According to Jung, there is no one way of dream interpretation. Outcome of dream interpretation depends largely upon the personal context. However, he put forward various theories that can help a person identify the innate messages of a dream.
- Level of Ego – This refers to the sense of self identity.
- Emotions that lead to Personal Unconsciousness – This refers to the experiences of which you were once fully conscious of but have now forgotten or have become regressed. These are complexes that build up hang ups and other similar emotions that are not too pressing on our mind.
- Emotions that are Collective Unconsciousness – This refers to the deepest levels of emotions and also includes the way that one’s mind is tuned to think or act. These result from repeated experiences more often than not.
- The various archetypes that get emphasized
Among the several archetypes that dreams can belong to, Jung emphasized on five –
- The Mask or The Persona – Here you can take various roles in life.
- The Anima – This is a passive and more accepting approach to life.
- The Animus – This is the more assertive approach to life.
- The Shadow – This deals with one’s innate instincts.
- The Self – The concept that dreams try to bridge the various fragments within thereby giving one a feeling of completeness and harmony.
- Big Dreams, Little Dreams and other types of Dreams:
o Big Dreams – These dreams are described by dream specialists and psychologists to be those dreams that are vivid ones and the memories of which linger even after you wake up from your sleep. Jung opined that Big Dreams are those that leave behind a deep emotional impact.
o Little Dreams – These are dreams that most people do not remember much when they wake up. Or perhaps you can remember it in fragments, but you feel that there is no coherent meaning to what you have seen. At times, we often brush off such dreams to be manifestations of stress and anxiety. These do not often make to dream journals. However if you made efforts to recollect what your dream tried to convey, more often than not, you shall be able to establish a pattern or message in your dream. There are so many things that you do in your waking life. Yet there are only a few that leave in your mind indelible impressions. Some of these impressions remain hidden in some crack of your mind, and these get manifested as Little Dreams. Little Dreams are often those that get labeled as Meaningless Dreams. This is because of the fact that these dreams convey messages that you are unconscious of. However, since the factor that caused the dream left some mark in your mind these Little Dreams do have symbolic significance.
Apart from these dreams, Jung also put forward some more varieties into which dreams could be classified –
o Traumatic Dreams – These are nightmares that are generally triggered by either experiencing or witnessing any terrorizing event that can cause imbalance in mental equilibrium.
o Prospective or Anticipatory Dreams – These are manifestations that occur when the unconscious mind anticipates a future happening.
o Extrasensory Dreams – Also known as Precognition, these are dreams that cannot be explained through the human senses, but provide premonition about a happening or a place or an experience.
o Prophetic Dreams – These are dreams that provide information about events before they actually happen.
- Methods put forward by Jung for Dream Interpretation:
- Active imagination: This is the method of meditative nature by which the messages of the unconscious mind that a dream brings forth are bridged with the happenings that the conscious mind experiences.
- Amplification: This method of dream analysis brings out the innate meanings of the various symbols that are seen in the dreams. It is the method of unfolding the deepest meanings of the various images that are seen in the dreams and relating them in the context of real life.
- Dream series: This is a study a series of many dreams of various kinds and finding a pattern in them.
- Criticisms of Jung’s Dream Theories:
Certain researchers have put forward certain flaws in the theories and interpretations of dreams as formulated by Jung –
o Content of dreams are more consistent in nature in real life than was put forward by Jung.
o The compensatory function of dreams as believed by Jung finds no systematic evidence. In fact most researchers have found continuity of dreams in waking life.
o There exists no evidence to prove that that the dreams one sees are metaphorical realizations of what takes place in waking life. This point is a pure assumption that is believed by Jung and as well as many other renowned psychoanalysts
o Jung’s theory of interpretation of dreams are based on the principal idea that what one experiences individually are archetypes of or typical to the experiences one has had either in the awakened stage or that which the unconscious mind has recorded. Some researchers have opined that this concept overlooks the various notions that one gathers from one’s socio religious or cultural beliefs.
o Jung’s dream theories do not take into consideration the concept that is termed as lucid dreams by modern day researchers where the person is very much aware even while in the state of dream and as such the outcome of such a dream is often controlled.
o Lucid dreams challenge the spontaneity and autonomous characters that Jung attached to dreams.
- Inference that can be drawn from Jung’s Dream Theories:
From the above discussions it can be concluded that according to Jung, the origin of a person’s dream lies in the unconscious. Dreams according to him are naturally occurring phenomena which are very spontaneous. These then at times autonomously creep in to the conscious mind. For example – you cannot determine a dream and what you shall experience in it. Since dream bridges conscious with the unconscious, these lead to a better self awareness.
|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|