The audiobook reviewed here is ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Dream Interpretation’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes who also narrates the audiob0ok. Firstly turning to the narration, I thought this was exceptionally good. Compared to the narration in the previous audiobooks I have reviewed here, which have also been of an exceptional quality, Estes brings a unique approach. She uses a style which gave the impression of listening in to her having an informal conversation interspersed with relevant anecdotes and always in a very light-hearted manner. She is able to do this while covering the introductory material to dream interpretation. There was some overlap with material covered by John Betts in his excellent podcast series on Jungian Analytic Psychology (e.g. see reviews here, here, here and here which link to relevant episodes). Thus we see familiar themes such as the benefits of keeping a sleep diary and Estes refers in the work to Jung’s approach to dream analysis. As this is a relatively short introductory guide to dream interpretation it serves the purpose of informing those new to the field as the title suggests and Estes attains this goal succinctly by explaining the central concepts while holding the listener’s attention. What I found particularly interesting in this book was the description of the common types of dreams that occur across many cultures including falling, flying and animals amongst others. Indeed listening to this list triggered one of my recent ‘forgotten’ dreams and perhaps reinforced that many of my dreams would fit into these common themes (although it could of course be coincidence!). However another fascinating resource reviewed earlier on the blog – the Dream Journal (see review here and site here) consists of dream narratives entered by members of the forum. A look at this at the time of writing revealed common themes or content in dreams including friends, relatives, searching, ‘peaceful’, fear, water and driving! While this is not a formal research area and members are self-selected (meaning it might not be representative of the general population) there are sufficiently large numbers of dreams to be able to ask some interesting questions. This site also shows that inquiry into the subject of dreams can follow both a qualitative and quantitative approach and while it is inherently difficult due to the nature of dreams it is not unreasonable to expect that such study will (and has) produced useful results. It is interesting to note that dream analysis has preceded the psychoanalytic movement and indeed the more formal analysis dates back many centuries. Nevertheless the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung contributed many valuable insights into this field and as Estes is a Jungian analyst she is able to communicate many of these insights to the reader. I found this to be a very useful resource for those new to the field of dream analysis.
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