Amanda N. Hollis
West Georgia Technical College
Understanding the Dream Process and Dream Meanings
Everyone dreams, but people do not always remember the dream. When someone actually does remember the dream there is a chance that person is wondering, “Why they would dream about that?” and “What does that dream mean?” In Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, he claims that dreams are meaningful and the reason why they are is because dreams represent wish fulfillment (McNamara, 2011). Dreams may seem weird and not make sense due to how we perceive our own thoughts, but most of the time people continue to focus on the same issues that they are concerned with while they are awake (Barrett, 2011). When people fall asleep they enter and alternative state of consciousness. This is the time where true inspiration can strike (Barrett, 2011). People sleep for about a third of their lives. People sleep in 90 minute cycles, each cycle containing a period of rapid eye movement (REM) and increased brain activity, about as much activity people experience when awake. Dreams occur most in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or when awoke near the end of each REM period. When scientists awakened people near the end of each REM period, the sleepers recounted an average of almost five dreams per night (Barrett, 2011). Sleep stages two, three and four are called slow-wave sleep. About half of the time in these stages, people report that nothing happened, the other 50-60% of the cases, report that they were thinking about something. These thoughts are called sleep thoughts that involve some issue or event that a person has been concerned with during a previous day. Sleep thoughts are not considered actual dreams because they lack the action in a real dream. Almost all people who are awakened during REM sleep almost always confirm they had been experiencing realistic events called a true dream. A true dream is not only thinking something, it is actually doing something in their dream (Meyers) People can use their dreams to solve problems in their life, discover new ideas and answer questions they might have. The brain categorizes memories, long term and short term are the different types of memories. These may affect why people dream about specific things more than others. It is because the things people see make up their dreams, after seeing in dreams people can then apply to their everyday life (McNamara, 2011). There are many beliefs and studies on dreams and what they mean. These different beliefs can differ depending on region, culture, and time period. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams primarily express repressed wishes, namely, infantile sexual and aggressive impulse. Other psychoanalysts thought they had more to do with narcissistic strivings or compensation for feelings of inferiority. Recently, psychologists believe that dreams simulate threats or help to consolidate memories (Barrett, 2011). Several studies show that people experienced dreams when a specific situation triggered a set of feelings (Barrett, 2011). The emotion caused from a person’s dream can often affect a person’s mood and behavior for the remainder of the day that they are awake. In 1993, Kuiken and Sikora completed a study where a dream recall questionnaire was sent out. The results from the questionnaire found 13% of 168 respondents reported that they had dreams that affected their daytime mood at least 12 times in the past year; 25% of the respondents had the same dreams at least four times in the past year and 44% at least twice in the past year (Kuiken & Sikora, 1993). Dream incubation is when a person is trying to dream about a particular problem. Dream incubation increases the chance a solution will be discovered. The term “incubation” is from ancient Greek practices, where the sick tried to have dreams to see how to cure there sickness (D.B., 2011). Western psychology has developed a way to train people’s dreams. Their belief on training your dreams are; Write down your problem, Review the problem a few minutes before going to bed, once in bed, visualize the problem as an image, tell yourself that they want to dream about the problem as they fall asleep, once awake lie quietly before getting out of bed to try to recall any part of a dream and apply dream images to the problem they are wanting to be solved (D.B., 2011). There are many different types of dreams. Some basic dreams are lucid dreams, day dreams, night mares, psychic dreams and epic dreams. Within these dream types there are themes. Some common dream themes include being chased, falling, flying, being naked, test dreams and water dreams. A dream is a mirror revealing one’s self (Crisp, 2002). Dreams, like humans cannot be described as one thing. Dreams do not only happen based on experiences, but can be inspiration for an idea to be discovered. People’s mind can solve problems, predict outcomes and create new ideas from old memories. Nightmares can also be caused by disturbing and tragic events in a person’s lifetime (Crisp, 2002). In this paper dreams have been described and explained in many ways of different people’s belief and perspective. This paper explains when we dream, the process of dreaming, the meaning of dreams and how to train people’s dream. Different studies explained different statistics and experiment outcome’s on dream recollection. Dreams can be used to solve problems, create new ideas and answer one’s personal question. It is how we perceive a dream that determines the outcome of the future. Dreams do not determine this, it is how people see the images in a dream and apply it to everyday life situations. To learn more about specific dream interpretations, you can visit http://www.dreamdictionary.org/. This site will provide A to Z dream meanings.
Barrett, D. (2011). Answers In Your Dreams. Scientific American Mind, 27-33. Crisp, T. (2002). An A to Z guide to understanding your unconscious mind. Dell Publishing. D.B. (2011). How to Train Your Dreams. Scientific American Mind, 34-34. DreamDictionary.Org. (n.d.).
Kuiken, D., & Sikora, S. (1993). The impact of dreams on waking thoughts and feelings. McNamara, P. (2011). The impact of dreams on your social life. Dream Catcher. Meyers, D. (n.d.). Psychology in everyday life. Worth Publishers Student Center.