The first event that kickstarted the new academic session at the Psychology Department was an interesting one which aimed at giving students an insight into the world of dreams and their possible meanings. Like all things psychoanalytic, this too attracted huge crowds to the venue, and Lab 2 ended up being barely large enough to accommodate all the curious souls. Amidst this quest of finding a place to sit was Dr Eric Soreng, a Jamia Milia Islamia alumni, and now, a professor at Delhi University.
Dr Soreng addressed topics like sleep paralysis, déjà vu, and research on dream analysis in the Indian context, before talking about his own interest and work in dream analysis. Mentioning his thesis, he listed a few areas that he addressed in it, including dreams of expecting mothers, dreams in an Indian context and in the Upanishads, the concept of winter dreams, and dreams and subatomic particles. He also briefly spoke about the various topics students under him are exploring as part of their dissertation. He followed this by asking the students the definition of psychology, which he later described as “the study of the soul”. He also added that mainstream psychology usually focuses on humans when their eyes are open, but fails to address the major portion of their lives that they spend sleeping – which is what interested him.
This brief introduction was followed by insight into Gestalt dream analysis, which is based on the principle of ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ – which would also apply to dreams, an unacknowledged phenomenon. Addressing these would lead to the whole. He then noted the main steps of Gestalt dream analysis, which began with rapport formation, and helped the person relax. Following this, he explained that the dream of the person is narrated in present continuous tense, and the vividness of it is checked by asking questions. Further, the process of ‘becoming’, wherein which the person ‘becomes’ the various aspects of the dream, is initiated and the emotions associated with them are gauged. This finally leads to interpretation.
This sparked many questions from the students, which Dr Soreng addressed patiently and with interest. The questions ranged from curiosity about one’s own dreams to how he could tell a stranger their secrets. He then talked about Carl Jung and Jungian dream analysis. He briefly talked about Jung’s life and dreams before giving the audience a glimpse of what dreams meant to Jung. He quoted Jung in saying that dreams have superior intelligence in them, and while analysing them would not help one overcome the shortcomings of life, it would guide one on how to cope with them. Lastly, he explained the basic process of Jungian dream analysis, which starts with collecting a series of dreams, and goes on to finding a structure and personal amplification within them, to putting them in a personal context. This is followed by coming up with a hypothetical interpretation and taking the dream to the world of archetypes and finding themes which are then validated.
Numerous hands went up again as Dr Soreng finished this brief overview of the Jungian dream analysis. He answered some more questions but was unable to address all due to the lack of time. He did, however, leave the students with an open invite to attend his lectures at North campus. He was thanked and given a token of appreciation by Dr Parul Bansal on behalf of the department.
Reported by: Akshita Negi
Photo credits: Apoorva Jaiswal