Greg Bogart’s book Dreamwork and Self-Healing: Unfolding the Symbols of the Unconscious is a rich and detailed contribution to the study of dreamwork from a Jungian perspective. Bogart’s scholarship is derived from the extensive study of the literature on dreams, both Jungian and non-Jungian, from which he quotes liberally throughout the book. He demonstrates a facility in integrating various schools of thought and connects the principles of dream theory with accessible clinical material. The result is an intimate portrayal of the interplay among clinical process, healing, individuation, and dreamwork.Bogart’s approach to the dream is expansive. He recognizes the reductive aspect of dreamwork whereby the unconscious holds unmetabolized material until the dreamer has developed the necessary skills and competencies needed to integrate difficult past experience. He equally gives voice to the prospective meaning of the dream, particularly to its spiritual and healing capacity.
In the second section, Bogart takes up core Jungian constructs – archetypes, complexes, persona, shadow, anima, animus, individuation, and synchronicity – and amplifies major elements of Jung’s theory with illustrative dreams. He does an excellent job of presenting Jung’s basic constructs, and he chooses dreams that enable the reader to grasp the way theory appears in real, personal psychological material.Finally, in the third section, he elaborates on a therapy case from his practice, “a man in his late forties… [who] was grappling with a recurring pattern of having affairs” (267). As Bogart writes about a series of dreams in this particular case, he includes his own responses to the client’s dreams. This deeper exploration of a single case, rather than a brief vignette, gives us a picture of the way Bogart. as therapist, interacts with the client and the dream material. Although Bogart’s passion for dreamwork is evident throughout the book, I found that his more detailed exploration of one particular case was especially rich and satisfying to me, the reader. In his narrative, Bogart describes the process that occurs between him and his client, the dreams that are triggered in response to sessions, and the unfolding of the client’s process.
Greg Bogart, Dreamwork and Self-Healing: Unfolding the Symbols of the Unconscious, London: Kamac Books.