Did you know that you dream approximately two hours every night? Over the average 70-year lifetime, that adds up to an astounding 51,100 hours or 2,129 full days of dreaming!
Since we spend such a huge part of our existence in the dream world, it would seem that we should all be much more interested in what happens during that time.
The most famous original dream researchers were Sigmund Freud (1856-1939).
Carl Jung (1875-1961). Sigmund Freud was born on May 6, 1856, in the small town of Freiberg in Moravia. A physician in Vienna, he shared his views on dreams in his book The Interpretation of Dreams published in 1899.
He believed there were three basic types of dreams. One was a wish fulfillment dream and these were distinguished in different ways as well. The first was straightforward and easy to understand, such as desiring chocolate, so you dream of eating it. Another was a wish fulfillment dream veiled in symbolism that could be unraveled through a process called transformation: the transfer of symbols into more easily recognizable images and or forms. He also used condensation – condensing several elements into one image and a third method was displacement – translating the dreamer’s thoughts and feelings into terms that might otherwise seem insignificant.
The second type of dream that Freud noted had to do with desires buried within the subconscious were revealed through dream fantasies or in symbols. The third involved unresolved emotional issues from childhood that were also dredged up from the subconscious and played out in various disguised forms in dreams.
Freud believed that the mind often disguised people, objects, actions and feelings in dreams with symbols as a type of defense mechanism. In this way, the dreamer could more easily deal with certain issues that could not be faced while awake.
Freud also distinguished between the ‘manifest content’ (what is recalled upon awakening – conscious) and the ‘latent content’ (what is recalled under psychoanalysis – unconscious) aspect of a dream. He used free association to draw out the latent content and come to a better understanding of the dreamer’s deepest concerns.
He also postulated that dreams originated either from the id, ego or super ego of the dreamer. If it originated from the ego, it sought to satisfy a basic instinct. If from the id, it was an attempt to solve a conflict. The super ego dealt with both the conscience and the ideal. Conscience involved internalized feelings involving punishments and warnings, whereas the ideal was related to rewards and positive outcomes. These are expressed in dreams as such feelings as pride, shame and guilt.
However, most people likely remember Freud most for his many sexual references drawn from his dream analysis. That is because he labeled what he called the Oedipus Complex – a son’s latent desire for his mother and hostility toward his father – and the Electra Complex – a daughter’s feelings in reverse. In his dream analysis, he also determined that a symbols, such as the Phallus symbol might show up in dreams as anything from a stick to a cigar. Symbols such as stairs, ladders and steep inclines represented the sexual act.
There is much more to his views on the importance of sex as one of life’s basic needs but you can conduct your own research on this if you so desire.
If you live in Hamilton, Ontario you can get help to uncover the meaning of your dreams:
1601 King Street East
Dr. Roy B. Raghunan
627 Main E Hamilton
Dr. Marnee Maroes
1685 Main Street West, Suite 300A
Psychotherapists in Hamilton