Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dream categories

Dream researchers have discovered several distinct categories of dreams, and these dream categories can be very useful both to people attempting to interpret their own dreams and to professional psychologist and therapists striving to interpret the dreams of others.This article will discuss these categories of dreams.

1. The Daydream

While not technically a dream, since it takes place while we are awake, researchers are looking into just where the daydream fits on the spectrum of dreaming, and what it can teach us about more traditional dreams.

It is estimated that most people spend between 70 and 120 minutes each day engaged in daydreaming.Daydreaming is thought to be a level of consciousness below that of a normal waking state but above that of sleep.Daydreaming falls about midway between these two extremes.

During a daydream, we allow our imaginations to take us away from the mundane tasks of the day.As the mind is allowed to wander and conscious awareness is reduced, we can become lost in the fantasy or imaginary scenario.

2. The Lucid Dream

Lucid dreams are among the most fascinating subjects in all of dream research.Lucid dreaming takes place when the dreamer realizes that he or she is dreaming while still immersed in the dream.Lucid dreaming occurs in that moment when you tell yourself – “This is only a dream”.

The occurrence of lucid dreams varies widely from person to person, with some people reporting never having lucid dreams and others reporting almost 100% lucid dreams.

While most dreamers wake up when they realize that they are in a dream, other people are able to develop the ability to remain in the dream and take control of it.These people are able to become an active participant in their dreams, and to take the dream narrative where they want it to go.These people experience some of the most enjoyable and interesting dreams.

3.The Nightmare

Many people are troubled by frightening and disturbing dreams, commonly known as nightmares.Young children in particular often suffer from nightmares brought on by fears of monsters in their closets and under the bed, as well as other types of fear.

Of course nightmares are not confined to childhood, and many adults, particularly those who have suffered real life trauma, are particularly susceptible to nightmares.Those people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as soldiers returning from war, and rescue workers who have been through harrowing situations, report a higher incidence of nightmares than the public at large.

Many people who suffer from frequent nightmares report a history of real life problems, including psychiatric problems, problems with drugs or alcohol, or problems with family relationships. Treatment for frequent nightmares should therefore be aimed at dealing with the initial trauma or traumas that created the situation in the first place.

4. The Recurring Dream

Most people have had a recurring dream at one point in their life, a dream that repeats itself, with minor variations or even none at all.Recurring dreams can be about any subject, and they focus on that subject night after night.

Some recurring dreams are positive and uplifting, but studies show the majority of recurring dreams to be negative in nature.Dreams can recur in this manner because the real life event that triggered it has remained unresolved.Dealing with the real life trauma responsible for recurring nightmares is often the best way to banish the bad dream.

Some dreamers report experiencing narrative dreams, in which the dream picks up where it left off night after night.These dreams are somewhat rare, but the people who experience them report them to be very vivid and memorable.Keeping a dream journal can be a big help in both remembering and interpreting these kinds of dreams.

5. The Healing Dream

Healing dreams are often seen as sending a message to the dreamer regarding his or her health.Healing dreams often spur the dreamer to take a long delayed trip to the dentist or doctor.

6. The Prophetic Dream

Prophetic dreams are also known as precognitive dreams, and the people experiencing these dreams often report the ability to use them to foretell the future.Independent studies of these types of dreams are rare, and the jury remains out on whether this ability to see the future exists.

One non supernatural explanation for the prophetic dream is that the subconscious mind pieces together bits of information encountered throughout the day, then puts them together in a form that makes sense to the dreamer.

7. The Epic Dreams

Epic dreams are somewhat rare, but they are unforgettable to those who experience them.Epic dreams are so vivid, and so compelling that they simply cannot be ignored.The tiniest details of these dreams are often remembered for many years.These epic dreams may possess lots of symbols and meaning for the dreamer.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sigmund Freud Would Revolutionize

In the early part of the 19th century, dream interpretation had fallen out of fashion, and almost no one practiced this art seriously.In the early part of the century, dreams were thought to have no meaning at all, and to be simply the result of a heavy meal before bedtime, noises heard in the night and other trivial causes.

By the latter part of the 19th century, however, Sigmund Freud would revolutionize the world of dreams and dream interpretation with his radical new ideas incorporating dreams and deep seated childhood fears.

Born in 1865, Sigmund Freud revolutionized the world of psychiatry and dream interpretation with his seminal work “The Interpretation of Dreams”.Freud started to analyze the dreams of his patients, and he used this dream analysis to diagnose and treat their psychiatric ills

Freud also studied dreams as a way to understand certain aspects of the personality, especially those aspects that lead to psychological problems and disorders.Freud believed that nothing human beings did happened by chance, and that every action, no matter how small or seemingly trivial, was at some level motivated by the unconscious mind.

Of course in order for a civilized, modern society to function, certain primal needs and desires must be repressed, and Freud’s theory was that these repressed urges and desires were released by the unconscious during dream sleep.

Doctor Freud saw dreams as a direct connection to the unconscious mind, and he studied that connection through the interpretation of symbolic objects found in dreams.The theory was that with the conscious mind acts as a guard on the unconscious, preventing certain repressed feelings from coming to the surface.During sleep, however, this conscious guard is absent, and the subconscious mind is free to run wild and express its most hidden desires.

Freud was especially interested in the sexual content of dreams, and he often saw ordinary objects in dreams as representations of sexual desire.To Freud, every long, slender item encountered in a dream, from a knife to a flagpole, was a phallic image, while any receptacle such as a bowl or vase, represented the female genitalia.

Freud believed in five stages of personality, and he saw dreams as manifestations of desired stemming from each of these five stages.To Freud, personality formation consisted of:

Stage One – Oral/Dependency

Freud’s theory was that any needs not satisfied during the oral/dependency stage would cause the person to go through life trying to meet them.Thus, to Freud, habits such as overeating, drinking to much and smoking were all oral fixations.People suffering from these oral fixations often dreamed about their unmet needs and desires.

Stage Two – Anal/Potty Training

Freud held that improper potty training could traumatize a child, and cause him or her to become anal retentive, rigid and controlling.Such traumatized children often develop obsessive compulsive disorders as well.Recurring dreams of being out of control, such as dreams of falling were common in such people.

Stage Three – Phallic

According to Freud, the personality is completely developed by the time stage three rolls around.The third stage of personality is identified with the Oedipus and Electra complexes.The Oedipus complex represents the love a male child feels toward the mother, coupled with fear and jealousy of the male parent.The Electra complex is the female version of Oedipus, in which the female child feels anger toward the mother and develops “penis envy”.

Stage Four – Latency

Unlike the other stages, the latency period is a time of relative calm.During this stage, the aggression and sexual urges are less intense, and little psychosexual conflict is exhibited.

Stage Five – Genital

This is the period of sexual maturity and the creation and enhancement of life.The stage of sexual maturity is where reproduction, intellectual activity and artistic pursuits take place.

Freud believed that wish fulfillment was the source of dreams,and that dreamers used dreams as a way to satisfy the fixations they had developed during childhood.In addition, issues like power and control frequently manifested themselves in dreams.The central part of Freud’s dream theory was that thoughts and desires repressed during the day were free to run wild during the dream stage.

Since Freud’s death, many have criticized him for seeing sexual motivation behind every dream object.Many have pointed out that Freud was born into the sexually repressed Victorian era, and his preoccupation with sexual matters could have been as much a product of the times in which he lived as a valid scientific theory.Even so, many of Freud’s dream interpretations have proven valid and are still used by psychologists and dream researchers today.