Dreams What Do They Mean by ChelseaAutomatic

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									                        Introduction to Dreams

Dreams. They have been a part of the human psyche since before recorded
time. They have been said to have different purposes at different times
throughout the ages. Some divined messages from omnipotent beings in
dreams, others later saw them as a window to the unconscious. Some
dismiss them as nothing more than a biochemical reaction occurring as the
brain rests, recovers, and resets itself from day to day. What do you think
they mean? Should psychologists study dreams to see if they tell us
something about human behavior? Do you take the behaviorists standpoint
that since we can not directly study the contents of dreams, then they are
not something that the SCIENCE of psychology should be concerned
with. (Note: the behaviorists, therefore, are not mentioned anywhere else
in this workbook.) In this "meta-theoretical approach", you will begin to
answer some of these questions, and develop your beliefs.

What should you take from this exercise then? First, psychology has many
approaches. We will see this as you learn about the different orientations
(approaches) in dealing with dreams. Second, you will see psychology
evolved (and still evolves) in a socio-historic context. It is with this second
theme that we take a look at how dreams have been used in human history.

Dream Lore

Sigmund Freud is considered by many to be the impetus for studying
dreams and the unconscious in psychology. His work with the neurotic of
Vienna, however, provided a venue for others with similar ideas to express
their beliefs. Closer examination of the human race reveals that there have
always been dreams, and "analysts" for those dreams.

Freud was classically educated. He was probably aware of much of the
following Dream Lore, and many biographers cite examples from Freud's
own theories of "borrowing" from these early civilizations. His use of the
Greek civilization is very apparent, as in his Oedipal and Edipus
complexes. It is therefore appropriate the we look at the early civilizations,
and what they believed dreams signified, to get a firm grasp of where we
are today, and where your dream theory may be going.
Culture and Dreams

Babylonians -saw dreams as messages from the supernatural beings (good
dreams came from the gods, bad dreams came from demons)

Assyrians - saw dreams as omens. Bad dreams demanded action, i.e.
exorcisms. Other dreams were seen as "advice"

Egyptians -believed that the gods revealed themselves in dreams,
demanding pious acts, or warning of impending doom

Greeks -dreams were good or bad. Sometimes, a treatment, or sleep ritual
would be worked up to help incubate good dreams. This "treatment"
would include abstaining from sex, meat, and drink. Dreams often told a
prophecy. Aristotle postulated that dreams may be premonitions of an
illness coming from within the body, where some "unconscious" mind
recognized early symptoms, but the absolute sensation threshold had not
been crossed to alert the "waking self". (Sounds like he was way ahead of
his time, huh?) The Romans had similar beliefs.

Hebrews -dreams were a vision or prophecy from a god (keep in mind
that we see monotheism emerging here)

Hindus -dreams are prophetic, and the timing of the dream will indicate
how soon the prophecy will come to pass

Japanese -dreams are sought as visions to help answer questions that are
plaguing the waking self. Usually the answers come from ancestral spirits.

Muslims -dreams and astrology are closely related in this culture. True
dreams come from god, false ones from the devil.

Australian Aborigines -the spirits from underground rise and wander in
the land of the living, and when they pass through a mortal being, a
"greater vision" is momentarily acquired.. this would be what we call a

North American Indians -hidden wished of the soul are addressed and
fulfilled in dreams. Visions can also be sought after in the hopes of
answering a question or resolving a conflict.
           Psychoanalytic (Freud's) Theory of Dreams

Dreams and Meanings

Dream interpretation requires that you ask the dreamer what he/she thinks
the dream means. The first words out of their mouths are usually the most
telling (significant, or important). There is no "quick reference" book
available that can identify what objects in dreams symbolize. The objects
undergo changes that only the individual can gain an understanding of,
and the psychoanalyst can learn of through the "talking" cure.


There are obstacles that the patient's own unconscious throws up to keep
the meanings of dreams hidden (remember, this is the function of dreams
according to Freud). These obstacles can be in the form of forgetting the
content of a dream, being uncooperative in analysis, censorship in what
they do say about the dream, and other forms of resistance.

It is also important to realize that there are two levels to every dream. The
MANIFEST and the LATENT content. The origin of the manifest content
is easier to determine, and is generated by things like "day residue" (the
left over remnants of the day that the mind uses as a stage to hide the
deeper issues of a dream). The latent content is the one that is important
for understanding the unconscious conflicts that the dreamer is
experiencing. The latent or hidden part is where the greatest understanding
can be uncovered.

RULES for Interpretations:

      do not trouble yourself over the manifest's meaning, although the
       dreamer may want to, again to keep you (the interpreter) away
       from the more significant issue
      free associate, allow the dreamer to say what ever comes to mind
       when they think about different parts of the dream
      the hidden thoughts will appear on their own, we can not rush them

Types of Dreams

Dreams fall into one of the following categories, and serve these particular
functions: 1) the satisfaction dream, 2) the impatience dream- where the
dreamer dreams about being at a party or function, that is in the near
future, that they "can not wait to get to" so the dream takes you there, and
3) the comfort dream


      Dream censorship- the process by which the issues of a dream are
       omitted to hide the true meaning
      Symbolism- the manifestation of an object, idea, or feeling, in
       some "concrete" form that is in the dream. Figuring out what the
       manifestation symbolizes is a major component of Freudian dream
      Condensation- taking large issues, or more than one issue, and
       representing it is a dream with only one image, i.e. fearing your
       new girlfriend, missing your mother and personality fixations
       revolving around an oral fixation may be represented in a dream
       with just a baby with a pacifier
      Displacement- replacement of issues (conflicts) by something
       remote or nothing i.e. a big issue is only a small element of a
       dream, while a small issue seems to get all the attention (this
       would be displacement of accent, there is also displacement of
       omission where items from the dreams are just left out,
       displacement by modifications, and displacement by regrouping
       materials- again to confuse issues.
      Dream Work- the techniques that the unconscious uses to distort
       the reality and issues in a dream. Those "tricks" include:
       condensation, displacement, and symbolization

As stated, Freud would never write a "dreamers" dictionary, because you
can not identify what each element of a dream is supposed to represent
until you hear the patient talk and free associate. However, he did find that
many times, certain "items" of the real world, were represented the same
way between different people. Some of these "generalities" are listed here:

      a house = the human form
       if the house is flat (no balconies or things coming off the house)- it
       is a man if the house has balconies, awnings, etc., then it is usually
       a women
      emperors and empresses = parents
      Kings/Queens = parents
      little animals/vermin = siblings
      water = birth
      journeys/travel = dying
      the #3, umbrellas, sticks, poles, trees, (things that penetrate)
       knives, daggers, lances, sabers, guns, pistols, revolvers, (things
       form which water flow) taps, watercans, springs (objects that get
       longer) balloons, slide rulers, (things that defy gravity) airplanes,
       and (animals) snakes, etc. = the male sex organs
      pits, hallows, caves (things that hold things) jars, bottles, boxes,
       chests, coffers, pockets, cupboards, stoves, rooms, (things that hold
       other things) mouths, doors, gates, (things that represent breasts)
       apples, peaches fruits, and (others) woods, shrubs, bushes, etc. =
       female sex organs
      Intercourse (the act) was often found to be represented as dancing,
       riding, climbing, or experiencing some violent act

                      Jung's Theory of Dreams

A disciple and friend of Freud, Carl Jung was one of the elite in Freud's
inner circle. He learned however, that you can admire Freud, use Freud's
ideas, but you cannot question them or attempt to change them. His ideas
about a personal unconscious were synchronous with Freud's, but his
theory that there was something beyond that, what he called a "collective
unconscious" that all humans share (perhaps on some spiritual level) lead
him to be booted out of the Freudian crew. Jung started his own
movement, and began to look for universals, or "common themes,
symbols, and ideas" that are present in all humankind (and for our
concerns, all the aforementioned, dreams.) These Neo-Freudians (new
Freudians as they are now categorized) continued to emphasize not only
the individual (personal) unconscious, but also the collective unconscious.
Jung interprets dreams, often without even talking to the client, or
knowing anything about them. Instead, he relies on his knowledge of the
"traditional" or "shared" human conflicts.

Some of the terminology you will need to research and understand the
Jungian approach, are listed below.

archetypes - emotionally charged images and thoughts, that have
universal meaning, irregardless of who expresses them

anima vs animus - the female v maleness issues that all humans face.
Jung believed that no one is all male or all female, but rather some
percentage of each (a theory that holds water according to most modern
psychologists). This will cause a struggle that everyone has to deal with.
This type of "dichotomy" is common in Jungian analysis.

More recently, around 1973, researchers Allan Hobson and Robert
McCarley set forth another theory that threw out the old psychoanalytical
ideas. Their research on what was going in the brain during sleep gave
them the idea that dreams were simply the result of random electrical brain
impulses that pulled imagery from traces of experience stored in the
memory. They hypothesize that these images don't form the stories that we
remember as our dreams. Instead, our waking minds, in trying to make
sense of the imagery, create the stories without our even realizing it --
simply because the brain wants to make sense of what it has experienced.
While this theory, known as the activation-synthesis hypothesis, created a
big rift in the dream research arena because of its leap away from the
accepted theories, it has withstood the test of time and is still one of the
more prominent dream theories.

              Summary of some of the major theories

                         Your Dream Journal

Sigmund Freud said "Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious". He
wrote several books on dreams, dream content, and dream interpretation.
Everybody dreams, though there are those who say they do not. This is
perhaps because they cannot recall their dreams. Most dreams occur
during REM sleep, which takes up about 25% of total sleep time and
occurs on an average of every 90 minutes. This exercise is designed to
help you become more aware of your dreams, how often you dream, and
what (if anything) can you learn from your dreams.
First, staple several sheets of loose-leaf paper together, around 10 should
suffice (not pages ripped out of a spiral notebook), or get a small steno
pad. This is going to be your dream journal.

You will be making entries in these as described below.

Grades will be based on: following directions, insights gained, and
thoroughness. If you have any questions, please see me IN ADVANCE of
the due date. Start recording your dreams right away, and continue until
you have about 4 to 5 reams.

PART I. Sleeping Dreams

Before falling asleep, DECIDE you are going to remember your dreams.
Be patient; it may take a night or 2 for your unconscious to get the
message. The most important thing to remember is that EVERYONE
dreams and that once you believe you will remember them, you will!

Keep the journal and a pen close to your bed and write down dreams you
recall immediately, without interpretation. You may have more than one
entry per night (everyone dreams between 4 and 6 times) of varying
lengths (REM sleep gets longer, therefore, your dreams get longer later on
in night).

What should you record? Basically everything, uncensored, as you
remember them... do not worry about proper English for this part. To be
more specific write down:>

       dialogue or any words
       the number and types of people (friends, strangers, relatives)
       objects
       the mood of the dream (happy, sad, scary, etc.)
       settings
       themes
       events
       timing in the dream
       relations to the dream and you (are you an observer, participant,
        seeing yourself as player?)

If it's to difficult to record a part of the dream in writing, sketch a picture.
The journal may be handwritten. If there are any dream entries that you do
not want read, please mark these "Personal" across the top of the pages.
Part II. Written Report on your dream journal

Once you have about 4-5 dreams in your journal, try to analyze them using
the following questions as guides (but feel to create your own "questions"

      Were there any common threads, common ideas, running through
       the journal?
      Are your dreams bizarre? Mundane?
      Which dreams are most disturbing? Why? What do they mean to
      What common symbols or objects did you record? What do you
       think these symbols mean?
      Were you able to control your dreams as you remembered more
       and more of them?
      How are your dreams relevant to your waking life?
      Was the content of both journals identical on any days? What does
       this tell you?
      What seems to be the main function of your dreams?

In other words, what did you learn about yourself by writing in the

Write a thesis statement (SD3R), and support it with references directly
from your dreams. Summarize the dreams you discuss in your report.
Consider comparing settings, plots, characters, emotions, and colors.

The report should be in essay/paragraph form. Do not just write sentences
answering each question, rather have a thesis in mind that connects all the
individual ideas. The written report is to be types, around 2-3 pages,

Tips to help you remember your dreams:

      relax and keep telling yourself that you WILL remember your
      create a comfortable sleeping environment (you probably already
       have one, so don't do anything different because of this
      these dreams do not have to occur at night, dreams that occur
       during naps can be just as revealing
      if you can't remember a dream, when you wake up, just write the
       first words that come to your mind, as you look at them, a dream
       may come back to you.
      if you really get stuck, you can think about dreams you have had
       before, especially those that are reoccurring

Tips for dream analysis:

Ask yourself the following Questions:

      Were there any common threads, common ideas, running through
       the journal?
      Are your dreams bizarre? Mundane?
      Which dreams are most disturbing? Why? What do they mean to
      What common symbols or objects did you record? What do you
       think these symbols mean?
      Were you able to control your dreams as you remembered more
       and more of them?
      How are your dreams relevant to your waking life?
      Was the content of both journals identical on any days? What does
       this tell you?
      What seems to be the main function of your dreams?

                         Your Dream Theory

This is the major element of this project. Once you have completed the
readings and Parts I and II, you will develop your own theory, using the
criteria below and your own, as a guide.

It will help you to go back and reread your individual dream analyses.
Think about how you felt while you were writing them. Did you agree or
disagree with some of the requirements of the approach? This should help
you decide what you want to include and exclude from you theory.

Once that is done, you may begin writing your theory. This is to be typed,
and turned in Parts I and II.
General Guidelines

These questions are to help you begin organizing your thoughts about your
theory. You may change the order in which you address them and add
your own points as necessary. REMEMBER- this paper is to be in
paragraph form!!!! Do not just answer the questions and turn in a
"choppy" and illogical report. Again this paper should have a thesis that
clearly articulates your theory on dreams. It should use your dreams as

1) Define your theoretical orientation

       is it your own?
       is it one that you have read?
       is it a combination of those you have read?

2) Outline the theory

       what is the purpose of dreaming in your theory?
       who do things mean?
       what do you pay attention to- subjects, themes, events, objects,
       timing, relations?

The depth of your theory will determine the length of the paper. Please
make sure you address all points. I suppose that most papers will be
between 3 and 4 pages.

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