The Application of Psychodynamic Theory Through Dream Analysis

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Psychodynamic Theory is based on the premise that human behaviour and relationships are shaped by conscious and unconscious influences and include factors such as internal processes, personality, motivation and drives, and the importance of childhood experiences. The essay will discuss and demonstrate the application of dream analysis as a counselling approach and the personal and technical challenges associated with using the psychoanalytic technique of ‘free association’. This will be done by analysing my own personal dream from a psychoanalytical perspective I will identify and describe two of the techniques used in psychoanalytical therapy: 1. Psychoanalytical Technique of Free Association

2. Dream analysis as a counselling method which is a critical part of the psychoanalytical therapeutic process.

One of the key tenets of psychoanalysis, which provides the underlying rationale for free association, is the principle of psychic determinism, defined by Angel (1959) as “the application of the causality principle to psychic occurrences”. Nothing happens by chance or in an accidental, arbitrary way. Each psychological event is determined by events which preceded it, and occurrences in our psychological lives that appear to be random only appear so

In free association, the client is invited to relate whatever comes into their minds and not to censor their thoughts. This technique is intended to help the client learn more about what he or she thinks and feels, in an atmosphere of non-judgmental curiosity and acceptance. Over time, the counsellor will draw associations between the many trains of uncensored speech of the client. This can lead the client to insight into their unconscious thoughts or repressed memories, and the accomplishment of their ultimate goal of "freedom from the oppression of the unconscious" (Trull, 2005).

According to Frosh (1997), free association is Freud’s psychoanalytical fundamental rule, a central technique used in therapy. It is one of the fundamental techniques used to open the doors to unconscious wishes, fantasies, conflicts and motivations. It usually leads to recollections of past events and the releasing of intense and blocked emotions. (SACAP: Counselling Methods 1 Distance Study Guide)

My Dream
My dream starts in Plettenberg Bay. We have arrived on a family vacation and making our way to our holiday home which we owned. My mom and dad were travelling in one car and I was driving the other car with my two brothers as passengers. My sister wasn’t with us. We decided to go and explore the town while my parents continued to the beach house. I felt a bit guilty that we had not gone to help them unpack but shrugged it off. (85 words) Plettenberg Bay: Family holiday home on the beach, warm cherished memories, quality family time. Care free, safe environment, playing in the sand, catching fish in the lagoon, collecting shells. Playing games with my younger brother. Driving the car: Independence, in control, free to go where ever I wanted. Sense of freedom.

In the next part of my dream I wake up lying on the sand .The whole area had been hit by a tsunami. Only my one brother was still with me, we were lying between a lot of rubble and only the tips of what use to be houses and tall buildings were visible between huge sand dunes everywhere. My first concern/thought was for my parents. I knew they were dead and instantly felt a great loss. A thought of hope that just maybe they were trapped and I could save them didn’t even cross my mind, I knew with certainty that they had died. My severe feeling of loss and grief was quickly replaced by a determined decision to find them and excavate their bodies.(126 words)

Sand dunes: Desert, deserted, overwhelming, sinking quicksand feeling. Desolation. Sand slipping through my fingers, watching time go by as the sand filters through an hourglass. Parents: Unconditional love, support, family...
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