Dreams are unique to each individual.
We’ve all had those bizarre dreams we need to write down or tell someone about lest we forget the details. Often it can be hard to find the right words to adequately describe your dream to someone.
If only there was a way to play my dream for them like a movie! Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to do this, which is why the study of dreams can be quite difficult!
Though it is hard to definitively prove, our dreams are influenced by our thoughts, recent conversations, and troubles we may be going through.
You do dream about what you think about. However, dreams can often seem like warped interpretations of conscious thoughts. This is due to the fact that dreams stem from the emotional regions of the brain. When we are awake, there is a logical order to our stream of consciousness, however, thoughts seem to lose logic when we’re unconscious.
While dreams may be interpretations of our thoughts, sometimes they themselves need to be interpreted.
Dream analysis has been used throughout history, from ancient rulers who thought of them as prophecies to the modern-day.
When you gain a better understanding of why you dream what you dream, you can better learn to interpret your dream.
Why Do We Dream What We Dream?
Many different spiritual traditions highly regard dreams and what they reveal to us. In history, dreams were considered divine revelations from above.
In actual fact, they come from within us. While many people will tell you ‘dreams do come true’, in many ways, they already are true.
What we dream about can be hard to definitively prove due to the nature of dreams. However, you know what you dream about, so you can ultimately decide for yourself.
In order to do this, you will need to carefully analyze your dreams (with help from plenty of online resources) in order to understand why you had that specific dream.
One of the most famous dreams in history is the dream that inspired Mary Shelley to write what is often regarded as the very first science fiction novel: ‘Frankenstein.’
However, Shelley’s dream cannot take all the credit here. Though it was a vivid nightmare that would propel her to write her seminal debut, what was that nightmare based on?
During her lifetime, Shelley revealed that, prior to the dream, she had pondered on the possibility of a corpse being reanimated.
It can thus be logically deduced that it was this conscious thought that inspired the unconscious dream Shelley had.
While the connections between our conscious thoughts and our dreams may not be as clear as that of Mary Shelley’s, it is possible to interpret our dreams through dream analysis.
What Is Dream Analysis?
Dream analysis is commonly associated with psychoanalysis, which uses many of the same methods.
Psychoanalysis is used to treat various mental illnesses and disorders by looking into how unconscious and conscious parts of the brain interact with one another and what this subsequently reveals to us.
Similarly, dream analysis looks at the conscious and unconscious parts of our minds and how they interact to produce our dreams.
Dreams reveal important facts about ourselves to us, but it can often be hard to know exactly what they reveal. Dream analysis can play an important role in therapy.
The process starts with you relaying the given dream to the best of your ability to your therapist.
Following this, a discussion about your dream will be prompted, and you and your therapist will work through your dream together to unpack its meaning.
Like researching symptoms of an illness on the internet, we can often misdiagnose ourselves. Analyzing dreams with a licensed therapist thus has many benefits.
Psychologists understand the human psyche very well and will be able to logically work through your dreams and their meanings with you.
Following this, based on what your dreams reveal, your therapist can help implement any relevant changes to your lifestyle or habits.
While the above is a very simplistic overview of the role dreams can play in therapy, there are, in fact, many different approaches used when it comes to dream analysis.
These different techniques can aid us in understanding what our subconscious is mind is trying to reveal about certain unspoken emotions or feelings.
In this day and age, you don’t need to speak to the therapist about your dreams if you can’t afford it right now or the insurance won’t cover it.
There are multitudes of online resources and books available to guide you through your own dream analysis. You could also try keeping a dream journal!
The Advantages of Dream Journaling
Dreams communicate our unconscious or subconscious thoughts and feelings back to us. In this way, they can reveal helpful information to us about our lives.
For example, dreams can reveal a lot about the stressors and pressures we are currently facing in our lives. Keeping a dream journal is not only a way to understand our dreams, but time to reflect on ourselves!
As stated earlier, dreams can be difficult to remember. By writing down our dreams down in a journal when we wake up, we are able to go back to them for further analysis.
This also allows us to track our dreams and even pick up on certain patterns. Maybe you have nightmares before tests you didn’t study very well for or before certain stressful days or events at work.
Like Mary Shelley had a dream based on a conscious thought that became Frankenstein, you might, too!
Keeping a dream journal, apart from being an effective tool to mitigate stress, can work wonders for your creativity and inspiration.
No more forgetting ideas that could be turned into anything from a song to a screenplay! You never know when that idea will come in useful.
All in all, keeping a dream journal is a great means to get to know ourselves and our subconscious better. It can inspire creativity or help us learn from our mistakes and ultimately become better at problem-solving.
So, get journaling and try to capture all the detail you can – you never know what might come of it!
Take Your Dreams with a Pinch of Salt
While dreams can be powerful resources in revealing information to us, we must be wary of them too. We each have our own opinions and biases, many that we are not conscious of.
These can manifest in our interpretation of our dreams. Essentially, we can often believe what we want to believe.
We must be careful of using dreams as validation for our beliefs – we need to dig deeper! Dreams are not self-fulfilling prophecies, and it would be reckless to treat them as such.
If you dream that you are going to fail your driver’s license test, it does not mean you will actually fail.
The outcome thereof has not yet been determined, and your dream ultimately has no bearing on the outcome of your test.
What the above dream is likely representing is some anxiety in regard to the driving test.
However, if one were to take the meaning of the dream too literally, you could subconsciously sabotage your own test, making it seem like your dream was more of a prophecy.
That is why it is important to get input from another person, such as a therapist, who can help you process your dreams and their meanings.
Dreams lie at the intersection of our conscious and unconscious minds. They can often reveal vital information to us that we are unable to grasp at first.
Dream analysis can aid us in unpacking and understanding our dreams. There are many different methods one could use to successfully interpret our dreams, from seeing a therapist to keeping a dream journal.
When analyzing dreams, it is important not to treat them like prophecies. Our dreams, unfortunately, cannot predict the future.
They can however, aid us in dealing with our emotions and processing certain thoughts. When used properly, dreaming can be a very powerful tool in self-growth.