Literature

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Some of the material below discusses sexuality which some readers may find offensive. These articles are for general reading purposes only. Any published material that may be misinterpreted lies solely with the reader and is not the responsibilty of the author.


A brief summary and explanation in understanding and interpreting dreams


Dreams can help us to reveal what at first appears to be hidden and help us to understand what is unconscious in mental life. Dreams in short are unconscious mental and also physical or somatic acts which manifest during physical sleep. Day dreaming is also an unconscious act performed during our normal conscious/daily waking life, but I will not expound upon day dreaming in this article.
There are many obstacles and difficulties in understanding and interpreting dreams, but these obstacles and difficulties can be overcome if one has the time, the inclination and perseverance to discover what was once considered hidden and unintelligible. It is quite often the case (but not always), that what is remembered, what we are left with upon waking from the dream, is only a tiny piece or fragment of something much bigger or deeper. Part of the difficulties in interpreting dreams is exactly this, deciphering the meaning from a rapidly fading dream as we wake from our slumber. Upon waking from a dream, what we are left with can seem surreal or blurry, or can sometimes seem as real as our normal waking life. What has presented itself to us during sleep can appear as images, thoughts, actions, sounds, emotions, fears and fantasies, often appearing somewhat distorted and unfathomable. Sigmund Freud said that what we remember, what we are left with, he called ‘the manifest content’ of the dream. These remains of the manifest dream content is a reworking of the dreams’ true hidden or disguised meaning which Freud called ‘the latent dream content’. He further explained that if we can uncover and discover from the manifest dream the latent thoughts, the imagery and the symbolism masking the dream, then we can be confident in interpreting it and gain a new insight and understanding which once might have been considered as unknown and indiscernible.


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Case History - A Client's Dream is given and Analysed

Client: Woman

Age: 22

During my client’s analysis she produced the following dream

I was at home and I was staring out of my bedroom window upstairs.I was looking at a woman who was sitting on the wall outside my house.I didn’t recognise her, but somehow I knew she was gay.
She could see me staring down at her and I acknowledged her by telling her she could come up when I was ready.


Analysis and background information


Because the dream occurred during her analysis she was able to interpret the dream easily herself and why. The woman had practiced homosexuality once before but had felt guilty and ashamed that she had enjoyed the experience leaving her feeling confused about her sexuality.  The last piece of the dream also becomes explainable,

‘I acknowledged her by telling her she could come up when I was ready’.

My client understood this as repeating the experience had been on her mind recently but had not pursued it.

Copyright thepsychoanalyst.com 2019


Depression and Melancholia

The symptom known as Depression is usually created during character development or formation typically around birth to 2 years old, and depression once created whether realised intellectually or not, can stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Depression can occur at any age and it is not inconceivable that a person’s character could remain psychologically sound, and when I say sound, I mean someone who has managed to get through life relatively unscathed due to good fortune e.g. good job, stable relationship, good friends, money in the bank etc. This is a generalisation of course until that one time when fate plays a cruel hand.

The bad news is I don’t think you can ever really cure depression as it was originally formed unconsciously. So if you’ve been suffering from depression all your life, your mind is likely to hit you where it hurts the most. It’s almost as if your mind has learned how to do a trick, or in other words your mind has learnt a behaviour pattern which repeats itself under certain conditions. The good news is you can fight depression by understanding how your character and personality was formed, and learn to recognise the types of symptoms you are prone to. Depression is likely to return again and again whenever the situation becomes unkind. And when I say unkind, I mean when we are faced with a situation we find untenable, e.g. when the pressures of life just become too much, i.e. ‘No Way Out’. A loss of income, having our house repossessed, divorce or death in the family, bankruptcy, situations which can test us to the very limit; and sometimes push us over the edge.

A point of clarification, being depressed means very simply that you’re unhappy, and is a perfectly normal emotion to have. If the situation remains unchanged or continues indefinitely, the state of depression will also remain and naturally the state becomes wholly undesirable and you desire the situation to change. Depression should never be confused with Melancholia. Melancholia can easily be defined as a permanent state of depression. With melancholia, a person becomes so unhappy and disillusioned with life that they feel separate and cut off from society. The eternal misery that afflicts them creates the despair of no hope and so the person cannot see any way out. If a person reaches this point, suicidal thoughts or acts can become possible. They have lost faith in themselves and possibly other people. Stagnation can set in as they cannot see a way forward. Give them back their confidence, their self belief and effectively restore their life back to what we would call normal, i.e. they get their job back, they get their home back, they find a partner, make new friends etc. They become emotionally fulfilled and content again and re-join society then one should expect to see their symptoms disappear but will remain dormant until the next time.


If you think you are suffering from depression or melancholia, please seek help and advice immediately if you have not already done so? Depression and Melancholia are real mental illnesses that can wreak people’s lives and should never be underestimated.

If you feel alone, and that your life is a constant struggle, or if you think that you have nothing much to live for, Don’t! Don’t ever feel ashamed, frightened or embarrassed about telling someone that you’re depressed or unhappy.

And most of all, please don’t give up. .

One of the biggest problems for sufferers of depression or melancholia is that they don’t tell anyone. They internalise everything and are unable to externalise what is going on inside their head. Many people who suffer from depression remain silent and don’t want to trouble anybody with their problem making them feel isolated and detached. You are not alone and there is help available. Taking the first step and asking for help is sometimes the hardest, but the most crucial step of all. Please don’t think that no one can help you, there is always someone who can help. Don’t suffer in silence, act now and get help.


Copyright thepsychoanalyst.com 2019


Case History - A Client's Dream is given and Analysed

Client: Man
Age: 29


Here is the dream:

I was standing in my bathroom with a beautiful woman and she wanted me to decorate the bathroom or we were going to decorate the bathroom together.  The woman was singing but I cannot remember what she was singing. I began to erect a ladder against the bathroom wall. The ladder was one of those extension ladders with three sections to it that made it longer. I noticed as I erected the ladder to its full length that on one side it was out of shape or bent which I straightened out. I proceeded to climb the ladder to inspect the wall.  The light in the bathroom seemed to grow dim, so I switched on the light and noticed all but one of the lights (spot lights) had gone out and needed to be replaced which I remarked to the woman. I then left the room to fetch some new bulbs.


Interpretation/Analysis:


Symbolism appears regularly in dreams often disguising or distorting its content.  This dream-censorship can successfully replace one element with another therefore making a dream unintelligible. Ladders and extension ladders in dreams are a symbolic representation of the male genitals, the penis. For those who have never read any books on dreams and their symbolism, a short explanation on why ladders are represented or substituted for the penis should now be made.  We all know how the male organ defies the law of gravity during sexual arousal or masturbation.  Is it now so difficult to compare ladders and extension ladders as a substitute object for the penis?  Ladders by the way are not the only symbols in dreams as a replacement for the penis.  But for now let’s continue with the analysis of the dream.  The dreamer also reported climbing the ladder. Climbing up or down a ladder or stairs in a dream represents the sexual act itself, sexual intercourse. The dreamer would like to have sexual intercourse with the woman, and the latent thoughts certainly suggest this desire or fantasy.  In the dream, the man also reported that the top of the ladder was bent which he proceeded to knock or straighten out. I will add some further information here which did not come from the dream, but was provided by the man in
conversation during the analysis.  The man told me about a homosexual experience he had had and at the time felt deeply ashamed, but let’s return to the dream. Straightening the ladder or knocking it back into shape now becomes understandable as the dreamer is symbolically trying to correct his sexual orientation by wishing to be reconciled with women, another example that dreams are wish fulfilments.  But what about the dreamer switching the light on and noticing all but one of the bulbs need replacing.  Given the extra information about the man’s past, there might be more than one explanation here. One reason could be the man’s outlook on his situation. The man was not married, and even though he produced this dream, still remained gloomy about meeting a woman, hence the bathroom becoming dark at the end of the dream or in other words, all light or hope had been extinguished inmeeting a woman.  But what about the woman singing to him in the dream, and wanting to decorate.  This now becomes understandable when the dreamer told me the woman was a famous singer engaged to be married to a Property Developer.  Is it now implausible to
believe that the dreamer replaced himself with the woman’s fiancé, and by doing this declared himself albeit unconsciously that he was good enough or a better suitor for the woman?


Copyright thepsychoanalyst.com 2019