the paranoid-schizoid position. Bion's developments distinguished normal from excessive projective identification, understanding the former as a mode of communication. Bion developed therefrom the notion of containment, the container-contained, and a theory of thinking. Meltzer took the notion of the container-contained and further described the concept of the claustrum, while Steiner elaborated the notion of psychic retreats. While these later developments have made substantial reference to Bion's frame, they remain superimposed on Klein's classical frame, often without directly addressing the underlying structure. The identity-affect model developed herein offers an alternate framework that, in this chapter, is elaborated in respect to projective identification and the paranoid-schizoid position.

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CHAPTER ONE: The clinical picture

West, Marcus Karnac Books ePub

Introduction

An outline of the theoretical picture having been given in the Introduction, this chapter first describes the analysis of a patient, whom I will call Rachel, with whom the themes in this book began to take more substantial shape for me. The chapter then introduces theory relevant to the clinical picture, and outlines the identity-affect model, before returning to complete the clinical narrative, drawing together the theoretical and clinical threads.

Rachel's analysis was far from a model one. It represents, in part, the story of my analytic development from inexperience, struggling with boundary issues, and trying to come to grips with this kind of clinical situation, to a more developed analytic attitude. The “errors” were crucial to the generation of the model developed herein and tell us, I believe, much that is important about the nature and functioning of the psyche.

Clinical outline

I had been seeing Rachel four times a week for about six years and, despite my best efforts, things were not going well. Rachel had originally sought analysis to help her deal with her many fears and anxieties: she felt she had no substance or resources in herself, she was powerfully reliant on others, and feared she would not survive in the world. She was frightened that she would black out in public and had done so on at least one occasion.

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