You're in Charge:
A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist
Chapter 6 (an excerpt)
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8 9 p.3
She hides from him in
my home. He finds her there, shoots her, and leaves. I pick her
up, put her in my car, and race to the nearby UCLA Emergency. I
try to blow my horn, it doesn't work, so I drive in erratic zig-zags
to alert the other drivers and get through the traffic quickly.
A policeman stops me. "Thank goodness, you've come," and
I tell him the situation. He puts on his siren and precedes us through
the traffic, clearing a path.
Obviously, there are
many elements in this dream that bear working on: my relationship,
therapeutic and otherwise, to the girl who gets shot, the would-be
murderer, the policeman, also my need to be a heroine! However,
the part that struck me most forcibly when I awoke was how frightening
it had been to undertake that drive with no horn, and how foolish
I had been to drive my car for over a month with a non-functioning
horn. So that day I had it repaired. Now, I had known my horn was
not working. What I was ignoring was my anxiety at driving a car
with no working horn, just because I felt that I was "too busy"
to get it fixed.
If, however, you examine
the dream for its literal message and find none, then it's time
to approach the dream for its metaphorical meaning.
I see dream symbols
not as an attempt to conceal or censor, as Freud claims, but as
a picturesque shorthand used by the psyche. This shorthand is always
idiosyncratic; there's no standard Gregg or Pitman translation.
In fact, beware of therapists, friends, spouses, or dream "experts"
who try to tell you what the symbols of your dream mean. By all
means, listen to any interpretations; they might suggest a meaning
that will ring true for you. But reject any proffered interpretation
that doesn't resonate with you. Only you can decode your dreams.
Here are some suggestions
to help you with your search for the cipher:
I..... According to Fritz
Perls, each part of the dream represents a part of the personality
that has (possibly) been disowned. So take on the personality of
each person, each object, each element in the dream.
Working on Your Dream
Be that person or object
or element. Describe yourself. "Tell us your story," as
Fritz used to say.
What are you doing in
What are you feeling?
What are your relationships
with the other dream figures and with the other objects in the dream?
What do you want?
Have dialogues with
other parts of the dream.
It's useful to do this
out loud. It's also useful to do it with an audience, a therapist
or an objective friend who will feed back her perceptions of qualities
that you might miss. Such as the volume or quality of your voice,
your posture, a twisting of the handkerchief, a tightening of your
throat, a clenched fist, your general mood.
You can also do it silently.
It's useful to write out the dialogue.