History of Psychology

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Introduction

This paper will analyse the importance of dream analysis throughout the years. It will begin with a description based on Freud’s theory on dream analysis and a reference to history of how it began. Moreover dream analysis will be discerned as a tool of psychoanalysis and its use on certain psychological disorders such as hysteria in addition the different symbols of dreams are mentioned and how the Id, Ego and Superego play a part in what we dream.

History of dream analysis

What is dream analysis?

Dreaming is a natural process that occurs when we are asleep. It is hypothesised that we always have dreams when we are asleep but it’s sometimes difficult to remember what we have dreamt. Dream analysis is an effective way to understand what dreams mean. Most of our dreams don’t make sense when we try to understand them and this is where dream analysis comes in handy. Not only can it help us understand our dreams, it can also help to understand our unconscious which may be helpful in certain neurotic or psychological problems. Most psychologists believe dreaming is healthy because it’s a way in which allows our mind to release some of our suppressed thoughts in our unconscious.

There are many different approaches to interpret dreams but the most famous theory would be the Freudian approach. According to Freud, dreams give us clues to understand our unconscious mind. A dream is a disguised fulfilment of a repressed wish. Fears, desires and emotions that we are usually unaware of make themselves known through dreams. To Freud dreams are about wish fulfilment. Even dreams of punishment or anxiety are a form of wish fulfilment, the wish being that certain events do not occur. Very often such dreams are interpreted as a warning. Freud believed that although our dreams contain these important messages, they are disguised. The unconscious mind communicates with us through symbols. Some of these symbols are universal, others very personal to us and our individual life experiences. Freud thus distinguished between the manifest content of dreams, what we actually dream, and the latent content of dreams, the unfulfilled wish that the dream represents.

Dream content is never presented in a simple fashion. Instead a complex dream is constructed from the basic elements. The raw dream symbols are distorted through condensation, which compresses content in dreams, and displacement, which shifts content about. This is followed by a process of secondary revision that takes all these distorted elements and assembles them into some more or less coherent narrative structure. Because of how complex dream are, they require analysis to discover their true meaning. This process takes considerable time as a body of recorded dreams needs to be built up and analysed. Free association is Freud's main technique for analysing a dream. Here the dreamer is encouraged to look not at the direct content of the dream but at the thoughts and emotions it generates. These will then lead to other thoughts and emotions. Free association is simply saying whatever comes into your head. Freud would look at each individual component of a dream and use each as a starting point for free association then attempt to pull all the threads together into an overall analysis. In this way the dreamer can sneak up on repressed emotions

First interest in dream

In 1855 Freud went to Paris to study with Charcot, a famous neurologist who was doing interesting work with hysterics. Charcot had shown that hysterical symptoms weren’t connected to anatomy. He had shown that hysterical patients could be hypnotised into making their symptoms disappear or reappear.

Without realising it he had stumbled on something revolutionary. The real explanations of hysterical symptoms were not biological and mechanical. In the past they burnt hysterics believing that they were witches. Freud wanted to further study this concept with another physician, Joseph Breuer,...
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