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Dreams and Anxiety

A short example of analysis conducted according to Jung's method of dream interpretation

By J Jones

Two dreams coming from a woman show us how anxiety can be explained through unconscious aspirations incompatible with real life resources.

In the first dream the dreamer is in an unknown city, alone, confused and unable to orientate herself. As the doctor asks, we find out she was not able to come back to the place where she was leaving from. In the second dream, the dreamer was in a labyrinth of corridors and could not find the way out. Even worse, by trying to get in touch with real-life persons, she did not make it because she could not dial the numbers on the phone or the phone itself was an unknown device which she could not use.

We mentioned the doctor because we are dealing with a psychiatric case. Meaning a patient who is suffering from obsessive ideas and phobias which are associated with these ideas. The general topic is stalking. In the acute phase, the stalking delirium consists of her convincing of being followed by malevolent people wanting to compromise her.

The treatment managed to stabilize the patient. Anxiety has, however, not completely disappeared. I will not pursue this topic because this article does not deal with this case as such. We are only interested in relating these two dreams to the panic states.

In both dreams the illustrated themes are running so-called probation scenarios*. These scenarios show up in pre-Christian cultures as initiations intended for adolescents who are either abandoned in extreme conditions, or isolated from others and forced in one way or another to cope, meaning to defeat fear and find the way back to adult society.

We must emphasize that such scenarios of initiations are only addressed to male young people.

But we are dealing with a woman. It makes therefore sense to ask ourselves about the effect these rites, unconsciously ran, may have on her every day life. All we can say is that they nurture or produce the desire to be male. Young girls have such a desire** which remains an untouchable ideal. It is true that in the normal life this desire is conditioned by the culture, meaning that the girls want through changing their sex, to enjoy the advantages of the opposite sex; still in our case it is stimulated by the unconscious life, by the instinct.

To translate this in accessible terms, in our case, the woman aspires to male acts and deeds that obviously outweigh her means. And from here, from failure, comes anxiety as main symptom of her psychical state.

The psychiatrist does not discover these causal aspects because he has no interest in searching for them. But the psychoanalyst has to identify them. However, even if he does, he will not be able to convince the patient of their reality and their consequences because he will face a fierce resistance from the female-patient who actually behaves like a (male) patient!

As people suffering from this type of anxiety cannot transfer feminine affection to the male psychoanalyst, the only solution to help them would be to establish a friendly relationship (as between two men), being aware of the fact that relationships of this type invariably involve competition and its negative consequences.

Finally, in another context, we will come back to the subject we find so often in the dreams of the modern man, of the phone which is not quite a phone and the inhibitions related to dialing the number.

* Or passing scenarios.

** In the classic psychoanalysis we are talking about the penis envy associated with denying the reality of its lack.


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