Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Interpreting a Fantasy

I believe fantasies are amazingly powerful in helping an individual uncover/reveal parts of his/her deepest core. Jack Morin, in Erotic Mind highlights much of the academic material that is the source for this assignment. The following is a helpful tool in examining the core of a person’s fantasy(ies). By the way, some individuals suggest they don’t fantasize. If the word "fantasy" gets in the way, I will talk about daydreams, or hopes, or wants, or desires. (If you find the comparison helpful, fantasy analysis might be compared to dream analysis.)

The first step is to have a “solid” fantasy to work with. This occurs when an individual writes his/her fantasy. I ask clients to write the fantasy as if a reader could enact the fantasy based simply on what is written. For some people this might be the equivalent to a screenplay or script. I’m not expecting material that is “word for word,” but enough detail to have a pretty good sense of the actions/motivations of the individuals. The content of the fantasy can be anything, including relationship, dating, wants, joys, fears, the search, hunt, etc. I do encourage the individual to include sexual contact as well.

Second, I remind the individual this is a process of inquiry. The client is the one who makes the determination if something “fits.” I (or a group) may provide suggestions, but ultimately the client says, “This fits the bets.” There isn’t a right answer, simply today’s better answer. Future reflection might nuance what is uncovered. Within inquiry, it is important to brainstorm different thoughts about the underlying motivations. In another blog post, I ask, “Why does a person stop at a stop sign?” As I asked in the blog, “And why else, and why else, etc.” There are many reasons a person stops at a stop sign. So too there are many influences in the fantasy.

Third, remember that many conflicting answers can be applicable at the same time. This reflects the tension within the individual. The concept of layers within the individual is important.

Fourth, when possible, look for an expression of the primary thinking error. Often in the fantasy, the primary thinking error looses its power or is somehow addressed/resolved. You may also get a sense of the primary values. In philosophy, we talk about positive and negative arguments. The absence of something can affirm the presence of the same thing.

Fifth, I use a process that is helpful to me. Feel free to adapt. In my process, I have the client read through the entire fantasy without interruption. The goal for me is to understand the fantasy in context, length, and direction. Then, I have the client reread the fantasy. In the second time through, I will stop at places (usually a clause, or each sentence) and complete a literary analysis on that small piece. With some clients, I will revisit the fantasy 1-week, or 1-month later.

Sixth, use open-ended questions for each section. After you ask each question, engage in basic reflection of content/feeling, and ask, “What else?” Here are some basic questions that I start with. Feel free to adapt/add.

1) Tell me about the motivation that is going on in that moment.
2) Describe anything from your history reflected in that moment?
a. Describe how you felt or what you thought?
b. How is this important to you today?
3) What would happen if it were to come true?
4) Describe your fears if this was to happen?
5) Describe your hopes if this this was to happen?
6) How would you feel if this was to happen?
7) What would you think if this was to happen?

The academic material:

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