Updated at: 11-04-2022 - By: Jane Brody

If you’ve ever heard of a Freudian psychologist telling you what your dreams mean, you’ve probably imagined a psychic with a crystal ball or a dream dictionary (and it sounds a lot like cigars and sex).

Dream analysis, on the other hand, does none of the above. In addition to that, it’s a great method to learn more about yourself.

Jeffrey Sumber, a clinical psychotherapist, explains why we dream, the importance of analysis, and how to begin analyzing your dreams in the following article.

Why We Dream

For Sumber, who studied worldwide dream mythology at Harvard University and Jungian dream interpretation at the Jung Institute in Zurich, “dreaming is crucial for our development and evolution as metaphysical beings,” not just for our physical survival.

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He claims that dreaming is a way to communicate between our conscious and unconscious minds, allowing us to become more entire. In between what we think we know and what we really know, our dreams serve as a sort of stepping stone.

Dreams provide a safe haven for us to work through difficult or troubling feelings and experiences. Because they place us in a world that is both emotionally real and physically unreal, “dreams” give us a safe haven in which to digest upsetting or confusing information or occurrences.”

One of the best ways to become a whole person, says Sumber, is to analyze your dreams. You can learn more about yourself by looking at your dreams, which reflect your “darkest wants and deepest hurts.” You can learn more about yourself by examining your dreams.

Do Dreams Have Meaning?

After having a particularly vivid dream, you may have questioned what it signified when you woke up. Neurologists and psychologists have been delving into the mysterious world of dreams for decades. It’s not clear what our dreams imply or why we have them, whether they have any significance. Experts, on the other hand, have offered a slew of possibilities.

Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst, felt that dreams were a gateway to the subconscious. Personal experiences, external stimuli, internal stimuli and mental processes during sleep are all components of dreams, according to him. According to Freud, the underlying meaning of dreams was hidden and twisted by dreams. Freud felt that by studying and interpreting dreams, we may learn more about ourselves and our deepest impulses.

Carl Jung, a renowned psychiatric physician, shared some of Freud’s ideas. As a result, according to Jung, dreams are a direct expression of one’s deepest aspirations rather than a distortion. Dreams, according to Jung, contain symbolic aspects. Stress or an unwillingness to face a task may be symbolized, for example, by a dream in which you are being chased.

In the present day, there are several competing ideas about the significance of dreams put forth by scholars. According to the activation-input-modulation (AIMP) paradigm, dreams are seen as an attempt to make sense of what is happening in your brain while you are sleeping. A neurocognitive explanation of dreaming proposes that dreams are based on memories that have been previously stored in the brain. Dreams, according to this view, are unique in that they mirror the distinct ways in which each of us processes information. In other words, dreams aren’t necessarily recollections of the previous day and can’t be linked back to certain periods in our lives.

We can learn more about how dreams function and what they imply if psychologists and neuroscientists work together more closely.

How To Analyze Your Dreams

You don’t have to follow a certain set of standards when it comes to dream interpretation. However, there are no formulas or prescriptions because each person is unique.

To understand dreams as a whole, Sumber believes, one must look at them in relation to one’s own development and self-discovery. You can use these guidelines, however, to help you better understand your dreams and their significance.

Keep a journal to jot down the dreams you have. Sumber emphasized that this is the first and most critical stage in interpreting your dreams. Writing down the dream, even only a few phrases that summarize it, is a way of bringing its content to light.

Having trouble remembering or recalling your dreams? “No dream to record” should be written in your journal every morning, he says. A person will begin remembering their dreams within two weeks of starting this practice.” As a matter of fact, you may release the floodgates!

Make a note of how you felt during the dream. Among the questions Sumber advises pondering are: “Was I terrified, angry, remorseful, etc.? Does it matter if I still have those feelings the next day? Which feelings are the most comfortable for me right now?”

A “feeling-toned combination of thoughts,” as C.G. Jung described dreams, According to Sumber, “our unconscious self is continually calling for us to feel into our ideas, thoughts and behaviors in order to obtain a deeper sense of who we are and where we are heading in our life.”

Look for patterns in your sleep and in your waking life. “They’re going to kill me,” says Sumber as an example of a recurring idea. In other words, “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” It might also mean, “I’m not going to be able to make it.” Consider whether you’ve had any ideas like these all day. If so, in what circumstances have you contemplated these ideas?

Examine every facet a dream may have to offer. It’s possible for you to appear in your dreams in a variety of ways. Sometimes “we can locate ourselves, our personalities,” even though there is clear distinction between us and another character in the dream, in many aspects of the dream.

How does it feel to be the bad guy?” Sumber posed these questions to the group. If you’re an aggressor, how does it feel to be a passive bystander?

The dream dictionaries are out of order. This is probably not the first time you’ve seen object-specific dream dictionaries. Symbols in dreams may have a global significance, but the key is to discover what the dream means to you, as Sumber points out

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Although universal symbols may have a collective meaning, I am more interested in where the dreamer goes with the symbol and what they connect to as a result of the dream.”

Because symbols can signify various things to different individuals, even if there are some universal features, it is important to keep this in mind. My own belief is that everyone of us has a unique and personal history that influences the symbols, objects, tastes, and smells that we identify with a particular dream story or experience. ‘

You’re the expert, so remember that. Do not cease believing your own inner guide to your unconscious because there are no experts other than yourself, Sumber advises.

As a result, he says, “therapists must consider each new client as a distinct, new universe to be found, setting aside all of their information, tools and associations for universal symbols and dream interpretation.”

Even the most banal dreams can teach you a great deal about yourself and your life. You may believe that your dreams aren’t interesting enough to investigate. Thoughtful outcomes can be achieved by simply imagining having oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, according to Sumber.

Keeping a Dream Journal

1. Keep a dream journal next to your bed so that you can keep track of your dreams. Dreams are a part of your life, even if you don’t remember them at all. Remembering your dreams is much easier if you take the time to jot them down. Keep a pen or pencil with your dream journal. Make sure you document your dreams right away as you wake up.

  • When you’re on the road, don’t forget your dream notebook.
  • It’s a good idea to include a date with your posts. You can also leave space under each entry for your interpretation of dreams if you prefer.

Try to remember as much of the night’s dreams as you can when you wake up, keeping your eyes closed. You should then record them. Make it a habit to write down your dreams as soon as you wake up in the morning. When you wake up, you’ll remember the most of what you’ve just experienced. Even if you wait just a few minutes, your recollection of the dream will begin to deteriorate.

  • Do not even use the restroom, as this will allow your mind to forget!
  • When waking, take note of your thoughts as these thoughts may have been on the approach of surfacing in your dream (if you hadn’t awoke first) Are you suddenly thinking about a word, color, or tune that you haven’t thought of in a long time? For your purposes, this could be of assistance.
  • By remembering as many information as possible, you will gain a deeper understanding.

Keep a record of everything that comes to mind. A symbol may be whatever you were doing or whomever you were with at the time. Make a comprehensive list of everything that comes to mind. There are some people who even draw their dreams! Included in the list of things to include are:

  • Emotions that you felt
  • People who appear to be in a dream
  • Animals
  • The dream’s setting
  • Colors
  • What would serve as an alternative form of transportation if there were any?
  • One, if it could be called that.
  • If there is one, then we have a plot.

It is important to remember that dreams do not always have a plot. In dreams, it’s usual for things to make no sense whatsoever. Your conscious mind, on the other hand, will try to tell you a tale about your dreams. Refuse to give in to this strong desire! Even if it’s just a jumble of feelings and images, write down everything you can remember. For the most accurate understanding, don’t fabricate it yourself.

  • Rather than trying to make the dream into a story, focus on the feelings you had, what you saw, and the words you used.
  • A wolf might hunt you through the woods in a dream, for example. With the use of words like “lost,” “chased,” and “wolf,” you can depict a forest from your dream by drawing multiple trees, along with words like these.

While you’re recording your dream, resist the urge to analyze it. As a result, you may find yourself changing or omitting essential information from your dream as you write it down. Try to record the events as they unfolded at the outset. It’s up to you to make sense of it.

Title each dream. nbsp; This is a good way to get your brain to focus on a single idea or detail that stood out the most to you. However, refrain from attempting to give your titles any significance. Anything goes as long as it’s creative. Helps you better understand your own feelings regarding the dream.

  • For example, the woodland dream described above may be titled “The chase,” “Scary forests,” or “Running afraid,” among others.

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9 Common Dream Interpretations

For many years, people have been interested in learning how to interpret their dreams. Understanding the deeper meaning of your dreams might help you get insight into your own emotions and thoughts.

According to famed psychotherapist and psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, we can discover the hidden and unconscious urges that cause neurosis by investigating the obvious content of dreams.

Dream interpretation has become a popular pastime for both pleasure and self-reflection in the modern world. No, dreams don’t reveal themselves in this way. Is it possible to discover your deepest desires and wishes by analyzing your dreams?

Many dream interpreters and analysts have published a slew of articles in an attempt to figure out what these common dream themes and symbols really mean, despite the fact that some modern theories of dreams suggest the answer is no — that dreams may be more biological3 or even be due to sleep position4.

Some of the most common dreams and their interpretations will be examined in this article.

1. Dreams About Falling

Falling to one’s death from a tremendous height is a common dream. Even while it’s common belief that people who die in their dreams will die in real life, this is simply not the case. Now that we’ve shown that dreams of falling are possible, how do we interpret them?

Several popular dream interpretations and at least one study suggest that having falling dreams indicates that something isn’t going right in your life. 5 In other words, it could be saying that you need to reconsider a decision you’ve made or consider taking a different path in your life.

Fear of falling is a prevalent phobia for many people. Author Russell Grant of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary argues that this is a sign for real-life anxiety about failing in work or in a romantic relationship. It is said that “falling frequently communicates a wish to let go and appreciate life more.”

2. Dreams About Being Naked in Public

Awkward dreams in which you show up at school or work in your birthday suit aren’t uncommon. Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Dreaming of being completely exposed is a common occurrence.

To Penny Peirce, the author of Dream Dictionary for Dummies, public nudity dreams may signal that you feel like a fake or are reluctant to admit your flaws.

3. Dreams About Being Chased

Being chased in a dream, whether by a known or unknown adversary, can be extremely frightful. And it’s not uncommon for people to have these kinds of fantasies. 5 But what do your dreams of being pursued reveal about your mental state?

Often, dream interpreters will say that these dreams indicate that you’re trying to avoid something in your day-to-day life in some way. A desire to escape one’s own anxieties or wants is one possible interpretation offered by Tony Crisp, the author of Dream Dictionary.

The identity of the pursuer plays a role in deciphering the meaning of such a dream.

  • Animal chasing: If you’re being chased by an animal, it could mean you’re trying to run away from the sentiments of rage and passion you’re trying to suppress.
  • Chased by an unknown assailant: If your assailant is an enigmatic, unidentified character, it could reflect an unpleasant childhood memory or a recent trauma.
  • You are being stalked by someone of the opposite sex because you are terrified of love or haunted by a previous relationship, according to Crisp.

4. Dreams About Losing Teeth

What if your teeth fall out in your dreams? Many different interpretations can be found in Penny Peirce’s Dream Dictionary for Dummies when it comes to dreams involving loosing teeth.

This could be a sign that you’re concerned about your looks or attractiveness, for example. Your lack of confidence in your ability to communicate, or your fear that you could have said something embarrassing, could also be a sign of this.

As she notes, “the actual core of teeth is that they can bite through; they can cut; they can rip; they can grind.” If you lose your teeth, you lose your ability to assert yourself, make decisions, and protect yourself.

5. Dreams About Dying

Another prevalent theme in dreams is death, which can be especially unsettling. Dreaming of the death of a loved one or even of one’s own death is a common occurrence. Such dreams are commonly interpreted as a sign of apprehension about change or apprehension about the unknown.

Because we don’t know what’s on the other side of a change like we don’t know what’s on the other side of death, the dreaming mind connects change with death,” explains Lauri Loewenberg in her book Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life.

Dreaming about the death of a loved one can also reflect our fear of change, especially when it comes to our children, according to Loewenberg. As a child matures, parents begin to wonder what happened to the child they knew when they were younger. Dying in one’s sleep is a way of lamenting the passing of time.

A number of studies have shown that those nearing the end of their lives and those who care for them experience significant and meaningful dreams, often relating to the deceased, watching or engaging with the deceased, loved ones waiting, distressing experiences, and unfinished business in their dreams. 10

6. Dreams About Taking a Test

Studies have also found that dreams of test-taking are common. According to Craig Hamilton-Parker, author of The Hidden Meaning of Dreams, taking an exam in your dream might reveal an underlying fear of failure.

Dreaming about taking a test is also prevalent, according to recent studies. Craig Hamilton-Parker, who wrote The Hidden Meaning of Dreams, believes dreams about taking a test signal a deep-seated dread of failing.

7. Dreams About Infidelity

Anxiety-inducing dreams in which you believe your spouse or partner is having an affair with someone else are common. Some individuals wonder if the dream is actually real in some circumstances. You may dream about your lover cheating, but does this guarantee it will happen? Is it possible that this is already taking place?

Trish and Rob MacGregor of Complete Dream Dictionary: A Bedside Guide to Knowing What Your Nightmares Suggest believe these dreams may be a reflection of thoughts of infidelity, but they don’t mean that your partner is cheating or will cheat. What you are doing is playing with the boundaries of what is possible in the actual world, they say.

How to interpret your dreams • HowWOW!

An infidelity-related dream can be an indication that a couple has trust, loyalty, and communication issues, say writers Eve Adamson and Gayle Williamson in The Complete Idiot’s Guide Dream Dictionary. This partnership isn’t providing what you need right now if you or your partner cheated in your dream, they write.

8. Dreams About Flying

Many people have fantasies about flying in their sleep. Frightening (particularly for people who are scared of heights) and exhilarating are two ways to describe flying dreams.

Tony Crisp, the author of Dream Dictionary, says that when people dream about flying, they are often imagining two quite different scenarios. On the other hand, they might connote a sense of freedom and self-determination. On the other hand, they may be a sign of a desire to leave or evade the reality of daily life.

‘Flight alone occurs most frequently, illustrating the independent nature of flying,’ he claims in his essay. Flying, on the other hand, “may reflect our sexuality…especially portions of it indicating independence from social conventions and limitations,”

9. Dreams About Pregnancy

Pregnancy-related dreams can be interpreted in a variety of ways, according to dream analysts. Pregnancy dreams, according to David C. Lohff, the author of Dream Dictionary, may indicate a woman’s anxieties of being an incompetent mother.

Pregnancy dreams, according to author Tony Crisp, are a sign that the narrator is building a prospective or growing a relationship. 8 Russell Grant, a renowned dream analyst, believes that these visions portend troubled times ahead.

FAQs

What does it mean when you dream about someone?

If you dream about someone close to you, Dr. Carl Jung believes that that person may represent your feelings about that person in the real world, however if you dream about someone you don’t know (such a person from your past) or an unknown person, that person is more symbolic. 18 Dreaming of your parents in places where kings and queens would ordinarily be found may be a reflection of your regard for them, according to Sigmund Freud, who believed that the atmosphere around the person you’re dreaming about may also be important.

How accurate are dream interpretations?

Individual and subjective interpretations of dreams make it impossible to answer this issue with precision. They are unique in that the significance of dreams for one person may not be the same as another’s for the same reason. The readings you give to your dreams are also based on your own interpretations, and your interpretations may differ from the interpretations of others.

Why are dream interpretations important in psychoanalysis?

To believe in the dream self-organization theory is to believe that dreams are a window into the mind and body of the dreamer, giving us a glimpse into their innermost thoughts and feelings. A person’s dreams might be examined by a psychologist to gain a deeper insight into his or her thoughts and feelings on an unconscious level.

What do sexual dreams mean?

When you’re awake, your thoughts and desires about sex may influence how often you have sexual dreams, according to some research. 21 Dreaming about sex is often linked to the desire to be sexually stimulated. 22 More than 95% of individuals say they’ve had erotic dreams at some point in their lives, so it’s not uncommon.

What do recurring dreams mean?

According to some theories, having frequent, recurring dreams is a sign of unmet psychological needs. Post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, is known to be associated with recurring dreams.

What do vivid dreams mean?

As a result of acute trauma, some people have vivid or highly traumatic nightmares, with some studies finding an increase in these types of dreams following the 9/11 attacks. When you have vivid dreams, it’s usually because you’re in REM sleep, but it could also be because you’ve had a sleep disorder, are stressed, pregnant, or are taking medicine.

What Is the Meaning of Nightmares?

Nightmares are a form of vivid dream that is terrifying or uncomfortable to the point of becoming disturbing. Up to 8% of people over the age of 18 report having regular nightmares. Dreams like these are more common in those who suffer from:

  • Psychosis resulting from a traumatic event
  • Difficulties with REM sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Disorders of the mind such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia are all included in this category.
  • Drinking or taking antidepressants or sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturates might lead to withdrawal symptoms.

The substance of a person’s nightmares may differ from person to person, but they almost always reflect some level of emotional or physical suffering. Recurrent nightmares may be lessened with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

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