And here I had a dream ... "
Dreams are one of the most mysterious and intriguing psychological phenomena: during sleep our brain at some point moves to a state very similar to the state of consciousness during notes, producing a plethora of impressions, stories and occurrences that we tend to remember as dreams. Researchers from different fields have suggested that dreaming has different cognitive and emotional roles: for example, dreams allow us to process information and stimuli that have been absorbed into our minds during the day and sometimes even allow us to practice skills or actions we try to learn on a daily basis. Some studies suggest that dreams allow us to process traumatic events and deal with them in new and different ways.
One of the key approaches to understanding dreams focuses on the emotional aspects of the dream. This approach has already been proposed by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and was significantly developed by his successors. Beyond the different approaches of dream interpretation that offer different approaches, this perception assumes that during sleep our control over ourselves and our consciousness loosens, so that less conscious areas of our psyche are manifested. Thus, dreams reveal conflicts, impulses, feelings and wishes that we are not always aware of.
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Dreams come back
Many people report recurring dreams that accompany them over extended periods, sometimes even over many years. In some cases recurring dreams will repeat themselves accurately and in other cases the same recurring dreams will appear similar but different variations. For example, many people describe recurring and similar dreams about natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis) which in some cases end in devastating consequences, while in other cases the dreamer and his loved ones are saved.
How to understand these recurring dreams?
If we assume that the dream expresses unconscious psychic contents, then the appearance of recurring dreams means that our psyche is preoccupied with a particular psychic content which awaits processing and reference. When a dream appears on a one-time basis and we try to find out its meaning, we often recognize how it is affected by contemporary emotional experiences and impressions. Recurring dreams, on the other hand, usually indicate that our psyche is trying to draw our attention to unprocessed content, emotion, or experience that is present in our lives but not being adequately processed.
A common example is the example of "naked dreams": dreams in which we find ourselves naked, frightened and ashamed in the middle of a street or social event. These dreams are often related to experiences or fears of exposing aspects that we feel less comfortable with. Accordingly, recurring dreams of nudity may indicate high vulnerability or sensitivity around issues of failure and damage to self-image. Another common example is, as mentioned, the example of recurring dreams of natural disasters, often associated with a general feeling of vulnerability and distrust in interpersonal relationships. Recurring dreams of this kind may indicate that even if we maintain positive and meaningful interpersonal relationships, beneath the surface there are fears and mistrust of other human beings.
Deciphering recurring dreams
Understanding that recurring dreams express engagement with unconscious content is a first, but not last, step in deciphering those recurring dreams. As we all know, dreams often involve blurry situations and characters: "He had my dad's mustache but he did not look like him ...", "I was in a kind of strange building, it looked like a hotel but the feeling was that we were in some military base", " I do not know what we did there, maybe we were looking for something? Or were we actually on our way to some picnic? ".
Freud was the first to suggest that our mental defense system prevents the unconscious contents from being expressed in a dream directly, since their direct expression would cause too much panic and impair sleep, which is essential to our functioning. Accordingly, Freud suggested that the unconscious contents that occupy us are disguised by symbols (e.g., a cave whose disguised meaning is a vagina), condensation (mixing between different figures), inter-figure placement (e.g., a dream about a quarrel with the boss representing a quarrel with the father) and camouflage mechanisms More. To discover the hidden behind these camouflages, Freud argued that one should look at the spontaneous associations that arise in response to the various components of the dream.
According to this view, deciphering recurring dreams involves looking at the dream from several perspectives:
Exposing Symbols: Identifying the symbolic meaning that different elements have in a dream. At this point disagreements are made so that some approaches believe in the existence of universal meanings for symbols (e.g., a snake will always symbolize the loss of the male sex), while other approaches argue that the personal meaning of the symbol for the specific dreamer is most relevant.
Personal associations: Observing the personal associations - the memories, feelings, impressions and feelings - that arise in response to the various aspects of the dream, and understanding the meaning of the dream for the specific dreamer.
Timing of the dream appearance: Anchoring the dream appearance in the current circumstances of the dreamer's life, and trying to understand why the dream appeared just now. For example, dreaming of infidelity with a spouse can have a very different meaning when he or she appears a moment before the wedding or a moment after a serious quarrel.
The pattern of the appearance of the dream over time: In the case of recurring dreams, it is worth trying and identifying whether there is a regular pattern that characterizes the appearance of recurring dreams. For example, do recurring dreams of falling off a cliff always appear before new beginnings accompanied by new challenges, or rather just when couple relationships become more intimate and serious?
That is, solving recurring dreams is a process which is aimed at “dubbing” the unconscious area in our psyche, which calls us to processing and relating.
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