By Jann Garitty
Tatjiana Sesum is the driving force behind the introduction of flower essence therapy to practitioners in Serbia. She attended the 2012 FES Professional Course and subsequently earned her FES Practitioner Certification. While attending the FES Professional Course, Tatjiana learned about the importance of dreams as insight into the emotions of clients. She now notes, since she has become attuned to this relevance, that many clients have significant dreams. Tatjiana recognizes the importance of dreams in the context of her work as a flower essence practitioner. In her extensive experience in relationship, marriage and family therapy, typically Tatjiana does not consider the dream lives of her clients. In those areas of expertise, the therapy she provides focuses more on mediation, conflict resolution and cognitive behavior therapy. Tatjiana feels her work as a flower essence therapist has become more holistic and enriched by the inclusion of the consideration of her clients’ dreams. “I began paying attention to that kind of soul expression and now follow up in regard to my clients’ dreams. If they say that they can’t remember their dreams or that they don’t have many, I encourage them to open up to that kind of information. I tell them to put a notebook by the bed and write down their dreams upon awakening,” she explains.
When clients relate a dream, Tatjiana tries to determine the connection between the feelings illustrated in the dream and their real lives. If there is a match or similar emotions occur both in their awake and dream states, she addresses those emotions. She says, “The conscious and unconscious parts of the brain are trying to resolve the same emotional knot which prevents their life from being as rich as it can be.” Tatjiana further notes that some people do become aware of the connection when they talk about their dreams with her. However, if that’s not the case, she asks questions of the client to stimulate their awareness and help them realize that a pattern between their real life and dreams exists.
Oregon Grape smooths the way toward more trust in relationships
In real life, L had had a big fight with her friend a month previously and they hadn’t spoken with each other since that time. L still felt angry and hurt about something her friend had said during their argument.
Going back to dream, L was still on speaking terms with her friend and asked if she had taken the diary. The friend admitted that she had taken some papers, but not the diary. But L was convinced that her friend was lying, and that she had done that because she is jealous of L, and wants to make L suffer and be hurt. The overall emotion in the dream was helplessness, hurt and feeling unprotected.
Tatjiana chose Oregon Grape because in real life L is very cynical, suspicious of other people’s motives, and doesn’t trust others easily. She keeps a kind of distance and that distance prevents her from developing real intimacy in personal relationships. L is 42 years old but she is still unmarried and without a partner, in spite of wishing strongly to be with somebody and share her life.
After taking the Oregon Grape, it helped L in a way such that when a couple of weeks later the friend called to ask her out, she accepted. With her friend, L didn’t even have the urge to tell her how the friend was wrong nor did she want to criticize her. L saw that it was her own way of apologizing to her and they continue to be friends.
S is a woman, an artist, and a singer in an opera choir. In her dream, she was coming home from work, and in her flat, she found two gypsies sleeping in her bed. Her mother and grandmother told her that they were part of their family. She felt confused and she was waiting for them to wake up because they were sleeping in her bed, and so she couldn’t go to sleep. After 2-3 hours, they woke up and one of them told her to prepare some dinner, some pasta. She was irritated by that demand and thought it was rude and inconsiderate to ask that of her. She was in her own house, and thought, “Why should I have to wait for them to wake up and then prepare them dinner when I am so tired?” Then, she was preparing to go to bed and was changing the linens. She could feel in her dream how the gypsies were not hygienic, so wanted to change the sheets. While she was preparing herself for bed, she complained to her mother and grandmother about how she felt and she blamed them—criticizing them, “Why were the gypsies in our flat?”
The dream corresponds to S’s real life in that she was hoping for a promotion in the choir, in which there was a hierarchy of soloists. She was hoping to be more of a leading singer in the choir but that didn’t happen. In her real life, she felt that she didn’t have much luck in her life, and that other people always got more of what she wanted, and they didn’t deserve it. She thought that she was more deserving of things that she wanted and should get. The lack of promotion was only one example of four or five in which she felt that way.
Holly was given to S for jealousy and envy. “It’s useful for people with the feeling that there is not enough abundance of whatever they want in their lives," said Tatjiana. Tatjiana tried to help S realize that this was a pattern for her, that she was rejecting her jealousy and envy, and couldn’t accept it as a part of herself and so didn’t want to acknowledge it.
After taking Holly, S’s complaining about other people and life in general became less and less. There was a change in her emotional attitude.
N, a woman, dreamt that she needed to host a TV show. She began to realize that the TV show would be live. She didn’t have a concept of what she should do, and so she felt panic. People were giving N some suggestions but she realized that she was too frightened to even remember them. She was trying to write down the ideas and in doing so she understood that she was too much in panic and thought she couldn’t even do that. They sent her to another room and they gave her a chance for the first time to just watch how other people were doing the show. She watched how the show should be done and while watching it she felt disappointed in herself because of her failure, she thought that she was a failure, and still felt frightened. She thought, “Am I going to be able to do it even after watching how it should be done?” N felt a lot of anxiety and berated herself.
Tatjiana knew in real life N’s main complaint was low self esteem. She is a teacher in a high school and a single mother with children. In Serbia, teachers are not paid very well so N thinks she can change the situation by becoming a school master, but she is afraid of how she will do that. She has a lot of responsibilities and is dependent on the good will of colleagues, which she will lose when she becomes a school master. N feels conflicted. One part of her wants to be a responsible parent and provide for her children, and another part is aware of the responsibility that would come with being a school master.
Tatjiana gave her Cerato for her anxiety about failure, low self esteem, and depending on the advice of others.
White Chestnut was given to N because of the anxiety about her future.
Tatjiana prescribed flower essences based solely on the dreams reported by TL. TL would not relate much during her meetings with Tatjiana; characteristically she would say, “Nothing important happened…” Therefore, Tatjiana tuned in to her dream life to understand what TL was experiencing emotionally.
TL was a 39 year old woman who lacked independence, maturity and self-confidence. She hoped to find a vocation which both suited and supported her. She also wished to find a partner with whom she could share her life.
Tatjiana writes of her experience regarding TL’s dreams and her subsequent choice of flower essences for TL after hearing about them (details here):
“After the first combination of flower essences, TL returned with three very vivid (to her) and clear (to me) dreams that she had in the period of taking the essences. I was completely convinced that the dreams were the result of internal evolution resulting from the use of the flower essences. These three dreams are described in the detailed narrative (dreams no 1, 2 and 3). They were the principal diagnostic tool for the subsequent flower essence combination that was given to her. We discussed each additional important dream in a way that we assigned them names. For example, dream no. 3 was assigned the name 'I keep my old wounds.' Then we would discuss the significance of that dream for her, how she understood it and we tried to find links between what was happening in the dream and in her life (no matter if these were present or past events). In addition to the fact that TL’s dreams were very helpful for prescribing flower essences, some of them also implied deep levels of processing in her subconscious state of mind. Due to their traumatic nature, these were blocked from the conscious part of her psyche. They were also infallible indicators of TL’s soul process because the dreams were of a completely different quality from the beginning until the end of the therapy. They started with gloom, fear-filled dreams which occurred month after month; and then they became 'brighter' and 'more cheerful.' While dreaming, TL felt 'peace in her soul,' 'happiness,' 'satisfaction,' etc. This processing of traumatic events during dreaming can be evidently seen if one compares dream no. 3 and dream no. 7 or 8.”
This change was also accompanied by positive changes in TL’s real life. For example, TL was reporting generally better energy and mood, change of life style, etc. TL acknowledged that her better understanding of dreams was assisting her long-term inner growth and change. The dreams and discussion about them during sessions were the principal tools for raising the awareness leading to the client’s long-term inner growth.
Read about TL’s detailed sequence of dreams and the selection of essences for her here.
About Tatjiana Sesum
Read Tatjiana's report on the development of flower essence therapy in Serbia.
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