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A discsussion of the interpretation of dreams according to freud

  • This part of the dream is quite meaningless and of little value to a psychoanalyst, according to him;
  • However, there is no denying that Freud's revelation of the unconscious mind had a great influence on humanity.

Messenger It is the most well known — and perhaps infamous — theory of dreams in the Western world. At the turn of last century, Sigmund Freud published his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, arguing that our dreams are nothing more than wishes that we are looking to fulfil in our waking lives.

  • After Freud, the study of the mind became more serious and scientific;
  • This is the first of many instances in which Freud appears to abandon or censor very personal thoughts connected with his dreams;
  • I am feeling I to IIa;
  • New light on the origins of psychoanalysis.

Some of these wishes are relatively innocent, and in these cases our dreams picture the wish just as it is. Such unacceptable wishes are typically suppressed by the conscious waking mind but turn up in the dream in an unrecognisable and often bizarre way.

  • This material is designed to be used in conjunction with my Haverford Psychology courses, and not as a stand-alone introduction to Sigmund Freud's ideas;
  • Nevertheless, some aspects of the theory have stood up to experimentation — for example, dreams from REM sleep are full of aggressive interactions , which Freud could have used as evidence of suppressed aggressive impulses playing out in our dreams.

But with the help of a psychoanalyst and methods like free association, Freud argued, the wish behind the dream could be discovered. Dozens of theories about why we dream now exist — from helping to process our emotions and strengthening new memories to rehearsing social or threatening situations. The first of these experiments was conducted by Daniel Wegnerwho noticed that when we are trying hard to ignore or suppress a thought, it often just keeps coming back.

He suggested that this is because we have two psychological processes at work at the same time when we try to suppress a thought: Thought suppression is therefore complicated and can only be achieved when the two processes are working together harmoniously.

Wegner suggested that these processes might fail during rapid-eye-movement REM sleep. During REM sleep parts of the brain that are needed for thought suppression — such as those involved in attention, control and working memory — are deactivated.

We know that a large number of our dreams come from REM sleep, so Wegner hypothesised that we would see a lot of suppressed thoughts making a reappearance in dreams. Interestingly, he managed to test this idea in 2004.

In his experimentparticipants were asked to identify a person they knew and then to spend five minutes writing a stream-of-consciousness about whatever came to mind before going to bed that night. The first group of these participants were told specifically not to think about the person during their five minutes of writing, whereas a second group were told to specifically think about them.

The Interpretation of Dreams

A third group could think about whatever they wanted. When they woke up in the morning, they all recorded any dreams they could remember having that night. The results were clear: For example, it has been found that people who are generally more prone to thought suppression experience more dream reboundand that suppressing a thought not only leads to more dreams about it, but also to more unpleasant dreams. In fact, we know now that suppressing thoughts is related to a whole host of mental health concerns.

Because of this, we really need to better understand what happens to thoughts when we try to suppress them. This may mean that there is merit to exploring dreamwork in therapy. In fact, recent research has shown that exploring dreams is an effective way of obtaining personal insight — both in and out of therapy settings.

The Interpretation of Dreams

In later writings, Freud admitted that the theory could not account for all types of dreams, such as the nightmares associated with post traumatic stress disorder. His theory also takes the agency of the dream interpretation away from the dreamer and into the hands of the analyst, which is at odds with ethical guidelines for dreamwork that are now typically followed. Nevertheless, some aspects of the theory have stood up to experimentation — for example, dreams from REM sleep are full of aggressive interactionswhich Freud could have used as evidence of suppressed aggressive impulses playing out in our dreams.