We all dream, whether we are aware of them or not – whether we remember them or not. Dreams help our mind deal with experiences that usually have occurred within the last couple of days. When we let our guard down in our sleep, the subconscious mind helps us process our experiences to understand them and to understand ourselves.
Why This Is Important
Dreams connect the subconscious mind and the conscious mind to help us understand ourselves more fully. The more we understand how we think and interpret our experiences the more aware we become of what works for us and what does not. Often we are so busy in our day that we are not conscious of an event that negatively affected us. Or perhaps we reacted in a way at the time of the event that was unconscious and later regretted it. Our dreams help us re-process these experiences. Sometimes we consciously push down the dream – sometimes we are just not aware of having such a dream. As soon as we awaken, the dream is gone. Whether or not we remember our dreams, they occur because sometimes we avoid re-living the actual experience and our dream allows us to re-experience it in a way that is more comfortable for us, and perhaps less threatening, even if it is not exactly accurate in our dream..
Sigmund Freud: There are many ways to interpret dreams. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams often involved repressed wishes, and latent (unexpressed or undiscovered) material. He would often use free association to almost trick the unconscious mind to reveal the real material of one’s dream or thinking.
Carl Jung believed that dreams could take on a representation of what the person was thinking about, but not in the literal sense. For example, an old man could be a giant spider in a dream. He believed that one could dream of something that actually reflected the opposite of one’s personal reality in life. He also cautioned against over-interpreting one’s dream without knowledge and context of the person’s actual experiences. Click HERE for more info on Freud and Jung’s theories.
General Interpretations of Dreams
Note: These are examples of interpretations from DreamDictionary.org and are not meant to be seen as the only possible interpretation.
- Flying Dreams: Can mean taking off towards something you want. Feeling freer instead of previously feeling stagnated. Having an elevated mood instead of previously feeling low.
- Falling Dreams: Can signify feeling a current loss of control in your life.
- Naked Dreams: May signify feeling vulnerable around others, or that they will see your shortcomings. It can signify feeling exposed. On the other hand, it can mean strutting around without a care.
- Teeth Falling Out: May mean one feels a lack of control in their life, or a lack of support. Very common dream.
Anxiety dreams are also very common. It is the mind’s way of recognizing various situations or thoughts that cause us to feel anxious during the day. Isadora also recommends that you try to recognize what is making you feel anxious during the day and what you can do about the situation. Copy and paste the following link for more info on
Decoding Anxiety Dreams by Isadora Alman, MFT, CST
How I Interpret Dreams
I don’t believe that all dreams are important for us to remember. In my own dreams and with my clients I will ask how the person felt during the dream and if they can then relate that dream to how they recently felt in the past 2-3 days prior to the dream. I believe we often process how we experience something and how it made us feel through our dreams. Therefore, I do not approach the interpretation literally unless the client already sees it that way. I find this to be taking a back-door approach that allows someone to more fully examine their experiences and resulting feelings in recent experiences. Sometimes we are too uncomfortable to allow our conscious mind to fully let in an experience emotionally that may feel threatening or uncomfortable.
Do Dogs And Cats Dream?
Yes, almost all mammals except the platypus dream according to this.
- If you are interested in your dreams you may want to keep a journal. See if you can attach your dream to something you experienced or felt in the recent past.
- See if there is a theme to your dreams. Do you currently have a running theme in your life experiences? Do the themes overlap in any way?
- If you find you have ongoing uncomfortable dreams you may want to seek the help of a professional therapist who can help make sense of the dreams and how they may relate to your life experiences.