#381 – Dreams As Guides to The Soul with Steven G. Fox

Steven Fox

Transcript

Steven G. Fox PhD is a private-practice licensed psychologist with over
25 years experience. He recently authored the book, “Dreams: Guide to
the Soul.” This book formulates forty rules to describe a method of
dream interpretation he acquired from Jungian analysts and his own
clinical practice as a dream interpretation therapist. He says,
“Having this book at the beginning of my practice would have reduced
the amount of time it took me to get to where I am now as a dream
interpretation therapist by at least ten years.” It was his intention
to develop a system of dream interpretation that was teachable and
relied on Jungian concepts.

It was while recovering from complications from an experimental
treatment for MS (which was ultimately successful) that Fox had a
recurring dream that facilitated his recovery and led to his
fascination with dreams and their meanings. Fox and his wife Deborah
Brogan, a board certified psychiatrist, currently share a private
practice office in Mesa, Arizona. His blog is drfoxblog.com

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3 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I loved this episode so much. I listened to it twice through back to back and was rewinding parts of it as well while I listened. I also immediately got the Kindle book which was so reasonably priced I could hardly believe it.

    Having such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable interviewer must have been a dream (yes, pun intended) for a book writer. And having an interviewee who is such a fan of Shrink Rap Radio must have also been a dream for the interviewer.

    What I love about Steven’s approach is its eclectic and very practical nature. As much as I am a fan of the Jungian way of interpretation, it can be a bit cumbersome and daunting for those just starting out or for those who don’t have the time or inclination to delve deeply into the waters of the unconscious.

    When he talked about the setting of the dream giving a clue as to the life issue the dream was addressing I was reminded of a technique I learned from a psychologist who basically Freudian. It was to look for clues as to whether the dream was addressing one, or more, of the key areas that we humans face in our everyday lives. These are relationships, finances, health and the work we do in the world, be it paid or otherwise. I guess one could add to that hobbies or avocations but that wasn’t part of her system.

    I wish I had known about nightmares being PTSD when I first started having them. It took me years to realise that’s what they were and I was trying to interpret them symbolically in the early stages. David mentioned that people often take the dreams too literally and interpret the other people in dreams to be about the other rather than themselves but the opposite can also be true.

    I loved the fact that Steven shared so many dream stories and how he interpreted them – such a wealth of information. I especially liked the dream at the end, about the cat. I am a real cat lover myself and cats, especially my current cat, show up more in my dreams than any other character – besides myself of course. I’m almost always the hero of the dream!

    I was reminded by his story of the man who lost his entire family in a car accident of a story I heard that Elisabeth Kubler Ross told many years ago. I was able to find it without too much trouble – thanks be to Google. It was not a dream but a near death experience and maybe there\’s not too much difference. If anyone is interested here’s the link:

    http://www.near-death.com/experiences/experts02.html

  2. phwaap
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Another good interview with lots to chew on. It always piques my interest when someone has a new twist on interpreting dreams. However, I’m not sure where Mr. Fox got the idea that learning to interpret dreams in a Jungian manner is a 10 year effort, though I imagine it was a bit tongue in cheek.. There are very succinct methods (I’m thinking specifically of Robert Johnson or James Hall here) that can be used daily and don’t require huge amounts of time.

    I agree with Dr. Dave that dabblers in dreamwork often miss the boat with interpersonal interpretation. However, I think the experienced often have an unconscious gravitation towards universal symbol dictionaries, wanting to do away with the laborious task of amplification. In my view this is a mistake. Yes, you can get in the ballpark with heavily archetypal dreams but that often isn’t good enough. The beach was a great example. One person may have a relationship to the ocean filled with undertows, threatening waves, and concealed monsters waiting to nip at his or her submerged body. Another may view it as the start of his livelihood (fisher, scuba instructor, tour guide) or where one simply relaxes. The sea might generally refer to the unconscious but one’s relationship to it is what’s more important.

    Anyhow, I found his recasting of masculine and feminine curious and maybe culturally biased. I wonder if the interpretation of masculine as active and feminine as emotional in dreams would hold in, say, India where the shakti (feminine) is regarded as the activating element. It seems to me that our relation to the feminine and masculine is developed well before any distinction between active and emotional is available.

    While I agree there’s solid evidence that nightmares can be associated with PTSD or trauma (Kalsched’s book has some terrifying examples!), I don’t think it’s exclusively so. I know of a case, for example, where a man experience nightmares and night terrors for several years, most about demons that had come to take him away to hell or finding that he was imprisoned in various rooms with no exit for eternity. He was very scientific, hyper-intellectual, professionally successful but, what’s more important, absolutely convinced of reductive materialism. That we are anything more than a fortuitous collection of atoms was illusory. Indeed, he prided himself on being able to see through this illusion that had so bewitched everyone else.

    These nightmares finally ceased when he discovered convincing evidence (for himself) that there were forces, i.e. the unconscious, working in him and outside of his control. It is exactly what Jung describes in the Zarathustra lectures about Nietzsche’s declaration that God is dead. For then God takes up residence in the unconscious and one is thrown into a psychic crucible to be “cooked and transformed.” Until that arrogance is relinquished, the compensatory process continues. Really I think this is one of Jung’s most important insights about dreams and the psyche, that it seeks to maintain a balance.

  3. Kara
    Posted December 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    This was an eye opening interview. Most of us take dreams very literal and try to have them make sense in our current circumstance. It was incredible to hear that almost detail of our dreams is an important, even the most insignificant of details. We have to take details of our dreams as symbolism.

    From this interview you can tell that Steven Fox is quite the expert on this subject. He is knowledgeable and very informational. To be an expert in the subject and to be able to make dream interpreting as easy for the average person as he does, astonishes me. No longer is dream interpretation a difficult and complex subject. He gives great tips and advice that anyone could understand.

    I have recently started reading Steven Fox’s book “Dreams:Guide to the Soul” and have found it very interesting. With the knowledge learned from his book, I have been able to take my dreams messages to a whole new level. Finding out what information our subconscious is trying to tell us through our dreams is absolutely fascinating! With the help this book has given me, the path from my conscious to my unconscious had gone from a back road to a super highway. I’ve been able to put together the puzzle pieces and have been able to better take my subconscious’ advice and navigate better through my current circumstance.

    Thank you shrink rap radio for interviewing such an astounding psychologist! And thank you Steven Fox for putting in the time and knowledge on such an interesting subject. I will most definitely be listening to this interview again and reading his book over and over in hopes of continuing to learn more about myself through the messages my dreams are giving me.

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