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Jungian Therapy With Carrie

If you arrived in a foreign country and wanted to get to know the people and place, it would help to connect with a local resident. It’s the same when approaching your unconscious. For the woman described below, working on her dreams with Carrie opened a new realm of awareness about how to tell the difference between a lover and a trickster.

The client had the following dream:

I’m in Managua, Nicaragua, in the living room of some family friends. I spot a cougar out the window and point it out to others. It looks toward me and then leaps through the window into the living room. I hunch down on the floor with my legs tucked under me and my arms at my sides. The cougar smells me and then nips my hand. I don’t move.

The dreamer, a 32-year-old nurse, had become very passive in her life, believing she wasn’t capable of much and trusting people who were untrustworthy. Prior to therapy, her life included a series of toxic romances with men. In the dream, the dreamer’s psyche appears as a city (Managua) surrounded by a jungle to emphasize the need for awareness of danger in the environment. The cougar (representing keen instincts for observation, decisiveness, and assertiveness) could easily bite her harder but only nips her hand enough to get her attention. Often a helpful animal that nips the dreamer does so because the dreamer needs to pay attention to what the animal represents. Such an animal has come to help, not harm.

In the therapy process, this woman at first found instincts strange and had no awareness of their value. By working on a series of dreams, she began to live less in her thoughts and more in her body. She reclaimed her playfulness and physical senses like hunger and exuberance. She started evaluating behavior more acutely, sensing when the words of others didn’t match their actions. Then she began to sense whether others were truly friendly, honest, and reliable or whether they were only striving to appear so. As a result, she changed the boundaries of her relationships in ways that profoundly improved her life.

Working on her dreams with Carrie helped her navigate the foreign territory of her unconscious, respond constructively to its messages and change the course of her life.