The Dreams of Women

By Smith, Jocelyn | Herizons, Summer 1998 | Go to article overview

The Dreams of Women


Smith, Jocelyn, Herizons


THE DREAMS OF WOMEN

Dreams are like gifts on offer every night in wrapping which often remains unopened," Lucy Goodison writes. "Many of us are fascinated, curious, sometimes frightened by them. We want to know: can we find out what our dreams mean?"

Goodison is a freelance journalist in London who for sixteen years has run workshops to help women understand and use their dreams. Her intelligent and well-written book begins with a discussion of conventional methods of interpreting dreams. Goodison acknowledges Freud's contribution, but adds that "his ideas on dreams were limited by his sex, race, class, generation, and prejudices...We see this when he misunderstands the experience of women, or attempts to push his own experiences onto a reluctant dreamer." Jung's approach to understanding dreams is also double-edged. Jung "was more likely [than Freud] to find in dreams inspiration, vision, optimism and potential for positive change," but Goodison disputes his belief that the unconscious and intuition are "female." She notes his failure to "question the stereotypes which categorize those qualities as female in the first place."

Although "no single theory or therapeutic approach can claim to have the definitive answer," Gestalt therapy can help women to use their dreams. …

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