N.22 - The Ordering Function of Thought in Folktales

Wandering through the dark forest: dreams and fairy tales in a group workshop

Abstract

The paper touches upon the role that fairy tales play in a group therapy, as it works through processes relating to dream contents.  It exemplifies the way in which the interdisciplinary dialogue existing between group analysis and folklore research provides some interpretative options that would be unavailable unless one is familiar with the collective material existing in fairy tales. The example presented in the paper deals with the tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’, and demonstrates the way in which fairy tales are, in some cases, so integral to the shared cultural repertoire that it is almost impossible to deal with the dream narrative without relating its contents. The paper demonstrates the ways in which fairy tales and dreams might present a complementary or even compensatory dialogue, similarly to the way in which different voices in the group portray the outlines of conflicts and dynamics that the group will be occupied with in the phases to come. It is possible that this example may shed light on the way in which the affinity between dreams and fairy tales can influence the interpretative process.

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