Freud can be given the credit for being the first person to research on why we dream and devised scientific methods to analyze the dreams. His psychodynamic approach led to understanding the human subconscious.

According to Freud people sleep when they feel tired of receiving external stimuli sent to them by the environment and responding to them. In other words it can also be said that sleeping is a way of withdrawing from reality.

However, even in your sleep there should be a level of alertness present, so that you can respond, if any emergency situation takes place while you are asleep. You respond to external stimuli in your sleep without waking up. Also such stimuli are in constant action even when you are asleep. Some of such stimuli get manifested to dreams.

Freud believed that the human mind can be categorized into three divisions:


  1. Superego: Super ego is the virtuous part in you that always works to counter balance your primal instincts and basic urges. It is what makes you strive to behave properly and be socially appropriate and acceptable.
  2. Ego: This forms a part of your conscious mind and is highly dependent on the reality. It is what makes you please the Id without causing any problem or any long term trouble or trauma. This is what seeks to achieve a balance between your super ego and your Id. This is the root cause of the various psychodynamic features, for example, your defense mechanisms.
  3. Id: According to Freud Id represents the basic human instincts and emotions. These also include the basic drives and impulses. It seeks pleasure without wanting to bear any pain.


Now let us have a look at how these three concepts can be related to your dreams. Freud believed that when you are awake your superego is the one that controls your ego, and as a consequence of that you act in a manner that is socially accepted and is expected from you. This means that there are times when your superego suppresses your Id. But when you are asleep, your Id gets released and is manifested in the form of dreams. Freud also believed that not all your primal urges are good for your being or are acceptable. As such, the brain sieves these urges and transcribes these to various more acceptable symbols. As such, dreams are not the literal manifestation of your thoughts or ideas at most times. This is why your dreams need interpretation to find out what it actually wants to convey.

Freud also put forward the theory that dreams themselves could be categorized into two divisions:


  1. The manifest content: It is that part of your dream which you recall even after you wake up. When you narrate a dream what you describe can be labeled as the manifest content of your dream. These are often mere symbolic representations of the true meaning of your dreams and require proper interpretation to find what your dream truly wants to convey.
  2. The latent content: This represents your thoughts and emotions that get suppressed deep within and are the real message that your dreams intend to convey. These include the unconscious desires. At most times your dreams would represent these in symbolic forms. As other times these can surface themselves in your dreams. But in the latter cases it has been reported that these appear out of context and cannot be recognized, or are forgotten when you wake up.


Freud also put forward the fact that there exists a process by which the human brain can censor dreams. In other words it can also be said that Freud is the principal figure who explained how the human brain can convert manifest content to latent content. Freud coined a name for this process – “Dream Work”. According to Freud, the brain applies three different methods in this process of conversion of the content.

  1. Condensation: As is suggested by the name this is the theory that puts forward that the brain condensed two or a multiple number of latent thoughts into one manifest content or image.
  2. Displacement: This is the theory which suggests that when you dream often it so happens that your desires and emotions are displaced from the person or object actually meant in the latent content to some other person or object in the manifest content. For example – if you have weakness for a person deep within, your dream may manifest it to represent a new object of your desire like a new car or jewelry or gadget.
  3. Symbolism: Freud also put forward the theory that in dreams you experience a variety of symbolism. By this he meant to say that when you see a certain object or person or being in your dream, it does not mean that it contains the actual meaning of your dream. More often than not manifest content is found to have symbolic representation of latent content – you shall find your dream to contain stuff that are disguised in a form that is similar in some way or the other to the latent content.


  • Freud and his theory of relating dreams to sexuality: On analysis of different works of Freud it can be inferred that Freud believed that most of the human behavior, including manifestations of dreams, depends a lot upon the sexual behavior or pattern of the person concerned. Most Freudian theories can be found to be having reference to human genitals or sexuality in some way or the other. In fact he also related such fantasies and dreams to incest. When it comes to dream interpretations, Freudian ideas and theories have often been found to border around these concepts a little too much. Modern days researchers have agreed that human mind does think of sex a lot, but they have also put forward the fact that it is unrealistic to assume that most of the dreams are related to sex in some way or the other.

Dream Interpretation
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 Symbols
Alphabet Dream Symbols Animal Dream Symbols Bird Dream Symbols
Bug Dream Symbols Car Dream Symbols Character Dream Symbols
Clothing Dream Symbols Colors Dream Symbols Common Dream Symbols
Death Dream Symbols Disaster Dream Symbols Feelings Dream Symbols
Food Dream Symbols House Dream Symbols Numbers Dream Symbol
Places Dream Symbols Pregnancy Dream Symbols Relationship Dream Symbols
Travel Dream Symbols Vanity Dream Symbols Wedding Dream Symbols

Dream Theories
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