Perls’ Dream Interpretation. The Gestalt Approach
Perls’ theory of dreams follows the holistic nature of gestalt therapy. Dreams are seen as being projections of parts of oneself. Often these are parts that have been ignored, rejected or even suppressed. One aim of gestalt dream analysis is to accept and reintegrate these.
The dream needs to be accepted in its own right – not broken down and analysed out of existence as something unique to the bedroom.
As with all gestalt therapy, dream analysis involves much dialogue and acting out. The dreamer is encouraged to enter into dialogue with the various aspects of the dream. The dreamer will also be encouraged to take the part of the dream elements, to act out the dream from their perspective. This applies as much too inanimate as to animate objects.
Therefore, for example, if you dream of being chased across a field you might begin a dialogue where you turn to face the pursuer and start asking him/her/it questions. Then you might take the place of the pursuer and start describing the chase from that point of view. This process could then be repeated from the perspective of a tree in the field overlooking the chase – a new perspective that could bring unexpected realisation.
An important factor of Perls’ theory of dreams is that little if any emphasis is given to “universal” symbols. All symbolism is unique in that it comes from the dreamer and only the dreamer can truly interpret it. In this way gestalt, dream analysis does away with the concept of the analyst as expert.
Gestalt Dream Work
A recurring dream is an unsolved problem.
All dreams are messages to ourselves.
The dreamer is the author, director and producer
Act out every role, whether it is animate or intimate
Have client tell dream in present tense
Have client put [Person / Object] in the chair
Talk to the [Person / Object] Use Meta Questions
Be Them/ That
Ask: How do you feel about that?
Ask; How do you feel about feeling that?
Listen for significant remarks perhaps several times
Ask: Have you got the message?
Ask; Do you understand the message?