This video covers Freud's theory of Dream Interpretation based on his monumental book "The Interpretation of Dreams"
In 1899 Freud published a book called The Interpretation of Dreams. It was at the time, the most remarkable book in psychology ever written to date. What is fascinating is that despite 100+ years of theoretical change and research, there has been no change in Freud’s theory of dream interpretation.
The most amazing fact about this amazing field is that fundamentally, though there has been research and there has been people with theoretical innovations flitting along the edges of Freud’s monumental work, there has not been that I have been able to discover a single significant major innovation that took his work in a different direction or discovered something that he had discovered or significantly changed the the Freudian approach to dream interpretation.
I think over the last 50 years there has been a significant diminution in the focus on dream interpretation. I think it is fair to say that historically the first 50 or 60 years of psychoanalysis and American in Europe and England. The therapy was often substantially about dream interpretation. I think that is dramatically less true today, but I suggest and I think I am on solid theoretical ground here is that dream interpretation remains the royal road to the unconscious. I have never had patients get better faster go deeper, more thoroughly of folk in themselves a greater understanding of their mind and its functioning and development then when we successfully work together on dreams fairly consistently.
What is dream interpretation?
The first big discovery that Freud made I think was the difference between the manifest in the latent content. They felt manifest content that is the superficial level of the dream, the latent content that is where the meaning is. Dream interpretation is about translating the manifest content into the unconscious latent content. The overwhelming majority of who we are is unconscious and not readily accessible to our conscious minds. That is the core of where dreams come from, repressed often childhood dynamics anxieties experiences that are repressed in the unconscious for a reason. So repressed material comes into conscious awareness in the dream. It is just most of them are disguised enough that we can tolerate their experience in our conscious awareness.
There are certain symbols that are generally universal and understood as having some relatively consistent meaning. Freud recognized not everything is a sexual connotation. The statement attributed to Freud that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar was taken from dream interpretation. Symbols I think are notoriously easy to misunderstand there may be cultural norms, but especially I think now in our culture, which is anything but homogeneous. One is on very shaky ground assuming that we all have the same unconscious symbols.
Now you can never make interpretation that is definitive and final. Dreams never have just one meaning. Dreams have layers of meaning and in truth dream interpretation is simply about getting down as far as you can. And there is almost no way to get all the way down because all the way down means repression at levels which are not amenable to even the best technique.
Dream interpretation is serious business, not a parlor game for a cocktail party. You are playing with the deepest, most vulnerable parts of people’s minds and you can do damage if you do not take this material seriously or if you are unskilled in its use. Freud said that it is absolutely essential to proper interpretation the therapist must recognize that the patient does not want to know the meaning of the dream cannot know is not strong enough to know, but that is true in every in every therapeutic experience the whole point of the therapy is to help they should make the patient strong enough to know his or her own mind better.
He also acknowledged there are dreams that are really hard to interpret because they are so bizarre. It is so difficult for the therapist even to wrap your mind around the images sometimes, but deeper significance worth pursuing.
Here is another element that often surprises and sometimes shocks people. The dreamer is responsible for everything in the dream. It is your mind when you have a dream you are responsible for everything in it.