We had a very fruitful group on 8 March 2018. That was our fifth group. Hana shared a dream with us. This time she initiated to have group amplification of the dream before we know the background and condition of the dreamer. I thought that could be a good exercise for us, to just use our own counter-transference and associations without having to restrict ourselves to the apparent reality of the dreamer at the moment. As it was a long dream, it was also good that we could leave the history of the dreamer behind and focused our time on content and amplification of the dream. It turned out to be quite a stimulating exercise, with interesting images and associations emerged and we enjoyed exploring the possible interconnections, although the interpretation of the dream could not be regarded as complete without referring to the other dream contexts and history of the dreamer; that is what we have to remember. Anyway, I believe it had been a good experience for us.
On the other hand, I see that our group is getting more cohesive now after the regular work together. I look forward to the next group when we can learn from each other again.
Thank you for joining our 4th Dream group held in Feb. We skipped a month and I believed some of you must have gained some refreshment and insight from Professor Teague in joining his retreat or workshops. Thanks Hana for sharing her countertransference dream for Karen’s case with us. We managed to have some
time processing it together, using our own feeling and associations to try to gain more understanding towards the psychic situation of the patient. I personally found it quite interesting, and I believe some of you might feel the same as me. We can actually see that as a way of experimenting interpretation of dreams as a group within the Jungian framework. I think we can look forward to producing something unique of our group which sounds exciting! Thank you all again for your participation and hard work!
In this 4th group, we had discussed more dreams of Annie’s patient. That had allowed a very good chance for us to see a dream series which I think will be even more helpful than looking at a single dream. For those who can continue to stay with us in subsequent groups will be able to appreciate what I mean later. Reading a patient’s dreams in series is like knowing a person in time which will give you a more throughout picture of the psyche of that patient and what conflicts and struggle the patient is dealing with and how they evolve with time and therapy. Together with the external change evidenced, we know where we are in the journey of the patient’s development or, to use the more Jungian terms, in the patient’s ‘individuation’ process, when we have the belief that every person is heading towards the separation from the collective and becoming the unique person as who they are with their own destiny or personal fulfilment as a person. Study of fairy tales and mythology on the other hand will help us get familiar with such motifs so we can see how they manifest in different individuals as personal life stories, and how they get stuck in complexes which would be like turbulence in deep water that can sink a boat. We are in those journey with our patients and it is important that we can see it more clearly than our patients so as to be helpful for them. I hope you will gradually experience Jungian Psychotherapy as interesting and exciting the same as me! See you all in March!
We have gone through our third dream group in Dec and thanks Karen and Marie for sharing their cases with us. So far the dreams we studied were interesting and I am glad that we can have such chance to explore the symbols together while the discussion could at the same time be based on the underlying clinical materials. We have now decided to form a whatsapp group to further contain our countertransference in the subsequent process which hopefully can help support the group dynamics and also hold the materials that come from us for further understanding and exploration. I think this will be an interesting exercise. However, at the start of such group, we must have some ground rules clearly stated. First of all, confidentiality is stressed and anything shared or discussed in the group will not be revealed in any way outside the group. Secondly, we will make no attempt at analysing any members in this group, either through their sharing, countertransference or any clinical materials they brought up. I know sometimes it is tempting to do so! But now we will promise ourselves not to focus on any personal elements of the materials. In reviewing countertransference of each other, we assume that there is something in it which we all share, different from the usual approach in regarding countertransference as something mostly personal. Actually when we feel like we can understand an experience, we can assume that the experience also exists in us somehow and somewhere in a collective way, which I believe should be true, as no human experience can be beyond our territory when we are human and when we see human experience as a collective whole. That collective part is what we will focus and amplify on, and that’s what I believe will enrich our understanding at the cultural level. Let’s see how it goes!
It is a month since we met in our first Dream group. Thanks Annie for sharing her case! This is the first group of this kind for HKIAP, and I think we have a good start! I believe many of us are still holding the patient’s dream image in our mind, possibly with more processing and amplification still going on, and the dream work of the group probably has not stopped yet! I would regard that as a group amplification process which is based on our counter-transference encountering the patient through the therapist’s perception and the patient’s dream, and also through our sharing of similar culture and human nature in general with the patient and with each of us.
Different analysts may have different approaches to dreams. Over the past years of learning Analytical Psychology and interpretation of dreams, I find myself more and more stressing on the use of introspection in understanding the meaning of a symbol. What I mean is that I put myself into the shoes of the figure and through entering the landscape of the dream, I see what inner sense or feeling or experience comes to me. You may regard that as a subjective approach, in contrast to the objective analysis of the general meaning from a distance, but the subject now is not the patient, but the therapist, so it is basically a kind of countertransference. I think this is a very useful amplification in addition to the usual way we do through collecting associations from the patient. We may discuss that more in our subsequent groups. You may also keep observing your countertransference even beyond the group time and see whether there is more to come up. I hope to meet you all this week!
Dr. Teresa Chan
Dr. Tom Kirsch was one of a few Jungian scholars who visited the developing group of Hong Kong in 2008 and later again in 2010. We were inspired by his personal knowledge on Carl Jung since he was one of those who had known Carl Jung in person. He was remembered as a gentle mentor always with his encouraging smile and generous guidance. He will be missed by all of us who know him personally.
Hong Kong Institute of Analytical Psychology