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Description: If you have taken an introductory psychology course you have likely heard a bit about Freud’s psychodynamic theory and about his views on the subject of dreams and the manifest (surface) and latent (deep, symbolic) content he argued that they hold. The idea that dreams are “the royal road to the unconscious” (Freud), in a way sank along with the idea of the unconscious in general for lack of data support. So, what are we to make of our dreams today? Should we simply ignore them as the ramblings of random neuronal firing or of the “noise” of our brain consolidating our previous day’s cognitive work? Or might here be something there worth paying attention to? Think a bit about what dreams might have to tell us (or about what we might tell ourselves about our dreams and then read the article linked below for a number of possible ways to think, today, about our dreams (the ones in our head at night and not our waking aspirations).

Source: Are out dreams trying to tell us something – or should we sleep on it? Oliver Burkeman, Psychology, The Guardian.

Date: November 17, 2017

Photo Credit:  Michele Marconi for the Guardian

Links:  Article Link — https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/17/dreams-as-therapy-oliver-burkeman

The bottom line in the linked article is that dreams are pretty cool, no matter what we actually think of them or make of them. They have a narrative or story line, they can be complex, they can suggest deep symbology and, when we wake up and reflect upon them, they can help us think some rather amazing thoughts. Jung, a contemporary of Freud, talked about the notion that dreams arise out of a collective unconscious or shared cultural meanings (memories) that tat form the foundation of our experiences. Paying attention to our dreams and reflecting on them, according to Jung, connects us with our culture and our species at a deep existential level. Not much hard science in that, most certainly. However, the author of the article linked above suggests that we can benefit from simply marveling at what our brains do when we sleep. He suggests that we keep track of and, more importantly, that we spend some time reflecting upon what are dreams are or seems to be about and think about what they seem to be showing or saying tells us about our current situation and current circumstances. Essentially this is a form of self-reflection using our dreams as catalysts or tools to reflect upon our inner conscious experiences. A kind of self-therapy. A kind of mindful refection upon ourselves, lives, and directions. All of this can be positive and might lead to increased self-awareness and self-efficacy. Of course, research is needed but we don’t have to wait for research to give it try!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What were Freud’s views on the nature of dreams?
  2. How might Jung’s view of dreams be viewed as different than that of Freud?
  3. What might we gain by taking some time to reflect upon our dreams (on those we can recall upon waking up)?

References (Read Further):

Matthew Walker Why tour brain needs to dream. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_your_brain_needs_to_dream

Walker, M. (2017) Why We Sleep: The new science of sleep and dreams. Penguin, UK.

Jung, C. G. (2014). Dream Interpretation Ancient and Modern: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1941. Princeton University Press. http://www.maoq.org/book/869000945/download-dream-interpretation-ancient-and-modern-c-g-jung-john-peck-lorenz-jung-maria-meyer-grass-ernst-falzeder-tony-woolfson.pdf

Freud, S. (2013). The interpretation of dreams. Read Books Ltd. http://libarch.nmu.org.ua/bitstream/handle/GenofondUA/6551/3bf2b6e41e2ff8794584aac5d81e2eaa.pdf?sequence=1

Blumberg, M. S., & Plumeau, A. M. (2016). A new view of “dream enactment” in REM sleep behavior disorder. Sleep medicine reviews, 30, 34-42. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e633/e82c58182390b94ba47b7085ba280a8f01c0.pdf

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