THE GESTALT APPROACH TO DREAMS
Fritz Perls felt that the dream was a projection–that all components in the dream, large or small, human or non-human, are projections (representations) of the dreamer. “The dream is you–all of it.” He suggests we regard every image in our dream to be an alienated part of ourselves. He asks the dreamer to act the part of each image and to experience the events of the dream from the standpoint of each. Encounters can be conducted between the images, and when they fight, the dreamer knows he is on to something important. The aim of the encounters is to bring the fragmented parts of the personality into harmony so that they help, not hinder, growth. Record your dream in the first person/present tense, in order to bring it into the here and now and to re-experience the actual feeling of the dream.
Sundance Comm. Dream Journal 2(1) 1978
Our Shadow Selves
The conflict between the need to be accurate and the desire to feel good about ourselves is one of the major battlegrounds of the self, and how this battle is waged and how it is won are central determinants of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.
A dose of self-deception can be helpful as well, enabling us to maintain a positive view of ourselves and an optimistic view of the future. (Strangers to Ourselves, p 39)
Carl Jung’s “shadow” concept –the part of us we reject, deny and project onto others–would appear to contain in addition to traits we are ashamed of, also traits and beliefs that are unconscious, leading to mistakenly motivated beliefs and actions. . I know that’s a mouthful, but for example, evolution’s kinship selection seems to underly prejudice which we deny and are unaware of.
Strongly held drives and unconscious emotional beliefs can can result in illogical decisions. One such effect is associated with gun champions. According to Shankar Vedantam, who painstakingly researched and published The Hidden Brain, uivocally is no. “The issue is whether people who live in homes with guns are safer as a result of owning a gun, and the answer is unequivocally no.” (p 235). The combined risk of “accidents, suicide and domestic violence dwarfs the risk of homicide at the hands of a stranger.” (p 236).
“We certainly feel more control when we have a gun in our posession, and it is easy to confuse the feeling of control with safety. Indeed, this is an unconscious bias in the hidden brain….” p 237