She gives me a dream. She's at a prestigious academic conference to give a talk and she can't access her files from 'dropbox' to get started and is trying to stall by making jokes and charm the audience.
Her association to dropbox is 'drop trow'- which is an old expression for pulling down one's pants.
Her association to this is 80s movies. I ask her for the first particular 80s movie that comes to mind.
She mentions one and I ask her for the first thing about the movie that comes to mind.
She brings up an attractive female character who is trying to kiss a man but has food all over her face.
I ask her to describe the woman in this situation and we come to attractive, oblivious, and never going to "get the man".
I ask her to turn these into 'I statements" and after saying them out loud she acknowledges that they feel true.
You ask the patient to say more at this point and it may lead to a story about their past (i.e. narcissistic injury), it may lead to sharing a defense (i.e. melancholia) in which they share their "badness" with you, etc.
Make sure to let your patients know about ambivalence and that a part of them can love themselves or another and a part can hate themselves or another. Many have a tendency to dismiss exploration of a part of themselves because they feel like they will be judged as if it's the whole of them (by themselves or by the analyst).
You can also circle back around later and bring the 'drop trow' association to the dream at large and ask about the idea of standing in front of an audience of important people with one's pants down.