Dream Content as Therapy: Ego vs. Repression Dissertation

Pages: 200 (60005 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 122  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

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For example: a parent has repeating nightmares, and the child "dreams his dreams " because the child is in a psychic resonance with the parent. The child's dreams end when the parent's does. Four, it might be a repetition of a past traumatic event in current lifetime. For example: a person might dream of a recent rape, a childhood assault or a wartime battle. This type of nightmare is so deeply etched in the psyche that it can require heavy use of behavioral dream-work techniques to modify the content and emotional intensity.

A fifth factor could be that the dream is a depiction of a past or probable life. For example: a client might dream the last events prior to a violent death. A request for new information may provide additional dreams to shed light on the events surrounding this nightmarish experience. Treatment involves behavior modification techniques that are used for traumatic nightmares.

And last, it might be a depiction of the future. Confirmation occurs either when the dream comes true or when the client makes life changes so it won't come true. For example: the client repairs their car brakes so he or she won't literally slide off the highway, as he or she keeps doing in their dreams. Methods that determine meaning plus techniques that modify behavior comprise the full tool set to resolve a nightmare, recurring or not. But selecting the appropriate tool depends on what is actually stimulating the nightmare to occur. There is no one-size-fits-all tool for nightmare work.

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According to Richard Corriere and Joseph Hart, who "borrowed" it from Carl Jung, dreams are "letters the unconscious sends to the ego." (The Dream Makers, paraphrased) Events in dreams, at times, evoke feelings about daily events in the waking world. It is these feelings that a therapist focuses on in a therapy session to help a client overcome issues that may be bothering them. Though dreams are not meaningful in themselves, the feelings behind those dreams—emotions and intellect—are what is meaningful. Feelings behind the dreams have meaning, while the events and images are background noise.

Dissertation on Dream Content as Therapy: Ego vs. Repression Assignment

For example, when a client dreams about a boat ride, with someone else driving, it could mean that the dreamer doesn't feel in control of his or her life. Or, it could mean that he or she wants someone else in control, because he or she has been in control of everything and wants to relax for a little while. But the fact that the dreamer is in a boat is just the background, or environment. Being in a boat has nothing to do with the feelings behind that dream.

Corriere, Hart, and others discovered through their work in their therapeutic community that "dreams are pictures of feelings." Unfortunately, their work was lost in a freak accident that caused their center to implode and crash...dreams are art in the dreamer's mind. A person can direct it like a movie, star in it like an actor, watch it like a casual observer, or play a supporting actor. The dreamer is the writer, and there is no writer's block in the dream. Ideas, settings, and plots flow smoothly from one scene to the next, with not censoring. It's too bad that writers couldn't somehow tap into these dreams when they were stuck at a certain spot in their novels.

Dreams are actually pictures of what is in the mind. People's feelings about what is occurring in their lives generate the images and events in their dreams. Feelings of fear generate fearful dreams, feelings of desire generate dreams about things we desire, such as sexual desires or longing to move to a larger or better house and location. People are not always honest about what they fear and what they desire, either in their waking or dreaming life, but the feeling in the dream is an honest reflection of their true feelings. That is why comprehending dreams is so crucial to an understanding of the self.

When Jung developed the term "Archetype," he used it to show how dreams reveal the True Self to the dreamer. Most people's rationality and egotism promote the false notion that their identity is monolithic: that they know who they are; that they know what they like and what they don't like; and that they know how they feel about this and that. Nothing could be further from the truth. Typically everyone, at one time or another, experiences inner conflicts about how they should act and speak, whether they should control their behavior or live from their impulses, whether they're really in love or just living a lie.

Freud analyzed his own psyche and came up with the ego, the id, and the superego. Jung looked within, discovered the dark side of his "self," and called it his "shadow." Eric Berne taught that there are three patterns of conflicting thought and behavior—Parent, Child, and Adult. Undoubtedly, inner conflict is one of life's most frustrating and painful challenges. Like a high-priced lawyer, a rationalizing intellect will argue for either side on any issue. The best that friends and advisors can do is tell someone how they would handle such a conflict, but how does someone decide what's right for him or herself?

Many people become overwhelmed trying to understand the meaning of every detail. Freud kept a dream diary and then destroyed it, complaining, "The stuff simply enveloped me as the sand does the sphinx." Jung recorded his waking and dreaming fantasies, tried to decipher what they were all about, became overwhelmed by their complexity, and later wrote that they almost "strangled me like jungle creepers." When dream content is studied, it's important to keep an eye on the sphinx, not on the sand; on the person in the jungle, not on the creepers.

Keying in to what is important about the dream, rather than obsessing on the details is like separating the wheat from the chaff. If a dream is terribly mixed up and confusing, the dream is mixed up and confused. It's much more useful to look at the recent events in a client's waking life that created the feelings reflected in the dream. This is how he or she can see past the machinations of their rationalizing intellect, vanity, and denial to see what they are really feeling and figure out what they need to do differently so that they can feel better.

Content is not as important as the feelings behind the entire dream—what is going on in a client's life? Why is that client dreaming about racing in a boat with someone else at the controls? Is this significant, or are there deeper meanings to that? It is the therapist's job to help the client figure out for themselves the answers to these questions, and that is the focus of what this report is all about.

This study also examines the effect of medication on dream content. The second purpose of this study is to present a case study of 33 pre-medication and 40 post-medication dream reports from a young woman who entered outpatient psychological treatment at age 18 and at age 20 was placed on sertraline, an anti-depressant selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Moreover, it is their conclusion that "the lack of standardization of methods of assessing quality of dream content has resulted in isolated bits of information that do not yet form a coherent picture" (Roth et al., p. 221).

The percentage of perfect agreement was above 90 percent for each category. When the codings differed, the codings by Schneider were used. The individual codings were entered into Dream-SAT, which calculated a subset of the Hall/Van de Castle indicators along with significance levels and effect sizes (Domhoff, 1996, 1999; Schneider & Domhoff, 1999).

Relevance to the Field

How is this study relevant to the clinical psychology field? When a therapist understands how the psyche balances repression of feelings and ego gratification, such as sexual urges, aggression, etc, with acceptable methods of expression, the therapist will then be able to better help the client. They will be able to take the feelings the client has during a dream, direct them back to the client, and help that person overcome issues in their lives.

Examples of this theory is played out in people who have experienced trauma in their waking lives, then re-experience it repeatedly in their dreams. For instance, soldiers who came back from the Vietnam war—their dreams had no function, except to make the dreamer relive the experiences repeatedly. Feelings behind these dreams revealed the underlying issues and traumas of real life waking experiences. Therapists can take these feelings and help that person try to deal… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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