“A dream that is not understood remains a mere occurrence; understood, it becomes a living experience.”
Carl Jung (“The practice of Psychotherapy”)
On this page, I would like to offer you some background ideas relating to the more imaginative side of the work we could do together. I hope you will find it informative.
BRIDGES BETWEEN CONSCIOUSNESS AND UNCONSCIOUS
Psychologically, the word consciousness relates to our capacity for self-awareness or awareness of something. Consciousness is complementary to the unconscious, the psychic reality that includes all that is unknown to us or that is not in our current awareness. At times this unknown material wants to be known or acknowledged, like in the case of a sudden memory. Also, unfathomable and unexplainable contents such as intuitions or hunches or simply the feeling of falling in love originate in the unconscious – there is an element of mystery in life that cannot be explained or intellectualised. What often happens is that our conscious mind “decides” to ignore or is resistant to acknowledging some of the contents of the unconscious – it might be that these contents are too frightening or too painful, or we simply don’t like them. Troubles start just when communication between consciousness and unconscious breaks down – the creative matrix of the unconscious wants to say something but the conscious mind shuts the gates and simply won’t listen. We suddenly feel lost in the fog and we don’t even know why.
Therapy helps to re-establish slowly a more harmonious communication between the unconscious world and the conscious mind by activating an inner dialogue – we start conversing with ourselves. At times, this dialogue is facilitated with the help of “psychological bridges”. These bridges are actually at our disposal all the time, but we might not know of their existence or how to access them. They spring from/are rooted in our imagination and include dreams, painting, drawing, crafts, meditations, visualisations, psychodrama and body awareness. In our sessions, we will be working towards restoring a two-way communication between the conscious mind and the unconscious. Depending on what you feel comfortable with, we might at times make use of some of these bridges.
Among the bridges between consciousness and the unconscious, dreams are possibly the most autonomous and elusive – while we might be able to stop ourselves from, say, painting, there is nothing we can do to stop dreams from happening. Any definition we might give to the concept of dreams is always partial, incomplete, influenced by current scientific ideas. Various disciplines have tried to explain what dreams are, what they are for, where they come from. Yet, no definition can clarify and exhaust such an exceptional and complex phenomenon. Possibly, only by maintaining an open mind can each of us, in the uniqueness of our own inner experience, access a personal understanding of dreams.
When we go to sleep, consciousness slowly withdraws and, like in Alice in Wonderland, we find ourselves in the realm of the unconscious, which works very differently from the conscious world. It is the world of metaphors and symbols – an underground world of enigmatic shadows. That is why our dreams often appear bizarre and incomprehensible. What makes dreams slightly different from the other imaginative bridges is that our conscious mind is at its lowest point in dreams, so we are most receptive towards unconscious contents.
Having, reflecting on and playing with dreams supports the dialogue between unconscious and consciousness, allowing consciousness to expand and become more flexible. This type of imaginative exploration can surely be part of our journey together, should you wish to walk over the bridge of dreams and be curious about what’s on the other side.