In this lecture I want to share 3 of the most commonly used methods which dreamologist or dream analyst might use to professionally interpret dreams. Now, while there are many claims as to how one may go about trying to correctly or incorrectly interpret a dream, there are 3 very widely known professional methods I’ve studied and found very useful to interpret dreams. This lecture is also for the skeptics that currently believe the interpretation of dreams isn’t possible or psychologically and scientifically plausible. It’s also for those of you out there that value your dreams and would be interested in an interpretation but are a bit hesitant do to all the unnecessary mystification and bogus claims around dream analysis and interpretation. Let’s begin an overview of each of these well-known methods.
The first method is called psychoanalysis. Sigmund Freud who was also commonly referred to as the father of modern day psychoanalysis popularized this method. As a well-known medical doctor and psychologist of his time he was the first to really bring the meaning of dreams to the world’s awareness and to the awareness of other professionals in the field of psychology.
The two most associated ideas or viewpoints, which Sigmund Freud strictly followed regarding the use of psychoanalysis for dream interpretation, are as follows:
Psychoanalysis in the short sense is basically a collection of methods and theories used for analyzing one’s inner thoughts, determining psychopathology and also interpreting someone’s dreams.
- Freud believed that dreams portrayed individuals desires. In one of his well-known books The Interpretation of Dreams, he refers to this as wish fulfillment.
- He believed that while also being wish fulfillment dreams, that the vast majority of person’s dreams were wish fulfillment dreams revolving around sexual desires. He also believed that these types of dreams occurred much more frequently in men then in woman. (which is typically true -- in that men statistically may have more dreams relating to sex then woman.)
Now, I want to go on record to say that this method or stance on the possible meaning of dreams is my least favorite method, but at time’s it’s indeed a very useful method and has useful theories to run a dream through if a particular dream a client presents to me fits the wish fulfillment and sexual desire genre. Unfortunately while this dream method is disliked by most professionals i've encountered in the field of psychology, with good reason, it does have its uses when the opportunity arises.
I’d like to quickly give you an example of a dream based in wish fulfillment and sexual desire from one of my twitter followers.
This tweet reads “I woke up wanting to make love to my girlfriend. I had a dream about her. It’s only been 2 days but I really miss her”.
This Twitter post clearly implies that the dreamer has not only a wish to see his girlfriend but also a need in the dream to fulfill a sexual desire. Psychoanalysis in the use of dream analysis does get a little more complex then this and much more outlandish then I would agree with in regards to Freud’s theories; such as every object appearing in a dream being a representation of a male penis or a female vagina and so on but we won’t be elaborating on that much. I mainly want you to know that, while my least favorite of the three, this method is available and is still used today.
The second method I want to address is analytical psychology. This is a collection of theories and ideas founded by Carl Jung, who was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist around the early 1900’s, who is quite possibly one of the greatest and most well-known dream interpreter’s to ever live. Carl Jung was also a past apprentice and student of Sigmund Freud. However at a later date, Carl Jung broke his professional relationship with Sigmund Freud and began to develop his own methods and theories to interpret dreams. This is due to the fact that while working with Freud he began to find patterns in their client’s dreams showing that not all dreams were based in wish fulfillment and sexual desire. And this is indeed the case in my own findings and experience in dream interpretation. Analytical Psychology is probably the method I use the majority of the time to analyze and interpret dreams.
Analytical psychology revolves around the essential concepts and method of delving into the inner thoughts of a person and discovering their specific personal associations with the imagery arising from their dream. I would like to give you a short example of the dynamic of how this works. Let’s pretend you see a snake in your dream. For the most part a snake is a snake and has a universal base meaning regarding its physical existence in most cultures and across mankind. However, on the individual level each person would more then likely have specific associations and/or relations to a snake.
Regarding a snakes physical essence in a dream or in waking life, a snake is as snake to the human eye. However if two different people were to relay a dream involving snakes to me, and one of them was terrified of snakes since childhood but the other person worked at a snake nursery to protect endangered snakes and had no fear of snakes, the dream symbol of a snake in each dream would potentially bare very different interpretations. Finding out those associations the dreamer has to the key symbols in a dream is part of the work and consultation in any professionally performed dream analysis and interpretation. This can simply be accomplished fairly easily by carefully asking the dreamer questions about their perspectives and positions regarding key imagery from the dream. Not to get off subject, but this is also why I personally am not a fan of the many thousands of supposed dream dictionaries online. Taking into account what I’ve just discussed it would be almost impossible to use a stock dream dictionary to interpret your dream without first knowing the many personal associations a person may have with many different dream symbols and possible imagery in their dreams. There is however, one dream dictionary that I know of and endorse for specific reasons. In a future lecture I will talk more on this book and also address my stance on the average dream dictionary and why I personally don’t particularly take stock in them or recommend them to my clients or anyone who really wants to know what their dreams may truly mean.
Analytical psychology also deals heavily in archetypes and ancient mythology in the practical analysis of dream interpretation. Archetypes are actually a very interesting and very deep topic however; we’re not going to focus on that for this lecture. Archetypes and ancient mythology in the use of practical dream analysis is set for a future lecture for my viewers.
Finally, let’s discuss the third widely known method, The Universal Language of Mind. This is a method I use quite a bit and it’s also the official method developed and taught at the School of Metaphysics, which is where I received my academic training and experience with modern-day dream analysis and interpretation.
The Universal Language of Mind is based on the concept that imagery in dreams has a universal base meaning across all persons, societies and cultures across the world. Now this sort of relates to the idea behind my snake analogy above. The idea behind The Universal Language Of Mind is rooted in the theory that all dream imagery has a universal base meaning – period. However, it doesn’t stop there. You then take that base meaning and apply that to a dreamer’s associations with the imagery to then come up with a suggested meaning of their dream.
This is a very quick explanation of the Universal Language of Mind. Think of The Universal Language of Mind as a hybrid between analytical psychology and a really good dream dictionary. I have actually found this theory to be very useful and have successfully interpreted many dreams using its principles. To better elaborate on The Universal Language of Mind I may invite an actual professional from The School of Metaphysics to perform a more in-depth overview on The Universal Language of Mind in a future lecture or episode.
I consider The Universal Language of Mind to be one of the more modern methods available for interpreting dreams. This is great since we live in a more modern world where nowadays people tend to have more modern dreams, which include elements from movies they've watched, images they've subconsciously stored long hours playing fantasy computer games and even personalities of friends and acquaintances from social media outlets.
I’d like to also make clear that I am not explicitly implying that any of the methods above are factual better then one or the other. I am simply implying that these are the most effective and widely used which I am aware of; that either at some point in the past or currently hold a solid standing in the real world of professional dream analysis and interpretation.
Finally, I’d like to end this lecture with 2 quotes from Carl Jung’s book, Dreams, which is a book specifically written for practitioners in dreams. I personally chose these quotes because I think they convey a very important standpoint that I pride myself in enforcing when consulting with my clients about their dreams.
The quotes read:
The analyst who wishes to rule out conscious suggestion must therefore consider every dream interpretation invalid until such time as a formula is found which wins the approval of his patient.
Furthermore he states:
The doctor should regard every such dream as something new; as a new source of information about conditions that’s nature is unknown to him. Concerning which he has as much to learn as the patient. It goes without saying that he should in every single case be ready to construct a totally new theory of dreams and dream analysis
I’d like to conclude this lecture by extending an invitation. If any of you have questions about dream interpretation or are interested in having a professional dream analysis performed please feel free to visit our website and contact me anytime. Thanks again for tuning in to this lecture.