Different Theoretical Perspectives on Dreams
According to Freud, dreams are repressed wish seeking and with important clues to the unknown and means to healing (Singer, 1972) Furthermore, he described dreams as the product of the conscious mind resisting the pressure of uncomfortable ideas such as sexual conflicts and infantile incestuous aspirations (Singer, 1972) Freud liked to explore the unconscious meaning of dreams and used a method of free association to uncover the basis of the dream (Singer, 1972).
Jung described dreams as a message which really means what it says (Singer, 1972) He depicts dreams as the unconscious supplying the missing element of what ego is unaware of, bringing the unconscious to the conscious, and therefore wholeness (Singer, 1972). Jung noted that sexual language in dreams is not always sexual, but is actually an archaic language that deepens the dream meaning; furthermore, he described dreams as a self portrait of the person and the dream message as the drive toward individuation (Singer, 1972). Jung did not use free association to uncover dream meaning, but believed that a dream requires dialogue between the analyst and the analysand to explore the images for understanding (Singer, 1972).
In Gestalt therapy the dreams are representative of every aspect of the dreamer and are part of the dreamer’s personality, and also what the dreamer wants to avoid (Alban & Groman, 1975). The Gestalt therapist avoids interpretation of the dreams, since the dreamer has far better access to the dream meaning; however, the therapist attempts to guide the client to what is being avoided and may suggest components of the dream that can be addressed. This method allows for the clients to progress at their own pace and discover the meaning within the context of their own life. In exposing the dream, the clients will resolve opposing or conflicting aspects of their personality and reveal the relationship the dreamer has to the physical environment and different aspects of self (Alban & Groman, 1975). In Gestalt dream work, the goal is not to look for reason or cause, but for assimilation of the information of self (Alban & Groman, 1975).
Which would you prefer?
- Lewis, S. A., & Groman, W. D. (1975). Dreamwork in a Gestalt therapy context. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 35, 147-156.
- Singer, J. (1972). Boundaries of the Soul: The Practice of Jung’s Psychology. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Chantal Blackshaw M.A., M.DIV., CCC
Counsellor – Individual and Couple Counseling