Dream interpretation: 3 methods to decode your dreams

The decoding of dreams has caused a lot of ink to flow… so many psych currents, so many possible interpretations… And even today the dictionary of dreams is an essential element for anyone who wants to decipher their dreams! To explore the meaning of your dream world, here are some simple but illuminating techniques.

For a long time, dreams were considered the privileged channel through which the divine – or the evil one – spoke to us. But since Freud, we consider that the great majority of them are the exclusive and singular production of the dreamer. Through dreams, the unconscious expresses and realizes its desire in a veiled, distorted way, in order to make the message acceptable. For Jung, another great pioneer of psychoanalysis, dreams translate our needs, our frustrations and our aspirations into images: they have a compensatory function. But their role does not end there. Through symbols and archetypes from mythologies and religions, they connect us, according to him, to the collective unconscious, that is to say to our universal memory. Some dreams also have a “prospective function”: anticipation of an event or a personality trait that will develop, solution of a problem or a conflict. For Jung, as for transpersonal psychology, our dream activity thus opens us up to a more spiritual dimension of existence via figures of angels, witches, magicians, beings of light… Whatever the scenario , it is a unique and precious material, which can be deciphered and used. The exploration tools that follow obviously do not replace work done with a therapist, but they can lift important veils on your functioning.

1- Discover your true desires

According to Freud, our dreams are riddles, riddles to be deciphered. They speak in veiled terms and in disguised images of our unconscious desires. But, to have access to their meaning, it is still necessary to flush it out behind the fanciful or absurd scenarios that we develop during our sleep. Thus, in a dream, a strong attraction for a “forbidden” person may express itself in an opposite form – repulsion -, just as our hatred towards someone, experienced but repressed, may be expressed in an affectionate gesture. Freud identified four processes used by our unconscious to elaborate our dreams. They will be useful to you when you try to interpret them.

The condensation : the same scene brings together disparate elements, both to mislead the dreamer and satisfy several desires. For example: “In a playground, I argue with my boss who is named after my older brother, who is married to a woman I can’t stand. »

Move : to mask his impulses, the unconscious shifts the dreamer’s emotion from the subject that concerns him the most to a secondary point. For example: “I take the subway to see my mother, with whom I have a very conflicting relationship, and I spend all the rest of my dream filling out very complicated administrative forms. »

The figure: the unconscious story of the dream is concealed under a more acceptable script. The dreamer uses words and images in the form of metaphors, in particular to express everything in the sexual register. For example: “At the theatre, I slip a pair of scissors into my neighbour’s bag…”

The elaboration: it is the final smoothing that gives the dream a rational and acceptable aspect for the dreamer.

To your pens

To decode the messages of your nights, start by placing a notebook and a pen on your bedside table.

Wake, let the images, the voices, the sensations come to you, without trying to understand them.

Then write down your dream (the most significant or the most recurring) as if you were telling a film that you are watching. Take each element (image, word) and proceed, from these motifs, to associations, as freely as possible, without reflection or censorship. For example: “A car passes, I leave my job, I feel sad and angry, like when my wife left the house. You thus obtain “lines of association” for each node of the dream.

Identify the points of resistance: they are manifested by difficult or impossible associations, and generate a feeling of unease.

Isolate the final scene: it often summarizes the message of the dream.

Interpret: go back to your lines of associations and read them, allowing new associations to “rise” within you (memories, thoughts, emotions, etc.). At the end of this time of introspection, you will know what desire has been fulfilled in your dream. You can then think about how you can take advantage of this in your conscious life.

2- Receive advice

For Jung, the dream is an ally capable of opening a door to our inner world. It is directly linked to our individual unconscious and to the collective unconscious. It connects us to the essential part of our personality. The messages in our dreams encourage us to establish a more just relationship with ourselves. From the Jungian perspective, our dreams abound with signs and symbols that offer advice and proposals for change. To make us aware of the obstacles to our inner evolution, the dream depicts, in various ways, the dangers that threaten us or the situations that imprison us, particularly in nightmares.

To your pens

Write down your dreams in a notebook and highlight the strong elements of their content: characters, scenes or images generating particular emotions (intense, disturbing, etc.).

These situations or images are so many invitations…

… to dare to change
Images received: being at a crossroads, abroad, in front of exotic food or confronted with unusual elements in an ordinary setting; make a happy encounter; change the decoration of his house; to relocate…
The message sent: ask yourself about your ties, your projects, your current choices, because it may well be that they no longer correspond to your deepest aspirations.

… to make readjustments
Images received: excess (flying very high, being a tyrant king); bad encounters (threatening animal or individual, monsters); the incongruous alliance (often between animals, like a tiger and a lamb, or an eagle and a fish)…
The message sent: something in your life or in your behavior needs to be rebalanced. The elements of domination and abuse refer to the need to adopt a more benevolent behavior. The bad encounter corresponds to a dimension of your repressed personality (aggressiveness, jealousy, etc.) which must be identified in order to be accepted and then integrated. The incongruous alliance invites you to diversify your behavioral register. For example: tiger = aggressiveness/lamb = sweetness and innocence; eagle = domination or lucidity / fish = discretion…

… to become aware of the transformations
Images received: crossing symbols (bridge, door, diving into water, getting out of a storm, giving birth, cutting your hair, etc.).
The message sent: the dream evokes an important positive inner change (coming out of mourning, depression, dependency, etc.). It invites you to cross in conscience and in confidence the zone of turbulences which accompanies any crisis of growth and any internal change.

3- Welcome messages from the universe

For transpersonal psychology, our dreams open us up to other realities. Born in the 1970s from the meeting between several therapists, including Abraham Maslow (father of the humanistic approach) and Stanislav Grof (inventor of holotropic breathing), transpersonal psychotherapy integrates the discoveries of currents of psychology and those of spiritual traditions. . She is interested in modified states of consciousness likely to open us up to our past lives, to the spirit world… To access the transpersonal dimension of dreams, Monique Tiberghien, psychotherapist, has developed a six-step method, inspired by the technique dreams of the American psychologist Patricia Garfield, specialist in creative dreamsor creative dreams.

To your pens

Describe the context of your dream (events and climate of the previous or following days).

reflect the emotions associated with it by detailing them in writing. Example: “I feel ashamed of having fallen in front of everyone. »

Explore the sensations between sounds, images, events of the dream and their correspondents in real life. Example: “The dazzling green of the lizard is the green of the gate of my house. »

Activate the energy of the people in the dream by asking them: “Clown, what do you want me to do? »

Mandala. Draw a square, circle it with a circle, draw a cross in the middle. In the spaces thus delimited, write the name of all the characters in the dream (“Gaëlle, my sister”) or a word illustrating a strong moment (“pursuit”, “thunder”). You can also draw them. Immerse yourself in images in each square of the mandala and collect the message that emerges. Example: “Be bolder. »

Meaning. Draw out the overall meaning by going through the mandala again and asking aloud, “What is the message of this dream?” » Accept without judging or censoring the conclusion that imposes itself on you (“I must devote more time to others”, for example).

For further

==> Our nightmares are our allies

Paralysis, aggression, falling into the void…: these distressing scenarios haunt our nights in times of trial. If they are a reflection of our dramas and our inner conflicts, bad dreams can also be good guides.

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Dream interpretation: 3 methods to decode your dreams

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