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Dream Interpretation Term paper Essay

The dictionary meaning of ‘dream’ means, “a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.”

The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology. Scientists think that all mammals dream, but whether this is true of other animals, such as birds or reptiles, is uncertain. Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable. Dreams can last for a few seconds, or as long as 20 minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase.

The average person has three to five dreams per night, but some may have up to seven dreams in one night. The dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, most dreams occur in the typical two hours of REM. In modern times, dreams have been seen as a connection to the unconscious mind. They range from normal and ordinary to overly surreal and bizarre. Dreams can have varying natures, such as frightening, exciting, magical, melancholic, adventurous, or sexual. The events in dreams are generally outside the control of the dreamer, with the exception of lucid dreaming, where the dreamer is self-aware. Dreams can at times make a creative thought occur to the person or give a sense of inspiration.

Sigmund Freud, who developed the discipline of psychoanalysis wrote extensively about dream theories and their interpretations. He explained dreams as manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties, often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud developed a psychological technique to interpret dreams and devised a series of guidelines to understand the symbols and motifs that appear in our dreams.

Dream Interpretation –

Dream Interpretation is the process of assigning meaning to dreams. In many ancient societies, such as those of Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention, whose message could be unravelled by people with certain powers.

Importance of Dreaming –

Research have showed that people who are deprived from entering the dream phase of sleep or the REM stage, exhibit symptoms of irritability and anxiety. In one dream study, volunteers are woken up right before they enter into the dream state. Then they are allowed to fall back to sleep. Again, right before they enter REM sleep, they are awaken. This continues on through the night. The volunteers sleep the same amount of time as they normally do. The next day, these volunteers go about their day and observed to be disoriented, depressed, crabby, and quick tempered.

There is a general impairment in their daily functioning. Some eat more than usual. As this study continues on through several nights, subjects become more and more agitated. It is found that deprivation of REM sleep causes over-sensitivity, lack of concentration and memory loss. This study shows the importance of dreaming and its role in your well-being and health. Some researchers believe that dreams help you to tackle stress. Dreaming is a necessity and helps to recharge the mind and revitalize the body.

Mechanics of Dreaming –

While you are dreaming, your body undergoes noticeable changes. Your adrenaline rises, your blood pressure increases, and you heart beats faster. Given this hyperactivity, it should be no surprise how someone with a weak heart can die in their sleep. Their heart may not be able to withstand the strain and the erratic changes that their body is going through. Dreaming takes place during REM, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. It is thus called, because your eyes move rapidly back and forth under the eyelids. REM sleep takes place in the fourth stage of sleep and accounts for 15-20% of your sleep time. From the point you fall asleep, it takes 30 to 90 minutes before you start dreaming. You cycle through the 4 stages of sleep and may enter the REM stage 4 to 7 times in one night. During REM, your blood pressure and heart rate fluctuate and increase.

It sounds like your body is going through a lot, but in fact, it is quite the contrary. During REM, your bodies are completely immobile and your muscles remain completely relaxed. You may shift in your bed throughout the night, but when in REM, you are completely still. This is commonly known as “REM Paralysis”. In REM sleep, the mind is as active as it is during waking. However, chemically it is different. REM is controlled by the excitability level of the cholinergic neurons. Noradrenaline and seratonin are missing in the brain when in the dream state. These chemicals allow the brain to carry out task, solve problems and remember things. This is a reason why you find it so hard to remember your dreams.

HISTORY OF DREAM INTERPRETATION

Dream interpretations date back to 3000-4000 B.C., where they were documented on clay tablets.

In some primal societies, members were unable to distinguish between the dream world and the waking world. Or they could simply choose not to make the distinction. They saw that the dream world was not only an extension of reality, but that it was a more powerful world.

In the Greek and Roman eras, dreams were seen in a religious context. They were believed to be direct messages from the gods or from the dead. The people of that time look to their dreams for solutions on what to do or what course of action to take. They believed dreams forewarned and predicted the future. Special shrines were even built where people can go there to sleep in hopes that a message could be passed to them through their dreams. Their belief in the power of a dream was so strong that it even dictated the actions of political and military leaders. In fact, dream interpreters even accompanied military leaders into battle to help with war strategy.

Greek philosopher, Aristotle believed that dreams were a result of physiological functions. Dreams were able to diagnose illness and predict onset of diseases.

During the Helllenistic period, the main focus of dreams was centered around its ability to heal. Temples, called Asclepieions, were built around the healing power of dreams. It was believed that sick people who slept in these temples would be sent cures through their dreams. Dream interpreters even aided the medicine men in their medical diagnosis. It was believed that dreams offered a vital clue for healers to finding what was wrong with the dreamer.

In Egypt, priests also acted as dream interpreters. The Egyptians recorded their dreams in hieroglyphics. People with particular vivid and significant dreams were believed to be blessed and were considered special. People who had the power to interpret dreams were looked up to and seen as divinely gifted.

Dreaming can be seen as an actual place that your spirit and soul leaves every night to go and visit. The Chinese believed that the soul leaves the body to go into this world. However, if they should be suddenly awakened, their soul may fail to return to the body. For this reason, some Chinese today, are wary of alarm clocks. Some Native American tribes and Mexican civilizations share this same notion of a distinct dream dimension. They believed that their ancestors lived in their dreams and take on non-human forms like plants. They see that dreams as a way of visiting and having contact with their ancestors. Dreams also helped to point their mission or role in life.

During the Middle Ages, dreams were seen as evil and its images were temptations from the devil. In the vulnerable sleep state, the devil was believed to fill the mind of humans with poisonous thoughts. He did his dirty work though dreams attempting to mislead us down a wrong path.

In the early 19th century, dreams were dismissed as stemming from anxiety, a household noise or even indigestion. Hence there was really no meaning to it. Later on in the 19th century, Sigmund Freud revived the importance of dreams and its significance and need for interpretation. He revolutionized the study of dreams.

DREAM THEORISTS –

1. Alfred Adler –

Alfred Adler (1870 -1937) believes that dreams are an important tool to mastering control over your waking lives. They are problem-solving devices. Dreams need to be brought to the conscious and interpreted so that better understanding can be shed on your problems. It is important to learn from your dreams and incorporate them into your waking life. Adler believes that there is a correlation between your dreams and the problems in your daily life. The more dreams you have, the more problems you are likely to have. Conversely, the less dreams you have, the less problems you have and the more psychologically healthy you are.

While Freud believes that sexual impulses are the driving forces behind behavior, Adler believes that it is control, power and motivation that drives your behavior. Furthermore, Adler does not think that an individual’s actions and behavior are ruled by the unconscious. He believes that the strive for perfection and need for control are what causes you to do the things you do. In fact, Adler does not believe that the conscious and unconscious function against each other. Instead, they act the same way whether you are awake or sleeping.

Adler’s views on dreams are that they are an open pathway toward your true thoughts, emotions and actions. In your dreams, you clearly see your aggressive impulses and desires. Dreams are also a way of overcompensating for the shortcomings in your waking life. For example, if you are unable to stand up to your boss in your waking life, then you may find it easier to lash out at the boss within the comfort and safety of your dream. Dreams offer some sort of satisfaction that is more socially acceptable.

2. Sigmund Freud –

Considered the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) revolutionizes the study of dreams with his work The Interpretation Of Dreams. Freud begins to analyze dreams in order to understand aspects of personality as they relate to pathology. He believes that nothing you do occurs by chance; every action and thought is motivated by your unconscious at some level. In order to live in a civilized society, you have a tendency to hold back our urges and repress our impulses. However, these urges and impulses must be released in some way; they have a way of coming to the surface in disguised forms.

One way these urges and impulses are released is through your dreams. Because the content of the unconscious may be extremely disturbing or harmful, Freud believes that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language.

Freud categorizes aspects of the mind into three parts:

Id – centered around primal impulses, pleasures, desires, unchecked urges and wish fulfillment.

Ego – concerned with the conscious, the rational, the moral and the self-aware aspect of the mind.

Superego – the censor for the id, which is also responsible for enforcing the moral codes of the ego.

When you are awake, the impulses and desires of the id are suppressed by the superego. Through dreams, you are able to get a glimpse into your unconscious or the id. Because your guards are down during the dream state, your unconscious has the opportunity to act out and express the hidden desires of the id. However, the desires of the id can, at times, be so disturbing and even psychologically harmful that a “censor” comes into play and translates the id’s disturbing content into a more acceptable symbolic form. This helps to preserve sleep and prevent you from waking up shocked at the images. As a result, confusing and cryptic dream images occur.

According to Freud, the reason you struggle to remember your dreams, is because the superego is at work. It is doing its job by protecting the conscious mind from the disturbing images and desires conjured by the unconscious.

3. Carl Jung –

Like his mentor Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1960) also believes in the existence of the unconscious. However, he does not see the unconscious as animalistic, instinctual, or sexual; he sees it as more spiritual. Eventually, Jung split with Freud due to their differing views on dreams.

According to Jung, dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting yourself with the unconscious. Dreams are not attempts to conceal your true feelings from the waking mind, but rather they are a window to your unconscious. They serve to guide the waking self to achieve wholeness and offer a solution to a problem you are facing in your waking life.

Jung views the ego as your sense of self and how you portray yourself to the world. Part of Jung’s theory is that all things can be viewed as paired opposites: good/evil, male/female, or love/hate. So working in opposition to the ego, is the “counterego” or what he refers to as the shadow. The shadow represents the rejected aspects of yourself that you do not wish to acknowledge. The shadow is more primitive, somewhat uncultured, and a little awkward.

4. Calvin Hall –

“A dream is a work of art which requires of the dreamer no particular talent, special training, or technical competence. Dreaming is a creative enterprise in which all may and most do participate.” – Clark S. Hall

Calvin S. Hall, Jr. (1909-1985) focuses his study of dreams on the content, aptly referred to as content analysis. Because dreams are in essence thoughts, it is a cognitive process. Dreams provide a map or route to the inaccessible regions in your mind, otherwise known as the unconscious. Hall believes dreams are the best way to discovering personal thoughts and to explain your behavior. Dreams reveal things about yourself, not hide them. Hall categorizes dreams into one of five principle areas of life.

1. Concepts of Self refer to the types or number of roles you play in your dreams.

2. Concepts of other people are the roles other people play in your dreams. Consider your feelings toward them and how you interact with them.

3. Concepts of the world represent the dream surrounding and landscape. The adjectives you use to describe your dreamscape is how you view the world.

4. Concepts of impulses, prohibitions and penalties indicate your behavior and how it is ruled by impulses and punishment.

5. Concepts of problems and conflicts symbolize your struggles, issues and problems you are facing in your waking life. These dream try to offer insight and resolution to your conflicts.

5. Frederick Perls

Frederick Perls (1893-1970) iss the founder of Gestalt therapy. Gestalt therapy seeks to fill your emotional voids so that you can then become a unified whole. Perls believes that dreams contain the rejected, disowned parts of the Self. Every character and every object in a dream represents an aspect of the Self. You are the hurricane, you are the attacker, you are the broken down car, you are the bridge, and you are the dusty book. Perls rejects the notion that dreams are part of a universal symbolic language. He believes that each dream is unique to the individual who dreams it.

In order to discover what aspect of yourself is being disowned, Perls believes that it is important to retell your dream in the present tense and act it out accordingly. It is important to verbalize how each and every component in your dream felt, even inanimate objects. Reenact the dream and take on the role of the different characters and objects. Start a dialogue with the dream object and express how you felt toward each other. By taking on a different role within your dream and reenact it, you may then be able to acknowledge and realize feelings that you may have overlooked or buried. Your dream literally comes alive.

TYPES OF DREAMS

1. Daydream –

Daydreaming is often a disregarded and neglected aspect of dream study because they are often overlooked as fleeting and wandering thoughts. There is a lack of emphasis on the content of your daydreams. However, the meanings to your nightly dream symbols are also applicable to your daydreams. The content in your daydreams are also helpful to the understanding of your true feelings and in fulfilling your goals. Daydreaming occurs when you are semi-awake. It is the spontaneous imagining or recalling of various images or experiences in the past or future. You allow your imagination to run away from you. When you daydream, you are accessing your right brain, which is the creative and feminine side of your personality.

Daydreams are often viewed as light-hearted in nature. They are just silly fantasies and wishful thinking. Actually, even worrying over things can be classified as a form of daydreaming. When you worry, you are visualizing an unwanted or negative outcome to a situation. By repeating these negative images in your mind, you are more likely to make them happen. Next time you start worrying, try to think of a positive outcome.

It is said that many athletes, musicians and business leaders utilize daydreams to envision success. They anticipate or imagine landing the perfect jump, closing a deal, or making that hit single. Tiger Woods, for one, has said to use daydreams to improve his golf game. You, too, can utilize daydreams for something as simple as studying for and acing the next test or for landing that job.

Positive daydreaming is healthy. It serves as a temporary escape from the demands of reality. It is also a good way to release pent up frustrations without physically acting them out. All to often you worry about your job, your family, finances, a relationship, etc. It is a way to leave the world behind and ponder about what could’ve been or should’ve been. It relieves stress, improves attitude, fosters creativity and refresh the mind, body, and spirit.

2. Lucid Dreams –

Lucid dreams give you the ability to control your own dreams and steer them toward the direction you want. In the lucid state, you are more willing to confront threats and as a result, become more self confident. When you achieve lucidity, you can use it as a tool to improve your sports game, to rehearse for a speech, to fulfill your fantasies, or to solve a problem in your waking life. In fact, some athletes utilize their lucid dreams to practice their tennis serve, golf stroke or bat swing. Even in your day to day life, you can use lucid dreams to ask the boss for a raise, prepare for a first date, overcome phobias, get over writer’s block, etc. Lucid dreams can help you visualize and rehearse an event in your mind before it actually occurs. It helps to overcome fears and anxieties. The application of lucid dreams is limited only to your imagination.

Because brain activity during the dream state is the same as during a real life event, what you “learn” or “practice” in your lucid dream state is similar to the training and preparation you do in the waking world. Your neuronal patterns are already being conditioned.

At least half of all adults have had one lucid dream in their lifetime. Many have reported having lucid dreams without even trying. Often flying is associated with lucid dreams. With practice, lucid dreaming can be learned and achieved at your will.

3. Nightmares –

Nightmares are a subcategory of dreams. The distinction of a nightmare is its frightening and/or emotional content. You tend to wake up in fear in the midst of a nightmare. Because of its frightening nature, you are more likely to remember your nightmares and the vivid details. They have a bigger impact upon your waking mind. Its images stay with you throughout the day.

Some studies show that people who are more sensitive, intuitive, creative, or imaginative are more prone to have nightmares. This may be because they are more empathetic and more in tune with their surroundings.

One reason for nightmares may be a way for your unconscious to get your attention about a situation or problem that you have been avoiding. It is time to take notice and confront the issue! Sometimes nightmares serve to warn you about your health or an accident. However, often times nightmares stem from a deeper level indicating that something is troubling you from within your subconscious. Discussing, analyzing, and understanding your nightmares can lead to a solution to some problem, internal conflict or personal difficulty.

4. Healing Dreams –

Healing dreams serve as messages for the dreamer in regards to their health. The Ancient Greeks called these dreams “prodromic”. Many dream experts believe that dreams can help in avoiding potential health problems and healing when you are ill or when you are grieving. Research shows that asthma and migraine sufferers have certain types of dreams before an attack. Your bodies are able to communicate to your mind through dreams. The dreams can “tell” you that something is not quite right with your bodies even before any physical symptoms show up. Dreams of this nature may be telling the dreamer that he or she needs to go to the dentist or doctor. If you can understand the language of dreams, your dreams will serve as an invaluable early warning system. They can help inform, advise and heal.

5. Prophetic Dreams –

In a prophetic dream, you see the future through your dream. It is difficult to determine that a dream is prophetic because we can only confirm such a dream after it has taken place. Even then, we only hear of the success stories. There are so many other dreams that do not come true. Thus, prophetic dream may just be mere coincidences.

In the science world, it is believed that psychic powers do not exist. Scientists rationalize that dreams that seemingly come true may actually be a suggestion or guide for you to follow, thus making it seem as if the dream is coming true. You are willing it to be true. Another argument is that you may have a tendency to self-edit your dream to match the outcome. Because dreams are so easily forgotten, your memory of the dream may not be accurate. Yet another theory is that your dreaming mind is able to piece together bits of information faster that your conscious mind. Your mind is able to see what will happen based on information that it has already collected.

Still, there are believers that dreams can indeed predict or foretell the future. Prophetic dreams are linked to major disasters, wars, assassinations, accidents, lottery numbers or even with winning horse race. Such dreams have helped solve crimes. In history, Abraham Lincoln was said to have dreamt of his own body laying in a coffin two weeks before he his assassination. British engineer, John Dunne dreamt of the eruption of a volcano in France which came true.

Having a prophetic dream suggests that you are experiencing anxiety and that you are expressing a desire for certainty in the future. You are looking to your dream to help you make an important decision or to reassure you that you are on the right path.

6. Recurring Dreams –

Most dreams contain messages that serve to teach you something about yourself. However, soon after you wake up to go about your daily routine, you tend to quickly forget what you dream about. The message in recurring dreams may be so important and/or powerful that it refuses to go away. The frequent repetition of such dreams forces you to pay attention and confront the dream. It is desperately trying to tell you something. Such dreams are often nightmarish or frightening in their content, which also helps you to take notice and pay attention to them.

Recurring dreams are quite common and are often triggered by a certain life situation, transitional phase in life or a problem that keeps coming back again and again. These dreams may recur daily, once a week, or once a month. Whatever the frequency, there is little variation in the dream content itself. Such dreams may be highlighting a personal weakness, fear, or your inability to cope with something in your life – past or present. The repetitive patterns in your dream reveal some of the most valuable information about yourself. It may point to a conflict, situation or matter in your waking life that remains unresolved or unsettled. Some urgent underlying message in your unconscious is demanding to be understood.

7. Epic Dreams –

Epic dreams (also referred to as Great Dreams, Cosmic Dreams or Numinous Dreams) are so huge, so compelling, and so vivid that you cannot ignore them. The details of such dreams remain with you for years, as if you just dreamt it last night. These dreams possess much beauty and contain many archetypal symbology. When you wake up from such a dream, you feel that you have discovered something profound or amazing about yourself or about the world. It feels like a life-changing experience.

8. Progressive Dreams –

Progressive dreams occur when you have a sequence of dreams that continue over a period of nights. The dream continues where you left off the previous night. Such dreams are problem-solving dreams and help to explore different options and various approaches to a problem, situation or relationship.

Review of Literature

Clara E.; Gelso, Charles J.; Gerstenblith, Judith; Chui, Harold; Pudasaini, Sakar; Burgard, Jessica; Baumann, Ellen; Huang, Teresa Dreaming (Mar 2013), studied 46 cases of psychodynamic psychotherapy, 23 clients presented at least 1 dream with discussions averaging about 13 minutes in length; only 5 clients discussed dreams in 3 or more sessions (case studies are provided). The clients who discussed dreams, as compared with those who did not, had more positive attitudes toward dreams and lower attachment anxiety. Encouragement to discuss dreams did not have an effect on the amount of dream work.

Therapists primarily listened and asked for description of images when working with dreams. Greater use of exploration activities during work was associated with higher client and therapist ratings of session process/outcome. Clients who talked about dreams indicated that they did so because they wanted insight or had troubling dreams; ultimately, they found the dream work to be helpful. Clients who did not talk about dreams tended not to remember dreams and thought other issues were more important to discuss in therapy. Evidence for the effects of dream work was mixed. Implications of results for practice and research are discussed.

Kovacevic, Filip, Dreaming, (Mar 2013), studied century old history of psychoanalysis. Jacques Lacan was one of its most controversial practitioners. Though found opaque and convoluted by many, Lacan’s ideas have transcended the confines of psychoanalytic practice and have since the 1960s been applied to the study of cultural, social, and political processes and phenomena. In this article, the author presents the main aspects of a Lacanian approach to the interpretation of dreams. He examines Lacan’s reinterpretation of a crucial dream from Freud’s classic work Interpretation of Dreams: Freud’s own dream of Irma’s injection.

He shows the importance of Lacan’s conceptualization of the psyche as the structure containing the registers of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real for the interpretation of this dream. Furthermore, he demonstrates the applicability of a Lacanian approach by interpreting several other dreams: Descartes’ 3 dreams, which have determined the development of modern science, and his own dream. The article is intended for all audiences and its aim is to expand the number of theoretical approaches available in the field of dream interpretation.

Halliday, G.Dreaming, (Dec 2010), studied Stekel, an underappreciated but fascinating author, he was struck both by his keen insights as well as his interpretive limitations. This led to broader questions concerning the polyvocal concept of “meaning” in the interpretation of dreams. This article suggests the meaning of dreams can include wish fulfillments, univocal translations, clarifying the life context, morphological equivalences, associations, and personal history. Stepping back, even the question of “interpretation” versus “appreciation” reminds us that the need, if any, for interpretation will vary depending on who is asking the question. Indeed, reflections on the “who” or ego in the dream leads beyond dreaming to ultimate questions concerning the reality of ego and meditative reflections on what it means to truly be awake and aware of life as it is.

Schredl, Michael, Dreaming,( Dec 2010), studied the vast variety of books on dreamwork and dream interpretation suggests that a considerable percentage of the general population is interested in reading these books. Empirical research in this area is relatively scarce. The present representative survey (N = 2,019) indicated that about 8% of the general population have read about dream interpretation in order to learn more about their dreams, with women reading about dream interpretation more often than men. This gender difference was not explained by differences in dream recall frequency. In addition, single people as well as people with high nightmare frequencies read about dreams more often. Future research should focus on the possible benefits of reading about dream interpretation.

Huermann, Rosalia; Crook Lyon, Rachel E.; Heath, Melissa Allen; Fischer, Lane; Potkar, Kirti, Dreaming, (Jun 2009), studied 49 public school mental health practitioners (school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers) completed a survey about working with students’ dreams. The majority of these practitioners reported having at least one student bring up dreams during counseling, more frequently with troubling dreams and nightmares or when coping with grief. Results showed that practitioners were less likely to talk about dreams with students who had been identified with an adjustment disorder, psychosis, or eating disorder; those who were oppositional or ill; and those who struggled with substance abuse problems. Although most practitioners did not feel competent working with children’s dreams and reported minimal training in dream work, they were interested in learning more about children’s dreams and potential uses of dream work in supportive counseling.

Montangero, Jacques, Dreaming,( Dec 2009), studied that dream analysis can be a fruitful complementary technique in cognitive–behavioral therapy, providing it is based on a theoretical conception of dreaming and an interpretation method that are both compatible with the principles and methodology of CBT. The present paper first presents some aspects of a cognitive conception of dreaming explaining the occurrence and specificities of dream representations by their production processes.

The next section describes an interpretation method that gives the patients the opportunity to find some sources and meanings of their dreams. Finally examples are given of the different ways in which the result of a dream interpretation contributed to therapy. Thanks to their condensed and often exaggerated treatment of a theme, dreams often facilitate becoming aware of cognitive distortions and schemas and help to proceed to cognitive restructuring. They also give to the therapists an opportunity to underline the patient’s resources.

Morewedge, Carey K.; Norton, Michael I., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,(Feb 2009), their research investigated laypeople’s interpretation of their dreams. Participants from both Eastern and Western cultures believed that dreams contain hidden truths (Study 1) and considered dreams to provide more meaningful information about the world than similar waking thoughts (Studies 2 and 3). The meaningfulness attributed to specific dreams, however, was moderated by the extent to which the content of those dreams accorded with participants’ preexisting beliefs–from the theories they endorsed to attitudes toward acquaintances, relationships with friends, and faith in God (Studies 3-6).

Finally, dream content influenced judgment: Participants reported greater affection for a friend after considering a dream in which a friend protected rather than betrayed them (Study 5) and were equally reluctant to fly after dreaming or learning of a plane crash (Studies 2 and 3). Together, these results suggest that people engage in motivated interpretation of their dreams and that these interpretations impact their everyday lives.

Adams, Kate; Hyde, Brendan, Dreaming, (Mar 2008), studied that throughout history, people have reported dreams that have impacted upon their spiritual lives, some of which are related to death. Dreams related to death are not uncommon in childhood, and research shows that some children make meaning from them. Often this interpretation of a dream reflects a search for meaning about issues of life and death, as well as acting as a coping mechanism. This article explores how children make meaning from this type of dream by synthesizing the theory of spiritual intelligence with theoretical approaches to dreaming. Specifically, it explores the intersection between theoretical approaches to dreams related to death, children’s responses to these dreams, and a key function of spiritual intelligence to solve problems of meaning and value in life.

Schredl, Michael; Piel, Edgar, Dreaming,( Mar 2008), researched on several studies that reported a significant effect with regard to the gender difference in an interest in dreams, the generalizability of these studies is limited because mainly students were recruited as participants. In this study, gender differences with regard to interest in dream interpretation as an indicator of interest in dreams in general have been demonstrated in a representative sample. There was, however, a significant age-gender interaction, indicating that interest in dreams might not be a potent variable for explaining gender differences in dream recall. In future studies, the course of interest in dreams over the life span and any associated gender differences should be investigated using carefully designed scales.

Szmigielska, Barbara; Holda, Malgorzata, Dreaming,( Sep 2007), their study was an attempt to investigate the subjectively perceived role of dreams. It examined the private concepts of dreams and dreaming, attitude toward dreams, and the influence of dreams on behavior, which can manifest in sharing dreams with other people, trying to interpret one’s own dreams, believing they have special meaning, or behaving according to the clues given by the dream. The sample consisted of 47 participants, students ages 19-20. A structured interview, individually administered, was used. The results indicate interesting relationships between analyzed variables and gender; they also show individual differences in both common notions about dreams and the way dreams can influence other kinds of behaviour

Rochlen, Aaron B.; Hill, Clara E. ,Dreaming, (Dec 2005), their study evaluated how men with variable levels of gender role conflict responded to single-session, therapist-facilitated dream work using the C. E. Hill (1996, 2004) model of dream work. Overall, men reported positive benefits from participating in the dream session, similar to data in other studies. Men who reported higher gender role conflict on the Gender Role Conflict Scale discussed related gender role conflict themes during dream work, although gender role conflict was not related to session outcome. Reasons for these results are explored, and ideas for future research are suggested.

Domhoff, G. William (2003), he represented a new neurocognitive model of dreams that draws from empirical research to explain the process of dreaming and the nature of dream content. Until now, dream studies have been limited in their usefulness, but recent advances in neuroscience, dream content analysis, cognitive linguistics, statistics, and computer software have made it possible to revitalize this area of research with the use of scientific methods. G. W. Domhoff’s model helps explain the neural and cognitive bases for dreaming.

He discusses how dreams express conceptions and concerns and how they are consistent over years and decades. He also shows that there may be limits to understanding the meaning of dreams, as there are many aspects of dream content that cannot be related to waking cognition or personal concerns. In addition, the book includes a detailed explanation of the methods needed to test the new model as well as a case study of a comprehensive dream journal. A new system of content analysis that can be used for highly sophisticated studies is discussed.

Solms, MarkMahwah (1997), the author reports a study in which the clinico-anatomical method was applied systematically to the neuropsychological study of dreaming. The purpose of the study was to place disorders of dreaming on an equivalent footing with those of other higher mental functions, such as the aphasias, apraxias, and agnosias. Modern knowledge of the neurological organization of human mental functions was grounded on systematic clinico-anatomical investigations of these functions under neuropathological conditions.

It therefore seemed reasonable to assume that equivalent research into dreaming would provide analogous insights into the cerebral organization of this important but neglected function. Accordingly, the main purpose of this study was to identify changes in dreaming that were systematically associated with focal cerebral pathology and to describe the clinical and anatomical characteristics of those changes. The goal, in short, was to establish a nosology of dream disorders with neuropathological significance. The study reported in this book was conducted over a period of several years, starting in 1985.

Hill, Clara E.; Diemer, Roberta A.; Heaton, Kristin J. (Jan 1997), studied undergraduate students who completed measures of personality, cognitive functioning, and attitudes toward dreams; reported average hours of sleep and estimated dream recall; and kept a 2-week dream diary. A subset of 109 students volunteered to participate in and 65 students actually participated in, a dream interpretation session. The students who volunteered for dream interpretation had more positive attitudes toward dreams, recalled dreams more frequently, were more open and higher in absorption (capacity for restructuring one’s phenomenal field), and were more often female than nonvolunteers. The volunteer clients who gained the most from dream interpretation reported fewer dreams in a 2-week dream diary. Clients reported that the most helpful aspects of dream interpretation were insight, links to waking life, and receiving another person’s input.

Kramer, Milton, Dreaming, (Jun 1991), presents an approach to dream understanding called dream translation. The systematic examination of the dream text provides information about the dreamer. Such an approach substitutes the controlled associations of the reader (therapist) for those of the patient (dreamer). It presumes an organization latent in the dream that is reflective of the emotional state of the dreamer. An illustration of the methodology is provided in the translation of a 27-yr-old woman’s dream. Dream translation illuminates the dreamer to the therapist but is not a substitute for the collaborative work necessary for dream interpretation.

Freeman, Mark, (1989), studied the value of recent attempts to consider the process of psychoanalytic interpretation less in scientific terms than in artistic terms, the end result is both the perpetuation of a seemingly unbridgeable gap between “science” and “hermeneutics” and the failure to develop an adequate conceptualization of the process of interpretation itself. It is argued in this article that Freud’s method of interpretation, specifically his method of interpreting dreams, may serve as a useful vehicle for allowing us to think beyond the aforementioned gap and for more adequately conceptualizing the process of interpretation in general.

Hunt, Harry T.New Haven, (1989), provides a thorough look at all aspects of dreaming in his book, from the theories of Freud and Jung to the latest developments in sleep laboratories. Drawing on insights from anthropology and psychiatry as well as from cognitive psychology, Hunt argues that there are many types of dreams, and he classifies them systematically for the first time. Hunt discusses the ways in which dreams can teach us about the mind, relating dreaming to memory, creativity, and visual thinking.

He integrates recent research on such topics as lucid dreams (in which the dreamer is conscious of the dream), archetypal dreams, and nightmares, as well as the symbolic meaning of dreams, dreams in young children, and the relations between narrative structure and visual-spatial metaphor in dreams. This book is richly rewarding to both scientists and the general public, for it proposes a pluralistic interpretation of dreams that will be of great interest to experts and at the same time explains in language accessible to nonprofessional readers what we know about dreams—those absorbing creations of our own minds.

Thomas M.; Fromm, (1986) studied the outline method of dream interpretation defining the reasoning on which direct, empathetic understanding of a patient’s unconscious thought process is based. Four dreams and 1 daydream are presented. The 1st dream illustrates the 1st major operation of the author’s interpretive procedure—to understand the dream as a response to the dreamer’s immediate emotional situation. In subsequent examples, focus is on the great complexity of the dreamer’s thought processes. An important working assumption of the method is that the various meanings of a dream must fit together intelligibly and fit into the dreamer’s emotional situation at the moment of dreaming. These 2 working hypotheses serve as the most rigorous checks on this interpretive procedure. This portion of the procedure is called the reconstructing of the dream’s cognitive structure.

OBJECTIVES

1. What are dreams? What is dream interpretation?

2. Knowing the different kinds of dreams a human can have, and the history of dream interpretation.

3. Knowing about the different dream theorists and their theories on dreams.

KEY LEARNINGS

‘Dream’ means, “a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.”The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology. Scientists think that all mammals dream, but whether this is true of other animals, such as birds or reptiles, is uncertain.

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep.

Sigmund Freud, who developed the discipline of psychoanalysis wrote extensively about dream theories and their interpretations. He explained dreams as manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties, often relating to repressed childhood memories or obsessions.

Dream Interpretation is the process of assigning meaning to dreams. In many ancient societies, such as those of Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention

Dreaming is important as it plays a role in our well-being and health. Some researchers believe that dreams help you to tackle stress. Dreaming is a necessity and helps to recharge the mind and revitalize the body.

Carl Jung shared some commonalities with Freud, he felt that dreams were more than an expression of repressed wishes. Jung suggested that dreams revealed both the personal and collective unconscious and believed that dreams serve to compensate for parts of the psyche that are underdeveloped in waking life.

Calvin S. Hall proposed that dreams are part of a cognitive process in which dreams serve as ‘conceptions’ of elements of our personal lives. Hall looked for themes and patterns by analyzing thousands of dream diaries from participants, eventually creating a quantitative coding system that divided the content of dreams into a number of different categories.

Daydreaming is often a disregarded and neglected aspect of dream study because they are often overlooked as fleeting and wandering thoughts. The content in your daydreams are also helpful to the understanding of your true feelings and in fulfilling your goals. Daydreaming occurs when you are semi-awake.

Lucid dreams give you the ability to control your own dreams and steer them toward the direction you want. In the lucid state, you are more willing to confront threats and as a result, become more self confident.

Nightmares are a subcategory of dreams. The distinction of a nightmare is its frightening and/or emotional content. You tend to wake up in fear in the midst of a nightmare because of its frightening nature, you are more likely to remember your nightmares and the vivid details.

Healing dreams serve as messages for the dreamer in regards to their health. The Ancient Greeks called these dreams “prodromic”. Many dream experts believe that dreams can help in avoiding potential health problems and healing when you are ill or when you are grieving.

In a prophetic dream, you see the future through your dream. It is difficult to determine that a dream is prophetic because we can only confirm such a dream after it has taken place. Even then, we only hear of the success stories.

Recurring dreams are quite common and are often triggered by a certain life situation, transitional phase in life or a problem that keeps coming back again and again. These dreams may recur daily, once a week, or once a month. Such dreams may be highlighting a personal weakness, fear, or your inability to cope with something in your life – past or present.

Progressive dreams occur when you have a sequence of dreams that continue over a period of nights. The dream continues where you left off the previous night. Such dreams are problem-solving dreams and help to explore different options and various approaches to a problem, situation or relationship.

Dream research will undoubtedly continue to grow and generate interest from people interested in understanding the meaning of their dreams. Dreams can be mysterious, but understanding the meaning of our dreams can be downright baffling. The content of our dreams can shift suddenly, feature bizarre elements or frighten us with terrifying imagery.

CONCLUSION

Scientists may still debate the meaning and purpose of dreams, but we ordinary dreamers seem to have an insatiable desire to parse the who, what and why of what happens when we doze off. It’s hard not to believe that at least some of our sleep-time scenarios are imbued with some sort of significance. And there are a slew of new websites and apps that are feeding that curiosity with the tantalizing promise of helping us to decode the messages that we might otherwise miss. Some use algorithms developed by psychologists and cognitive scientists to create feedback. Some create communities of dreamers or even dream experts who will opine about their hidden significance. The techniques and the tools they use include everything from dictionaries of so-called dream symbols, personalized dream interpretation keys, to journals that help you track your dreams over time. Some, like Dream:On, claim to influence what you dream about with personally chosen “soundscapes” that are triggered when you enter REM sleep. Shadow, currently in development, will awaken you gradually to increase the likelihood you’ll remember your dreams and will make it easy for you to immediately record them.

Psychotherapists have long believed that our dreams give us insights into feelings and internal struggles of which we may not always be aware. Alicia Clark, a licensed clinical psychologist in Washington DC, says that dream analysis can be a powerful tool for self-understanding. “Evaluating dreams is alive and well in psychotherapy practice and training,” she says. That means that dreams can also offer useful clues for people who aren’t in therapy as well. “If you wake up feeling disoriented and upset,” she says, “chances are you are feeling similarly in your waking life somewhere.”

Thinking about how the feelings in your dreams relate to what’s happening in your life, she suggests, can help you better recognize and address your internal struggles. As far as how symbolic dreams can be, she says the people in your dream can be who they seem to be, or represent people who are like them. They can also stand in for different aspects of your own personality. “For example,” she says, “ your mother in your dream can represent your actual mother, someone in your life that acts like your mother, and parts of your personality that are like your mother.” For this reason, many therapists say, dictionaries of dream symbols are of limited use because they give universal meanings to symbols, while the symbols may actually have unique meaning for each person.

REFERENCES

Allport, G. (1942). The use of personal documents in psychological science. New York: Social Science Research Council.

Arkin, A., & Antrobus, J. (1991). The effects of external stimuli applied prior to and during sleep on sleep experience. In S. Ellman, & Antrobus, J. (Ed.), The mind in sleep: Psychology and psychophysiology. New York: Wiley & Sons. (Second ed., pp. 265-307)

Avila-White, D., Schneider, A., & Domhoff, G. W. (1999). The most recent dreams of 12-13 year-old boys and girls: A methodological contribution to the study of dream content in teenagers. Dreaming, 9(2/3), 163-171.

Baldwin, A. (1942). Personal structure analysis: A statistical method for investigating the single personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social
Psychology, 37, 163-183.

Domhoff, G. W. (1996). Finding Meaning in Dreams: A Quantitative Approach. New York: Plenum Publishing Co.

Domhoff, G. W. (1999). New directions in the study of dream content using the Hall and Van de Castle coding system. Dreaming, 9(2/3), 115-137.

Domhoff, G. W. (2000). Methods and measures for the study of dream content. In M. Kryger, T. Roth, & W. Dement (Eds.), Principles and Practices of Sleep Medicine. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders. (3rd ed., pp. 463-471).

Foulkes, D. (1996). Dream research: 1953-1993. Sleep, 19, 609-624.

Hunt, Harry T., New Haven, CT, The multiplicity of dreams: Memory, imagination, and consciousness. US: Yale University Press. (1989). xii 271 pp.

Hurovitz, C., Dunn, S., Domhoff, G., & Fiss, H. (1999). The dreams of blind men and women: A replication and extension of previous findings. Dreaming, 9(2/3), 183-193.

Kirschner, N. (1999). Medication and dreams: Changes in dream content after drugtreatment. Dreaming, 9(2/3), 195-200.

Solms, Mark, Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, The neuropsychology of dreams: A clinico-anatomical study. Institute for Research in Behavioral Neuroscience. (1997). xviii 292 pp.

Webb, E., Campbell, D., Schwartz, R., Sechrest, L., & Grove, J. (1981). Nonreactive Measures in the Social Sciences (2nd ed.). Chicago: Rand McNally.


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