splash
dialogue of the psyche
DREAMS: sequence images, sounds and feelings experienced when sleeping
SEMANTICS: linguistics. the study of meaning.

http://www.dreamsemantics.com/2009/02/the-wise-old-man/

This archetype was described as Carl Jung as a person with great judgment and wisdom.  The wise old man is sometimes referred to as the Sage. This archetype is characterized by being old, bearded, father-figure type who uses his great personal knowledge of the world and offer guidance through stories and may impress upon his [...]

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Healing with Dreams in Psychodramatic Therapy

Dreams are part of our life in a way that mirrors are part of the vehicles you are driving – they tell you where you are and where you ought to go. In psychotherapy, dreams have always held the center stage, especially with psychodynamic approaches and traditional wisdom. In group therapies too, dreams are semantically important. In fact, in therapies like psychodrama, dreams are one of the important therapeutic tools used by the therapist to help the patient get over his anxiety/fears.

Recently, in an interview with psychotherapist and psychodrama trainer Daniel J. Tomasulo’s, author of Confessions of a Former Child (Graywolf Press, 2008), Dr. Tomasulo told that dreams give us a clue about how the unconscious part of our mind has come to understand information in our lives. It will often give a clue about our current struggle, and perhaps a way to perceive it in a helpful way. When dreams are repetitive, we should give them our attention. They indicate that our psyche is desperately trying to tell us something.

In psychodrama, therapists like Dr. Tomasulo use dreams in one of three primary ways:

First, if someone has a dream that is difficult for them to interpret, but they know it is significant, then the therapist will ask them to share the dream and detain with the group; then choose members of the group to enact the various characters in the dream. The protagonist (the person with the dream) would then reverse roles with each of the characters to understand more of their meaning in the dream, and eventually return to the role of the dreamer. This is a highly simplified version of the psychodramatic therapy, but the essence is to understand the dream through enactment and role reversal.

Secondly, a person with a difficult-to-interpret dream would be invited to tell his/her dream. Each member of the group would then begin with the sentence “In my dream…” and interpret the dream as if they were the dreamer. This offers some self-disclosure on part of each member revealing their interpretation, while giving the protagonist a chance to hear multiple possibilities for interpretation through the eyes of others.

Finally, the group dreams the dream forward. If a dream was particularly difficult or unpleasant, the therapist will invite the protagonist to think of the dream as two acts of a three-act play, and then create a third act for the dream that is satisfying. The protagonist can then try different endings until he/she finds one that is viable.

By using dreams as mirrors of psychological status, as well as therapeutic resources, psychodrama puts dreams to practical significance in one’s life. This use not only capitalizes on the deeper, natural resources from the unconscious for healing purpose but also stirs imagination and memory for a more active and creative role in one’s own life. Interested readers can learn more about psychodrama and Dr. Tomasulo’s work at his website www.FormerChild.com.

Author Ernest Dempsey is the editor of Recovering the Self (www.recoveringself.com) and has authored four books and, in just the last few years, seen the publication of his poems, essays, short stories, and literary reviews worldwide.

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