Psychology. Dreamwork Perspective


Dream psychology tries to explain the cause and the meaning of dreams. This paper analyzes dreams and tries to establish a link or a connection between the dream and the real life situation as theorized by the dream psychology and other perspectives.

Dream has been explained as the work of the subconscious mind to try to have the mind give solution to the problem facing the person in the waking life (Purohit, 2004). This paper seeks to analyze dreams while focusing on the above theory.

Dream Work Perspective

I had a dream last night that I’ve had several times before. I forgot about it until it repeated. I was very high up in an airplane above what looked like New York City. I was really amazed that I was flying the plane because I never (in the dream) took flying lessons and I wondered how I could fly. When I realized that I had no lessons I became nervous. Someone (also in the plane) kept saying that I was flying ok and advised me not to worry whether I had flying lessons or not. I have no recollection of landing the plane.

The above dream points out the relation between real life situation and dream in that the fear suppressed in the former is expressed in the latter. The interest to overcome and suppress these fears is evident in this dream by the presence of the second person who confirms that the flying is ok without lessons.

Dreams are comprised of thoughts, emotions and images formed by them which are encountered at night. As per the carried research, every person spends approximately 6 years dreaming (which can be averaged to two hours in every night) (Oak, 2008). Dreams come from our subconscious mind as it tries to communicate with us and may be used to reveal fears and worries being hidden for long. According to Freud (1973) nothing can be added during dream but the mind works with what it has. According to Purohit (2004) subconscious of a person is said to manifest in one’s dream to fulfill the desires, longings and cravings.

Various causes of dreams have been proposed in different theories. Dream work perspective has been applied in the interpretation of dreams whereas they can be used to deal with internal psychological problems of individuals. Some theories point out that dreams are a result of expression of repressed ego as a result of excessive pressure for this ego by the sub ego. Freud proposed that after distressful experiences, brain would gain control over the resulting feelings.

Dreams would compensate for one-sided feelings borne in consciousness (Oak, 2008). It has been theorized that dreams do not attempt to conceal true feelings of the waking mind but to “guide the waking mind offer a solution to a problem” being faced by the dreamer in the waking life [Dream Moods, 2009]. When a child is born, he can be perceived to consist of a buddle of ids according to Freud (1973).

Id followed the pleasure principle and could not afford accommodating interpretations or reasons for practices. As human grew, he develops the sub ego which is as a result of being taught or made aware of morals, cultures and behaviors usually transmitted by parents. Sub ego is in contrast to the ego, because the latter is a buddle of those personal desires and wishes that are internally expressed, and it is the teaching and fighting against these desires and pressures that leads to development of the sub ego. The ego carries on the suppressed feelings and emotions and therefore also seeks to tone down the Super-ego’s tough inhibitions.

Dream was theorized in this conception to be a defense mechanism when there was a failure by the ego to balance the super ego and the Id as a result of extreme pressure from both. Dreams manifest the desires, wishes and the pleasures that have been suppressed in the real life situation. Freud (1973) suggests that dreams are as a result of day to day activities that have coincided or agreed with our pleasures, wishes or desires.

He held that dreams resulted from life instincts and experiences and nothing could be made up. For example, during the above dream, the mind could only work with experiences of fear and flying as the environment which had been experienced earlier on. The presence of a person who confirms that the victim is flying alright without lessons can be interpreted as work of mind in trying to suppress fear, or generating courage while flying.

The conscious mind therefore under the flying experience (practical experience) went beyond these fears to encourage the person to fly. In this case therefore, the fear was suppressed in real life situation, only to try and manifest in the dreams. However, as indicated by Oak (2008) expectation fulfillment theory was different where emotional expectations patterns are accomplished through dreaming.

As Observed by Oak (2008), a theory of emotional selection has been put forward where dreams would exist to modify one’s mental schema and increase one’s social abilities. An example is an adjustment in trying to modify one’s fear for flying. Because the schema is not accommodative to fears associated with flying, dream would seek according to this theory to modify mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences.

Whether the resultant is a mental schema free from the fears limiting the social abilities or not may be the next analysis. The theory posits that two sets of dreams are executed, one during the non-REM sleep and the other set during the REM sleep. The latter set is performed in the form of test scenarios for the accommodations performed in the non-REM sleep (i.e. a period of sleep exemplified by reduced metabolic activities, dreaming absence, slowed pulse and breathing rates). Consequently, whenever there is a reduction in the negative emotions as a result of the accommodation acquired via dreams in the non-REM sleep, then the accommodation are retained but if there is no reduction in the negative emotions the accommodations are abandoned (Oak, 2008).

The repetition of this dream may be expressed in terms of failure of the mind to make adjustment or accommodations that reduce the emotions of fear.

Dream psychology has pointed out the importance of day to day life experiences such as exposure to people and objects. These exposures are closely related to emotions they carry. For example, a colored element occurs in dreams as a result of lengthy exposure to colored media. Because certain colors have been associated with certain emotions, visualizing these colors may influence the dreams. Dream interpretation requires the recording of the dream and the interpretation of the meaning of every constituent or object in the dream.

Because interpretations of dreams may vary according to the psychological association given to the dream, it is important to identify these psychological associations. Even in similar encounters of real life situations, perceptions of individuals do vary depending on the past experiences. For example, if one had nasty experiences with the thorns of a rose flower, his perceptions relating to the rose flower in the dream would be negative as compared to the person who encountered a sweet smelling aroma of the rose (Ganguly, 2008).

Theory of dreams has pointed out that there could be a common thing in many dreams that was an impression of the real processes occurring in the world. Thus, in this case repetition of the dream on flying experience is outrightly related to actual flying as the associated fear (Oak, 2008).


Dream Moods. (2009). Dream theorists. Web.

Freud, S. (1973).The International journal of psycho-analysis. London: MetaPress.

Ganguly, P. (2008). What causes dreams? Web.

Oak, M. (2008). Psychology of dreams. Web.

Purohit, V. (2004). Dreams: Links between real and imaginary worlds? Web.

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