I read a book once by Carl Jung called The Undiscovered Self and got really
interested in my dreams. I've been thinking of getting help with learning his
way of interpreting dreams. Is the dreamwork of Carl Jung the same as the
Good question! You've raised a very interesting issue about the difference
between Jung and Jungians. Jung once said he would be very unhappy having to
be a Jungian. But most Jungians are happy to be Jungians and probably feel
they are doing dreamwork with their clients or analysands as Jung indicated.
The paradox here is that Jungian Analysis is supposed to lead to
individuation, with means that each person has to find his or her own unique
path. The upshot of this is that each Jungian you go to will have similar
ideas and approaches but will do dreamwork in their own way.
Now the issue is further confused in that Jungian thought has influenced
humanistic psychology and the human potential movement which moves the
practice of many psychological techniques out of the therapist's office and
into the hands of those who strive for self improvement & awareness on their
own. Thus many people now claim to be Jungian, and its usually unclear just
exactly what they mean by this. Dream work within the therapeutic container
or relationship can be very different than work in other venues, even with
the same techniques.
I subscribe to the inoculation theory of learning. Get exposed to as many
viewpoints as possible. A good starting point is to read Andrew Samuel's
Jung and the Post-Jungians (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985). This book spells
out the differences within the various Jungian schools or branches, not only
about dreams, but other topics as well. To contact a Jungian Institute for
classes, programs or analysis, see the List in the Dream Library.
Since you mentioned The Undiscovered Self, I'd like to end with a quote which
I feel is Jung's most profound statement about dream work:
"It goes without saying that (the dream interpreter) should hold no
preconceived opinions based upon a particular theory, but stand ready in
every single case to construct a totally new theory of dreams."
C. G. Jung
Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The
Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet
Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for
the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.