Dreams and Emotional Adaptation: A Clinical Notebook for Psychotherapists

Article excerpt

ROBERT LANGS: Dreams and Emotional Adaptation: A Clinical Notebook for Psychotherapists. Zeig, Tucker, & Co., Phoenix, AZ, 1998, 201 pp., $32.95, ISBN 1-891944-05-3.

In Dreams and Emotional Adaptation: A Clinical Notebook for Psychotherapists, Robert Langs presents a model for understanding dreams, based on an adaptationcentered approach. In this model, current emotional events act as specific evocative triggers to the formation of dreams. Dreams, in turn, help the individual to adaptively process these events. This processing takes place on both a conscious and also a deeply unconscious level. The conscious level is reflected in dreams largely by the manifest content, whereas the deeply unconscious level is reflected by encoded meanings of the dream images. Whereas the manifest content is somewhat obvious and superficial, the deeply unconscious component is hidden and repressed, discovered by elucidating the triggering events and associated ideas by a method called trigger decoding. The unconscious component almost always relates to the psychotherapy. More specifically, it relates to rules, settings, boundaries, and frames pertaining to psychological threats and to the inevitability of death.

In psychotherapy the therapist first focuses on the manifest content of the dream. The unconscious encoded content can then be investigated, beginning with a search for the repressed environmental triggering event. …

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