Liz had a dream that recurred. I asked her to tell in Gestalt style, in the present tense - that is how we get clients into the here and now with a dream.
Here is how she related it:
I am on a train, next to my mother. In front are two boys in black uniforms, teasing me. She gets upset, and they walk away. Now one is peeing next to me on the train, discharging lots of warm blood out of his intestines. The floor of the train is warm red blood. I am scared. He just stands there with blood running out. The other body, same thing is happening
When we get to the station there is a female doctor with lots of equipment, I am so relieved she is there.
I ask her what she is feeling, to connect with her on a deeper and present level...scared, the feeling of dying, all alone.
When she speaks as the boy, she says, I am losing energy, collapsing on the floor. Can’t hold any lifeforce or warmth in my system.
I ask her to come into her body - this connects the dream experience with her current somatic experience, and brings it even closer to ‘who she is’.
...she feels a bottomless bucket in her chest. I ask her about how much warmth she feels in her system right now. She reports 30%.
I give her feedback - bringing her somatic experience into relationship.
My experience of her is that she is a very warm person - I would say 70%.
I ask her about this gap - and give her an experiment - can she turn her warmth up and down.
This allows us to start working with the emergent issue, warmth.
When she turns it down, she feels like collapsing, heaving and cold in the intestines.
She says, she actually often feels a pain in her small intestines, like needles. And she is very subject to the cold - hard to breathe in winter.
I ask her to come into her small intestines now.
...she feels heavy, dam, humid, not moving.
She reports that she is not good at receiving on a physical level. It’s hard for her to get enough nourishment from food - she is skinny and needs to take supplements. If she is touched, she gets scared. It takes some effort for her to relax. She is not much into sex. She wants the physical touch, but more like a child.
I ask her to ‘be’ the blood in the dream - to explore the warmth… ...she says, I am warmth, full of life, full of nutrition. The boy is rejecting me, I am getting out of his system, I am not needed by him.
I ask her in what ways this fits with her life, connecting the dream experience with her real life.
...she talks about the way she rejects life… It's too much, too much trouble at times, doesn't feel understood, an internal male voice telling her she should die.
So I ask about her father...he always pulled away. As a child, he was very closed, didn't talk with her, just watched TV or shut himself away. His face was stern and solid. She felt sorry for him, acted like a boy to try to please him...just wanted to see him smile and be happy.Now as an adult, when she sees her father, she feels sick in her stomach. He looks to her like a little child, wanting his mother.
So, now it’s clear. As a child she needed the warmth of the parent, her father, but in fact it was her warming him up, and she never could. The task was too much for a child, and it drained her of her life energy. Now she doesn't have a good base of warmth to draw from, she has a habit of feeling drained, of giving more than she is getting. This makes her generous and motherly towards people, but internally she just feels pain and emptiness.This split represents a rejection of life, and she is in a quandary, an impasse.
Reaching this point, we don't resolve the impasse, but what we do is bring awareness to it. In Gestalt, all change starts with awareness…
Posted by Steve Vinay Gunther