TRIGGER WARNING: Contains sensitive content about miscarriage.
The Doomed Puppy is a trauma dream I experienced after my miscarriage. Dream therapy expanded my experience of the initial trauma and allowed me to integrate and help process the traumatic experience of miscarriage.
The dream takes place on a theatre balcony where an overly camp gay man is holding his puppy. The balcony suddenly collapses and the puppy falls from the man's arms and he screams 'OH NO, MY BABY!!' as the puppy plummets from the height of the balcony.
The man represents my overwhelming emotions and distress at the loss of pregnancy, the balcony symbolises my uterus collapsing and the puppy is highly symbolic of the embryo I lost.
Well known late psychologist James Hillman stated that we are all going to experience some form of trauma throughout our lives whether that be on the higher or lower end of the spectrum. However, we can change our traumatic past by working the memory so the trauma is not remembered in a re-traumatising way, by shifting perspective away from the habitual self-story into a non-self state.
Exploring this dream through group dream therapy allowed me to shift my perspective, helping me to process and integrate my traumatic experience with a fresh outlook from the dream's perspective.
Exploring the colourful and overly dramatic gay man allowed me to experience and hold my overwhelming and overwrought emotions through his distress of loss.
Exploring the fall of the puppy gifted me the puppy's perspective which was one of complete oblivion of self and surroundings.
I found it profoundly comforting that the dream puppy had no sense of connection or self awareness, it was totally oblivious to what was happening which I was able to transfer to the experience of the embryo.
Dream therapy expanded my experience of the initial trauma, there is now a fondness for the gay man and the puppy which was non existent prior to dream work. The gay man and puppy are now a memorable part of my miscarriage experience as a whole.
Neuroscience supports this type of dream work through research of war veterans with PTSD. Studies have found that war veterans who dreamt of their experiences showed improvement in their PTSD symptoms and their brain scans changed over time to show new neural pathways while war veterans who did not dream of their experiences showed no improvement in PTSD symptoms and their brain scans showed no changes over time.
If you have a trauma dream you would like to share, please comment below or post to your dreamfolio and I'll provide comments.
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To find out more about dream therapy/embodied imagination therapy visit the Australian Institute of Embodied Imagination https://www.embodiedimagination.com.au/
Explored by dream therapist Martina Kocian
Animated by Cheng-Hsu Chung