Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Teaching Dreams and Dreaming

As I teach my third year university course on Dreams and Dreaming (Theory, Research and Practice) I am again reminded how difficult it is for people to make the connection between the dream image and the meaning obtained from interpretation. The temptation is to keep going to the dream imagery and make it literal. We know that this can be the case but we also know that dreams have many levels of meaning.

For example, a dream about a sore leg can mean that in waking day the dreamer has an injured leg (continuity hypothesis!) but it can also mean that the dreamer has been dragging his leg on a decision, or, that he is unable to move on from a waking day issue, etc. etc. In fact it can mean all of these things in waking day. He could have fallen and hurt his leg, and he is having a difficult time in a romantic relationship because he cannot make the decision to commit to it. This may be due to the fact that he is unable to move on from a previous romantic relationship because he has not fully recovered from it.

The reminder here is that dreams have many, many levels of meaning and the more willing we are to delve into the dream, the more information we will retrieve from it. Dreams are far more complicated than what novice dream workers are willing to realize. The more interpretations we work with, the more meaning will be revealed and thus, the more fruitful is the result.