DREAMWORK : A THREE STEP TECHNIQUE
Dreams can be interpreted. I use a three way process. This can be summarized in the following way
1. ASSOCIATIONS AND SYMBOLISM. Try to look for ways in which your dream associates with real life. Then look at possible symbolic meanings.
2. GUESSWORK. Try to guess what issues and emotions could have triggered a dream.
3. ANALYSIS. If a dream is interpreted properly it must translate into some thought or feeling which makes sense right now. Look to verify your dream by showing consistencies between any possible meaning identified in GUESSWORK and the dream symbols.
DREAM WORK STEP 1. ASSOCIATIONS AND SYMBOLISM
Freud was the first person to explain the importance of association in understanding dreams. If you can associate something in real life to a dream then it maybe important to it's meaning. Associations maybe of two types.
LITERAL ASSOCIATIONS A dream may associate with reality by featuring a person, place or feeling that has just happened. It's a coincidence with reality. If for instance you had a dream about your grandfather and you had just met your grandfather the previous day then that's a coincidence that is a good clue to the dreams meaning. The dream maybe about that situation in some way. It maybe about your reaction to what happened there. It could be about your relationship with your grandfather. It's a clue that should not be ignored. Direct your efforts into this line of enquiry. Here are some examples of literal associations. They link to a person and further investigation revealed that the dream was about them.
1. Dream about my Father who buys me dog I do not want : This dream featured the dreamers father. Further investigation showed it was about his fathers attempts to introduce him to some 'influential' people whom he did not really want to know.
2. Dream about phoning up ex boyfriend and getting no answer : This dream was about the ex boyfriend and the mixed signals he was sending out about getting back together.
3. Dream about chocolate bar from my Boss : This dream was about the boss. Investigation revealed the dreamer was getting compliments and praise off her boss when she wanted higher wages.
Literal associations are coincidences which you cannot ignore. The dream may link into the person who is featured or the situation in real life.
ASSOCIATION BY METAPHOR Dreams by their very nature use metaphors. You need to think about each dream symbol and link it to reality in some way. You have to freely associate the dream symbol with something in real life. A dream about an angry dog for instance obviously represents something negative. Dreams are fairly easy to decode. They often link specifically to the day before. They may also point forwards to situations that you are worried about. So if you had an angry dog dream then it would represent something negative either from the day before (from an actual event or something that you were just thinking about). Alternatively it could represent something that you were might get angry about the next day or some situation involving bad feelings. Go through all these possibilities and you will see which is the most likely. The list will usually be quite short. It is quite unusual to have more than one argument going on at any one time.
Just because you can associate a dream with something it does not mean that the dream is about that topic. It is just a clue. Dreams do not give you many clues. To truly understand a dream then you must make several connections between a dream and reality. Even then you can never tell truly what a dream means.
Here are some examples of associations.
1. A dream about a person who keeps cats. The dreamer associated the dream with a type of person who keeps cats. He found them deeply annoying and was worrying that he was developing traits like that himself.
2. Man pointing : The dreamer associated this with his own extreme paranoia. He felt that people were focusing on him. He felt that everyone was looking at him and concentrating on his faults.
3. Gangster : The dreamer felt he could trust no one and associated the dream with his own state of mind. He felt people may turn against him at any time. There was no one he could really trust and felt that people could double cross him at any moment.
4. Dolphins : The dreamer's mother associated this dream with her daughters mood. Previously she was prone to tantrums. But recently she had become a lot more relaxed.
5. Embrace a dolphin : This dreamer associated the dream with her recent state of mind which was similarly playful and happy. She was becoming a lot more contented within herself. She was a lot happier in her own company. Again the dolphin represented these positive emotions and moods.
6. Rape dream : The dreamer associated the dream with a man at work who looked weirdly at her. She did not think that he was a rapist but he was someone who freaked her out.
7. Wolf threatening : The dreamer associated the dream with real life. He was being worn down by accusations at work. It was causing him massive stress. Wolves are relentless hunters who ware down their prey.
DREAM WORK STEP 2 - GUESSWORK.
You can never truly tell what has triggered a dream but you can guess what may have caused it. I have devised a dream questionnaire which is based upon years of interpreting dreams. It will suggest possible causes of a dream. Go through the list of questions and try to draw up a list of potential causes. Dreams work on many levels and it's difficult to tell what type of dream any given dream is. You will probably end up with a list of one, two or three possible triggers.
Use the following dream questionnaire to help you discover what has triggered the dream. The questions help you decide what type of dream yours COULD be.
DISTRACTION DREAM. Your dream could be a distraction dream if :
- You desperately wanted to go to the toilet when you woke up.
- You woke up in pain.
- There were noises distracting you during sleep. You were sexually turned on when you woke.
Distraction dreams occur when the mind is distracted. The dream mind is the same as the conscious mind. If you are distracted whilst awake then you cannot really concentrate on the big issues in life. It's the same during sleep. A distraction dream, would probably have the following type of meaning "That's a very loud noise. I wonder what that is". So do not expect distraction dreams to have any great meaning.
BIG INCIDENT FROM YESTERDAY. Your dream could easily be triggered by some big incident which occurred the day before :
- Did you get into a big argument?
- Was there some big event?
- Did you get into a mood which lasted all day?
- Did something significant happen yesterday?
- Were you thinking about just one thing yesterday?
If dreams are linked to the mind then surely if only one thing is on your mind at any given point then any given dream will be about this.
EMOTIONAL DREAM. - Did you feel a particularly strong emotion the day before?
- Did you wake up feeling some strong emotions?
Your dream mind is involved in the emotions that you have. If you felt a strong emotion the day before then your dream may simply record that strong emotion.
PERSONALITY DREAM. Your dream maybe a personality dream if :
- Have you been thinking about how you have changed recently?
- Did you realise how badly you behaved yesterday?
- Have you been coping better or worse than you thought you would?
- Could you have done something better yesterday?
We constantly monitor how well or badly we have done. If you have been thinking about yourself and how you have changed or performed then your dream maybe a personality dream.
- Were you thinking about the person in the dream yesterday?
- Did you think about a key relationship the day before?
- Have there been key changes in any relationships recently?
- Have you got any issues with any people in the dream?
Relationships are very important. We constantly monitor relationships and dreams maybe related to these thoughts.
PREMONITIONS. Did something big happen on the actual day of the dream? Could this dream be a premonition of that?
- Did you feel some unexpected emotion on the day of the dream?
- Did something unusual or very big happen on the actual day of the dream?
Premonitions often come true very quickly. So look out for surprise events that your dream symbols could refer to.
CHANGE OF LIFE. Have there been major changes in your life recently.
- Have you recently changed your job?
- Is your health changing in any way?
- Are you about to move house?
- Has life changed recently?
- Are you worried about big changes which are about to take place?
Dreams record these small changes in your life.
NEXT DAY DREAM.
- Have you been thinking about something big due to happen the next day such as an exam?
- Are you going to a party tomorrow?
- Are you going on a date?
- Were you thinking through what you want to say to someone last night?
- Did you fantasize about something last night?
- Did you get worried about something that you wanted to do the next day?
If your mind is pointing forward to the next day then your dream could easily symbolize your thoughts about that day. You maybe thinking through what could happen.
- Were you thinking about how to tackle a project yesterday?
- Were you trying to create a work of art such as a poem, a song or a painting yesterday?
- Have your emotions been throwing your emotions into your work?
We often get emotionally involved in work projects. If you were thinking intensely about something like this last night then this could easily trigger a dream?
- Did you get away with something yesterday?
- Did you narrowly avoid something yesterday?
Dreams often record some worst possible scenario. Sometimes we reflect over how things could have been. Maybe your child nearly got run over the day before. We soon forget these little things yet we need to remind ourselves how lucky we were.
- Have you had bad health problems recently?
- Has your health been improving recently?
- Are you worried that your health may change for the worse?
We constantly monitor our health and dreams may record our emotions about this. We also have to gauge what we can do e.g. when should we start walking on an injured foot.
- Were you thinking of something very specific the day before?
- Did something really make you think yesterday?
We can dream about rather trivial matters if nothing much is happening in our lives.
GUESSWORK : There are several types of dreams. Many dream types are similar. In short we dream about lots of issues which are currently in our minds. Try to think which direction your mind is pointing. If you are in a reflective mood then you will be thinking over what has just happened. You will be wondering how you could have done things better. Alternatively you might be thinking about the future. Your attentions maybe concentrated on the day to come. You maybe fantasizing about how you may react. You maybe wondering how well or badly things might get.
This questionnaire may complicate matters. Simply look out for the issues which have been dominating your mind. What were you thinking about yesterday? What were your worries or thoughts of the day to come? Look at changes in your life. Dreams record new thoughts and moods. Just be aware of these and you will be able to guess what a dream may have been triggered by.
DREAM WORK STEP 3 : ANALYSIS
The best way to interpret any given dream is to put forward various theories about it's meaning and then try to verify it's meaning. Dreams are not easy to interpret. You never truly know what they mean. You can simply suggest ideas and then try to see if the symbolism is consistent with the dreams meanings. After you have read the questionnaire in section two you will have a list of possible dream meanings. Usually you may have two or three possible triggers
Here are a few examples of analysis.
1. Dream about child molester. In real life the dreamer had been very upset about a man coming into the café where she worked whom she had to serve. It is possible to verify this meaning in that it is quite literal. It deals with the issue of child abuse. The story does not match real life but that's not important. The dream simply captures this similar set of emotions.
2. Dream about tidal wave and child. Dreams are often about important events from the previous day and the dreamer had been feeling guilty about leaving her child with baby sitters. It is easy to verify this dreams meaning. As the dream featured a real sense of fear as a tidal wave strikes. So we can see how the dream links to the dreamers own exaggerated fears about this.
3. Dream about avoiding aliens. One issue that the dreamer mentioned after reading the dream questionnaire (Chapter 2) was about the previous day. If something quite big happened the previous day then it's likely to cause a dream. In his case the dreamer felt socially intimidated. He felt he was out of his depth meeting people with way more ability than him. It is very easy to verify this dreams meaning. The dream features the same sense of avoidance as he had in real life. The aliens represent that sense of intimidation as the dreamer comes face to face with an enemy he cannot deal with.
Dreams are not easy to interpret. This chapter is designed to show you the basic techniques. But, dream analysis is more of a practical skill. This book features many examples of real dreams which are practical examples of how the dream mind works. If you want to learn how dreams work then read through these. Look at the types of associations which the dreams use. Look at the types of incidents and emotions which trigger the dreams. Look how dream symbols build up to form thought processes or feelings. In particular look at the next chapter which I about practical dreamwork. It's a practical skill so look at as many real examples as you can. ----------------------------------------
CONTACT : Please feel free to contact me with your dreams - Please include as many details as possible and especially describe any strong emotions that link to the day before or any characters in the dream. Also if you have any dreams that you feel as if you already know the meaning of then I would be delighted to place them within my own dream studies.
E-MAIL : email@example.com
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