Frederick Perls’ idea on dreams provides a holistic approach. He is mostly known for putting forward the Gestalt Theory. His approach on dream analysis focuses on taking into consideration all the sides of the dream and also the time.
Perls considered dreams to be reflection of a person’s self and that they provided a more harmonious and unified perspective about a person and his/ her life. Perls said that there are often various issues that we ignore, these may be some traits in our personality or some problem that we may be facing – these ignored aspects get expressed in our dreams.
In other words what we cause to regress in our waking life comes forward in the form of our dreams. As such, Perls considered each dream to be highly personal and very unique. When two people have a similar dream, the interpretation thereof however would not be similar – that would vary from one person to another depending solely on the intimate personal context of each person concerned.
- Perls’ perspective of dreams:
According to Perls a proper understanding of a dream can be achieved only when you take into consideration all the aspects in a dream and like resolving a puzzle put the various fragments of the dream together till you get one complete unified picture. Dream according to Perls is based solely upon perspective. For example – in a Chase Dream the perspective of the Chaser would vary completely from that of the person who is being chased. A third approach was also put forward by Perls where we explained that dreams can also be interpreted from the perspective of a bystander or so as to say a third person. Another method that can give a fresh perspective to analyzing a dream is by striking a conversation with each and every element or character that is present in a dream, animate or inanimate. Perls believed that when a dream analyst or a psychologist considered all these various aspects of a dream, then only the true meaning of a dream can be revealed. Such analysis would lead to a better self realization too since one is taught to take note of, feel and then recognize one’s feelins and emotions. The process naturally begins with observing and remembering the dream as minutely as possible and them narrate it and finally interact with it assuming that you are re entering the dream as you recall thereafter as you describe the details. The ultimate aim is to gather a proper insight about one’s own self.
- The Gestalt Therapy Approach:
The most important work of Perls is to establish the theory of gestalt in the light of dreams. According to Perls whatever you experience in your dreams – every character, phenomenon, object, item etc – are nothing but the projections of your own self. For example, according to Perls, when you dream about your parent, you don’t dream about your parent actually, you dream about the image or notion that you have in your mind about your parent. Or perhaps your dream is a response to a voice in your own head that bears your very own thoughts and reflections but takes the shape of the face of your parent in your dreams. It can be a voice that is judging you or is condemning you; or it could be a voice that is happy about you or is praising you. This is actually your notion of yourself that rests in your own head. This example holds good for every dream that you see, albeit each in its own context. Each person or object that you see in your dream is not necessarily the person or the object itself; it is a encapsulation of all the thoughts and ideas that go on in your mind. Consequently each dream is a projection of your own self, your emotions, feelings, ideas etc. Your dreams could also bring before you the elements that you deep within do not like about yourself. As such the dreams form a bridge between your consciousness and unconsciousness thereby helping you in the journey of better self realization. In your dream you may often attribute such undesirable characteristics on a person you know. Such unconscious projection should not be taken literally for it may then spoil your relationship with that person. In fact when you realize that all that you see in your dreams are just projections of yourself you shall be able to understand the fact that the actual people in reality may differ to a great extent from how you project them in your dreams. This for many people forms the basis of reconciliation with self and also with many other people or elements around them.
- Dreams being projection of self:
Although it may come to many people as a disturbing fact Perls strongly believed that your dream is a projection of your “self”. If you happen to experience something traumatic in your dreams it is because of the fact that such trauma exists within you somewhere deep down. Often it is human nature to disregard any dark part that constitutes him/ herself. The very fact that such negative trait can exist in one’s own self can be difficult for any person to acknowledge and accept. But these get expressed in our dreams. Some people have opined that this is a very negative way of interpreting dreams. But Perls believed it to be the very contrary for he said that when one can pinpoint any flaw within then only one can look for curative remedies. For example – if a dream analysis pin points the fact that you have traits of selfishness in you, then to counter that you shall start doing things that are unselfish and that would be your first step towards cure from a trait that you yourself do not conform to. This is when dreams and analysis thereof turns therapeutic.
|Body Parts in Dreams||Chase Dreams||Cheating Dreams|
|Common Dreams||Daydreams||Death Dreams|
|Epic Dreams||Falling Dreams||Flying Dreams|
|Lucid Dreams||Naked Dreams||Nightmares|
|Prophetic Dreams||Recurring Dreams||Snake Dreams|
|Teeth Dreams||Test Dreams|
|Dream Theories of C.G. Jung||Dream Theories of Calvin S. Hall, Jr.||Dream Theories of Frederick Perls|
|Dream Theory of Alfred Adler||Sigmund Freud’s Dream Theory|