Dream interpretation: how does it work?

What are the basic principles for correctly interpreting a dream?

The first thing to bear in mind is that the unconscious expresses itself by analogy. In other words, you should never take at face value what you dream of, but look for the hidden meaning. Similarly, the dream is addressed only to the one who makes it: it is therefore a question of bringing things back to oneself and not of projecting them onto others.

Can you explain the notion of analogy?

The language of the dream is analogical, that is to say that the elements which are in the dream are not exact in relation to their form, but carry a meaning, an emotion, a representation. If you take a symbol, it represents something but not that thing in the first degree. If you dream of a person, in the majority of cases it does not represent that person per se, but a part of you or an analog figure.

You mean that when we dream of someone, in reality, we do not dream of this person?

Indeed, the people we dream of most often represent parts of ourselves. To put it bluntly, if you dream that you are sleeping with an unfriendly colleague, it is not that there is something between you two! This colleague represents a part of you that you don’t like. Likewise, if you dream of people you haven’t seen in a long time, these are parts of yourself that you are reconnecting with. The people who are in your dreams can also be surrogate people, behind whom we will first look for parental figures. For example, if you dream of your hierarchical superior, it can be a way of evoking one of your parents, because the child is hierarchically under his parents, and in adulthood, this relationship often continues in one way or another. of another. It still happens that the person we dream of plays his own role, especially if we dream of his parents. To finish on this question of people, if there are a lot of people in your dreams, it indicates that you are a sociable being. You like the exchange, it is found in your dreams.

Back to the symbols, what role do they have in the interpretation of dreams?

They are a major element in the dream reading, since each dream image is a symbolic image. The characteristic of a symbol is to be significant whatever the person, the time and the culture. For example, the key is a universal symbol because throughout the centuries and all over the world, it is used for the same function. It is a symbol of openness: when you have the key to something, you can access it.

Can a symbol have more than one meaning?

Sure ! A symbol is like a word: its meaning depends on the context. There is always a polysemy in a symbol. If you dream of a key and a lock, it can be the evocation of a solution or then comes to mind an association of ideas with a sexual tendency. There is always a sexual connotation in dreams, since sexuality is a drive that drives us all very strongly. But this is not necessarily the major key to dream analysis, let’s not be too Freudian.

Do all objects have symbolic power?

If it is an important element of the dream, we must look for its symbolic meaning. A dictionary of dreams is then very useful to grasp the meaning of certain objects. But we can also look for a personal evocative association, that is to say a memory, or what this object represents for you. Let’s say you dream of a kettle, maybe your grandmother had the same. Or else, it is the function of the object which is interesting. In the case of the kettle, it is used to boil water: something is boiling you, you are going through a period of tension, of anger. To interpret a dream is to perceive and understand the figurative language related to the object. The same goes if in your dream, you identify yourself with an object or an animal: what does it evoke for you, what can it mean?

Why does the unconscious express itself through such detours?

We can’t say everything in our dreams. The superego provides censorship, it ensures the legality of the messages, so that one does not accuse oneself or that one puts oneself in question. The unconscious will use all possible subterfuges to get messages across, such as the substitute images or the analogies we were talking about earlier.

It seems quite complex, right?

In reality, the dream language is the simplest there is, but we have lost the use of it because we have become too complex. It’s all about puns, puns, association of ideas… it’s the language of the birds. Holorime and paronymy are common in dream analysis. Holorime is when a word or phrase can be understood in several ways, like “magic” which can be understood as “the soul acts”. Paronymy is linking two words with similar sounds. Saucy connotations are welcome. For example, if you dream of a houseboat, you can hear something else…

It’s a hell of mental gymnastics!

It’s true, but it can be learned. The first virtue for interpreting dreams is to be of good will. You also have to be open to everything and accept all hypotheses, even the disturbing ones.

Is it easier to interpret your dreams if you are accompanied by a therapist?

Working alone on your dreams allows you to open up areas of reflection, to do some introspection, to take an interest in your psyche, in your unconscious. The pitfall is the resistance that we may encounter regarding certain messages that our unconscious sends us through our dreams: there are things we want to see and others we don’t. see. In any case, we will have a first x-ray. On an x-ray, you can see if a bone is fractured. But for more details, we need a specialist. The same goes for dreams. Some will want to go further and will consult. But not all of them: others will be in a hurry to close Pandora’s box. The messages carried by our dreams are not always pleasant.

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Dream interpretation: how does it work?

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