Client’s Understanding of Their Dream in the Insight Stage
The insight stage begins with the therapist asking the client to say what they think the dream might mean. As the client responds, the therapist can listen carefully to indicate a valuing of the client’s introspection, to assess the client’s current level of understanding of the dream, to assess the client’s motivation to hear a different interpretation and to determine the level of interpretation to which the client is naturally drawn. If the client has no understanding of the dream and is eager to go further, the therapist has to make a decision about what level of interpretation to pursue. If the client understands the dream partially, it is important for the therapist to listen for which parts of the dream were left out in the client’s interpretation.
The initial work is then for the therapist to help the client incorporate the missing pieces into the interpretation to see if that leads to any additional understanding. If the client has a very thorough understanding of the dream, the therapist can ask if the client is happy with that interpretation or whether they want to try to understand the dream at another level, given that most dreams can be interpreted in several ways. First, the dream can be understood in terms of waking life, and this can include thoughts and feelings about the past and future as well as the present. Secondly, the dream can be interpreted in terms of parts of self, such that each image or person in the dream is a part of the client’s personality, hence reflecting inner dynamics. Thirdly, the dream can be understood as an n experience in and of itself, without the need to translate or interpret it into something else.
Next, the therapist helps the client to explore how changes in the dream parallel actual changes the client wants to make in their life. Finally, therapists can ask the client to summarize what they learned from their dreams and what they want to do differently in their lives based on what they learned from their dreams.