Dream Interpretation 101: The Counsellor’s Book

I slept in late last Wednesday, and awoke naturally from a rather interesting dream. A great problem with modern living is the waking up to an alarm clock, which interrupts sleep before our dreams are completed. This denies us the opportunity to test and explore our thoughts and feelings and, in so doing, to gain the sort of insight and understanding that might enable us to progress beyond waking up to an alarm clock. This is just another aspect of being ‘trapped by the 9 to 5′.

The dream

In this dream, then, I was about 17 years old, and not much different from my current, adult self. I was perhaps in my final year at secondary school, in the rural hills overlooking Lake Geneva. On a clear day, it might have been possible to see the snow-capped Alps beyond the lake, but now the sky was clouded over, and the seed that had been sown into the bare but loamy fields had only just begun to germinate. I had a general feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control, assailed by timetables, assignments, deadlines, social pressures, and various incoherences and futilities, and so I arranged to see the school counsellor. I sat on a chair in her room and began talking about my situation. She however was not interested. She was lying on a couch covered by a quilt, and every so often she lifted the quilt to reveal her bare breasts. After some time, a friend or colleague of hers arrived; she stepped out to greet him and through the window I could see them bantering. I felt quite angry at the counsellor and, to pass the time, I began to explore her room and in particular her bookcase. Therein I picked up a large leather-bound volume, ‘The World as Will’ by Arthur Schopenhauer. Holding the book in my hands, I was struck with such wonder and amazement that I broke into tears. Without waiting for the counsellor to return, I stepped out of the room and onto High Holborn (London), at which point I woke up.

My interpretation

In this dream I was young and of an age to learn. The sky was clouded over reflecting my then feelings. The seed in the rich, fertile soil had begun to germinate, auguring my own growth and rebirth. I sought help from the person best qualified to help me, but, like many people, she turned out to be immature, self-motivated, and of no help at all. She was lying on the couch while I was sitting in a chair, suggesting that she needed therapy more than I did, or that I understood or was to understand more than she did. The book represented my salvation, which was not to come passively through the counsellor and by extension through society, but actively through the thoughts of the greatest minds and by extension through philosophy. The title of the book, ‘The World as Will’, was particularly significant because it connoted freedom of the will, which is the cure for helplessness and the particular gift of philosophy. The breaking down into tears represented a cathartic release brought about by sudden insight, which is an important goal of classical psychoanalytic psychotherapy. When I stepped out of the room, I was no longer trapped on school premises but liberated into the wider world. The name ‘Holborn’ (‘whole-born’) itself is also likely to be of significance.

NB: The school counsellor is not based on any real person, and is a pure figment of my imagination.