Dreams have been employed in psychotherapeutics and psychoanalysis because these mental activities are considered to provide information on the unconscious activities of an individual’s mind. However, several researchers have expressed that the interpretation of dreams has lost some of its more meaningful significance, mostly due to the appearance of other psychoanalytical topics such as transference and countertransference. Dream therapy has been used to generate impressions on the personal level of psychoanalysis.
Dreams have also been actively employed in group therapy, although such application to a specific size of group has major differences (Friedman, 2002). Firstly, there is a functional distinction between the interactions that occur between an individual and a therapist and the interactions between a group of individuals with a therapist. In addition, dream interpretation in group therapy involves sharing of dreams to more than one individual, hence the interpretation, perception and expression of a particular dream may be more complex than what is observed in individual therapy.
In the paper by Quintana entitled “The Function of Dreams in Group Therapy,” several perspectives of dreams in relation to group therapy are described. It is true that dreams function in a general way to every individual, yet there are more detailed differences that can also be observed within group therapy. Since there are more minds that are actively interacting in group therapy, the employment of images and symbols tend to be a more informative means of expression and interpretation of dream in psychotherapy (Stone and Karterud, 2006).
In addition, there are significantly more levels of perception and interpretation of dreams that have to be considered during group therapy. Several investigators have suggested the role of inter-associations and connections to the dream and the members of the group that is involved in the therapeutic activity. Dreams in group therapy also stress the importance of understanding of each individual’s background and ethnicity (Joyce et al. , 2007). Such additional consideration is essential in the success of group therapies.
It is promoted that interpretation of dream at the group level during therapy requires having a larger social context, because there are more personalities that are involved in the psychoanalysis and interactions. Another issue that seems to be essential to the success of group therapy is that each individual who is participating in the activity should be willing enough to share their innermost sentiments and dreams to the rest of the members of the group.
Inhibitions may distort an individual’s delivery and sharing of their personal dreams, and this is turn may modify the interpretation and expression of the rest of the members of the group, including the therapist. Group therapies related to dreams and psychoanalysis are more complex than simple, individual dream interpretations with an individual (Lau and Kristensen, 2007). However, such psychoanalytical technique is effective in specific treatments for mental disorders. Several skills are needed by a psychotherapist, in order to regulate, to guide and to control the direction of such group therapies.
It is also important that the psychotherapist projects to the members of the group that he is capable of providing a sanctuary for the members of the group to find clearance of mind, healing and growth. The psychotherapist should be competent enough to understanding cultural differences among the member of the group, and work his way around and through each session. References Friedman R (2002): Developing partnership promotes peace: Group psychotherapy experiences. Croat. Med. J. 43(2):141-147.
Joyce AS, Piper WE and Ogrodniczuk JS (2007): Therapeutic alliance and cohesion variables as predictors of outcome in short-term group psychotherapy. Int. J. Group Psychother. 57(3):269-96. Lau M and Kristensen E (2007): Outcome of systemic and analytic group psychotherapy for adult women with history of intrafamilial childhood sexual abuse: a randomized controlled study. Acta Psychiatr. Scand. 116(2):96-104. Stone WN and Karterud S (2006): Dreams as portraits of self and group interaction. Int. J. Group Psychother. 56(1):47-61.