Dream Interpretation Offers Insight
Dream experts tell what the real meaning is behind our dreams.
Trends in Dream Interpretation continued...
"Modern dream work has moved toward metaphor and problem
solving, and people should stop trying to fit their interpretations to
psychoanalytical theory," says Delaney, author of seven books on dreams,
including All About Dreams: Everything You Need To Know About Why We Have
Them, What They Mean, and How To Put Them To Work for You. "If
they describe their dream to five different theorists, they'll get five
Freeman, who uses dream interpretation primarily to counsel
students regarding careers and relationships, tells WebMD most dreams
compensate for skewed relationships to the outside world. "For example, if
we're too nice, our anger and hostility can come out in dreams," he says.
He describes a woman who was so preoccupied with being pregnant that she
neglected other aspects of her femininity. In a dream, she was at a party
wearing a maternity dress when a voluptuous woman in a miniskirt approached and
spilled a drink on her. "My client got very upset and angry in the
dream," says Freeman. "The dream was compensating for a lopsided
situation in which she'd been too much into her maternal self and ignoring her
femininity. Dreams can be self-correcting in that way, letting us know when
we're out of balance."
Doing Your Own Dream Interpretation
Both Delaney and Freeman use an interview approach with clients
they say individuals can use to interpret their own dreams. Basically the
interview unravels the dream metaphor to discover what the dream symbols mean
to the dreamer and the dream's relevance to the dreamer's present day life.
For example, Delaney's interview with a woman who dreamt she'd
had sex with her old boyfriend, George, might go like this:
Delaney: What is George like?
Dreamer: Extremely handsome and dashing, but I couldn't get
close to him.
Delaney: Why did you break up?
Dreamer: He was critical and kept me at arm's length.
Delaney: Is there anyone in your life now who's sort of like
Dreamer: I'm dating Michael. He's handsome and dashing, but
he's blond. He's not at all like George. Last night before I went to sleep I
tried to talk to him about our relationship, but he put his arms straight out
and said he didn't want to talk about it.
Delaney: So is there any parallel between the dream and real
Dreamer: Now that you mention it ...
Delaney says if friends told the dreamer that Michael was just
like George, her subjective bias would prevent her from seeing the parallel.
But subjective bias can be overridden in the dream state. "Dreams bring
objectivity to everyday experience, and this dream revealed her unconscious
pattern of choosing men like George."
"Dreams are pretty transparent, but most people never try
to decode them," says Freeman. "It's like learning a new language."
He teaches a four-week dream interpretation class and says when students begin,
they view the symbols literally. "Dreaming they fell down stairs must mean
they fell down stairs," he says.