Dream Theorists: Sigmund Freud

Considered the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) revolutionized the study of dreams with his work "The Interpretation of Dreams". Freud began to analyze dreams in order to understand aspects of personality as they relate to pathology. He believed that nothing we did occurred by chance; every action and thought is motivated by our unconscious at some level. In order to live in a civilized society, we tend to hold back or urges and repress our urges and impulses. However, these urges and impulses must be released in some way and have a way of coming to the surface in disguised forms.

One way these urges and impulses are released is through our dreams. Freud understood the symbolic nature of dreams and believed they were a direct connection to our unconscious, what Freud refers to as the Id. The Id is centered on pleasure, desire, unchecked urges and wish fulfillment. During our waking hours, the desires of the Id are suppressed by the Superego, which acts as a censor for the Id. The Superego enforces the moral codes for the Ego and blocks unacceptable impulses of the Id. Because your guard is down during the dream state, your unconscious has the opportunity to act out and express the hidden desires of the Id.

Some basic components of the Freudian dream theory include the following:
1. Dreams are NOT meaningless or random events.
2. All dreams have causes, which generally come from emotionally charged life events.
3. The themes and issues that are experienced in dreams are so emotionally charged and threatening to the ego that the individual cannot deal with them directly.
4. The dream is a facade which disguises anxiety or guilt - provoking thoughts and feelings.
5. In order to understand the dream, the individual must attempt to look past the façade and discover the real issue in the dream.
6. Psychoanalytical techniques, including free association, can be used to interpret dreams.
7. The content of dreams is mostly composed of sex, aggression, wish fulfillment, and childhood memories.
8. Dream analysis is difficult because of resistance on the part of the dreamer.


At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Stacy said...

Dear Spirita, last night I dreamt about wearing silver earrings. I never wear them in my real life and I was very surprised in my dream, too. Thank you very much,

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Stacy, to dream that you are wearing earrings, suggests that you need to listen more carefully and pay attention.Your unconscious mind may be suggesting a need to become more attentive to and more aware of internal and external stimuli. To see silver in your dream, symbolizes the moon, intuition and the feminine aspects of yourself.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger becaboo06 said...

I have a dream that I cant quite get.. can you help me?

Here is the dream

My boyfriend came to my home town, but it wasnt actually my home town, Im not sure where it was, but I sat beside him and we started holding hands. Then I got up and ran to get my friend Eleni and tell her that he was there, she met him. Then I went to his house and met his mom. I found out that he had a ""daughter"" and I got close to her. Then I asked to speak to him outside and asked him how old his daughter was. He waited for a second and then said 12. I got all shocked then ran inside, He came to me and told me that he was 41. Then he showed me all these papers about him trying to tell me that he was 41 but he could never really do it. Then he called someone and said that he was going to let me go and leave me alone.. And I said no. Then I was walking around in a hospital with women who were giving birth. I got all freaked out then woke up...

My boyfriend is only 17 though.. and he doesn't have a kid.. So whats up with that ?

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Becaboo06, characters in your dreams represent unfinished communication with that person and may continue to appear in your dream until the conflict is resolved.
Places in your dream may also represent an idea or a person.

The age of characters, family, objects or yourself in a dream often carry very definite associations or information. What these associations are depends a great deal on what age you are yourself. Child in dreams refers to ones own feelings of dependence or vulnerability, perhaps even helplessness or powerlessness; but often it suggests need for love, support and care; it may even represent actual memories of your own childhood. This often refers to whatever difficulties you faced, or are facing, in the process of meeting sexual drives, adult relationships, and the need to become a motivated part of society. Thus there may be feelings of uncertainty, shyness, inexperience or idealism.
To better understand meaning of numbers in your dream check out my post Numbers in Dream

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


My name is Peter. I'll register later. Anyway, I have two reoccuring dreams.

1. I dream about my ex girlfriend all the time. At least once a week, if more. We have been broken for about 2 and a half years. I loved her very much, and continue to do so. In the dreams, she is sometimes on her knees. Once I drempt that I was laying at one of my friends houses, in the dark, on his floor (where we normally sleep). My head was on her lap and I was crying, she repeaditly said "Its ok, Its ok" and im saying im sorry. When we broke up, I did allot of stupid things. Anyway.

2. Recently I got arrested for smoking pot. Sometimes I had dreams where im smoking, everything is fine, then I remember that im on probation for a year, and freak out. Its funny because I actually feel high in the dream. If I were better at being lucid, I would just smoke in my dreams I guess...

Someone also told me that you dream after you die for some odd of mins. Im pretty sure its true, but can you verify? Also, since we would never wake up again, if dreaming dead, how long would a waking second be compared to dead dream second?

Sorry its long, but thanks.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Spirita said...

Peter, dreaming about ex-girlfriend decodes any feelings or hopes still connected with her; the ex-girlfriend often becomes a symbol for all the hopes for love that are not being satisfied at the moment, or in the present relationship.
Crying in the dream state generally has the same meaning as crying in daily life. It is a release of negative emotion, frustration, or fear.Due to repression or denial, sometimes people are unable to express their feelings. In the dream state some of our defence mechanisms may relax and an emotional release occurs. Some emotional dreams may be compensatory in nature. Thus, if you never cry in daily life, you may cry in your dreams. Your dream may be an intuitive knowledge of another leaving you, and sorrow over something you have done. Being in dark in your dream mean depressed or unhappy feelings.

Smoking in your dream represents the power of habit or anxiety in your life.

Regarding your last question about dreaming dead, no research on that particular subject has been ever done . Personally, I do not believe that is possible.

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you help me explain things seen in my dreams that becomes a reality later on. Three incident have been happened this year involving my dreams of my sightings of place or situation that I never been and later on to become reality. I have seen the uncompleted palace of the Thailand 6th king, the panoramic view in my bedroom window here
in singapore, and the latest, the scene in our gate where someone greeted me after I run croos the street infront to avoid the speeding taxi. I fully remember that I have seen those things on my dreams. Please help me explain

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Anonymous, it seems you are experiencing prophetic dreams, also referred to as precognitive or psychic dreams. This type of dreams apparently foretells the future. One rational theory to explain this phenomenon is that your dreaming mind is able to piece together bits of information and observation that you normally overlook or that you do not seriously consider. In other words, your unconscious mind knows what is coming before you consciously piece together the same information.

At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a dream about a snake. I was in a bedroom with a friend sleeping. Another friend was in the shower down the hall. I looked down the hall and saw a yellow and white snake going towards the bathroom to kill my friend. I began screaming and threw something at the snake. At that time the snake turned to attack me. I ran back to the bedroom and closed the door. I put a towel against the floor where there is a gap between the floor and door. The snake busted thru the towel. I grabbed the snakes neck from under neath. I rememeber thinking I should have grabbed the neck from above to avoid the fangs. I couldn't let go and the snakes mouth was open with saliva dripping from it's fangs. I kept sqeezing his throat...trying to keep him from biting me. Had I only grabbed his neck from above...he never would have bit me. Eventually, the fangs sank into my hand. I felt the venem curse thru my body. It didn't hurt but I think it was killing me. I then woke up. What does that mean?? I am really nervous and scared that something bad is going to happen. I've never had a dream like that.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Anonymous, don’t worry your dream is not a prediction and nothing bad is going to happen to you. Snakes are complicated dream symbols and have both positive and negative meanings. In your case, it is a positive symbol suggesting changes and self-renewal. The snakes in your dream symbolize primal energy, temptation, and evil. These are the thoughts and feelings you may be trying to suppress. In constantly suppressing your feelings, over time it will overflow to the point where you are forced to confront them.
Yellow and white snakes in your dream are a signal of a healing dream. You are obviously ready to move on toward the future and no longer want to relive the past: in other words you are ready to leave all negative energy and temptations behind.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a dream?
i had a dream of a dead actor who i love so much. he came in my dream riding two horses it was dark . in one of them he was wearing blue shirt the other i didnt see what color. he was coming toward me. i was scared. then it i was at my cousins house i was sitting looking from the window there was people three or four at the living area my mom went to shake their hand beacuse sombody was dead i dont know who even the actor went there to see.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Anonymous, sometimes dreaming about a famous actor may be a wish-fulfilling dream, or it could hold important messages about you. We admire celebrities and may wish to have some of their characteristics. Consider the personality traits or any other trait that attracts you to that person. This will help you figure out why you are dreaming about him. The dream could be pointing out some of the roles that you play in life. Among the many roles we play are parent, spouse, lover, student, professional, etc. We behave somewhat differently in each of those roles. The actor in your dreams could be showing you how well you "play" some of your roles in life or how others perceive you.
Horse as a dream symbol can represent a wide range of positive thoughts and ideas about self or others. Horses can symbolize freedom, power, and sexual energy.

At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the last 6 months I have been having dreams about a person that I have not seen in almost 10 years. We had a weird strong relationship where we were attracted to each other and hooked up a couple times, but the time was never right and we soon went our own ways. This person was very spritiual and we had alot of intense conversations. I am happily married, but keep having these dreams about this person. In the dreams we are affectionate with each other. Is it just my subconscious comming out after 10 years or is there some underlying meaning.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Spirita said...

Anonymous, to dream of a former lover, signifies unfinished/unresolved issues related to that specific relationship. Your current relationship may be awakening some of those same issues.
And it seems you know the answer already – your subconscious is just coming out after 10 years and there is no other significant underlying meaning.

At 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Spirita, i often found myself woke up with tears. This morning i had cried in my dreams again. Yesterday i dreamt that i ran away from home with a couple of old school's friend which i have not seen or make contact for for the past ten over years. But in my dreams i regret leaving with them and i started missing my dog. I started crying and my nose was blocked. That woke me up. What does that mean and why do i keep on waking up with tears in my eyes.

I also often dream of myself in a whole room filled with snakes, they are all brown and green in colour and i would really freak out in the room that i can't make a single move... What does that means too???

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Spirita said...

Anonymous, CRYING in the dream state generally has the same meaning as crying in daily life. It is a release of negative emotion, frustration, or fear. Due to repression or denial, sometimes people are unable to express their feelings. In the dream state some of our defense mechanisms may relax and an emotional release occurs.
Your home in your dream may be representing issues concerning a particular dilemma in your life, so when you are running away from your home mean you are running away from particular problem, issues or something that is bothering you.

The overall tone of your dream about snakes is that of helplessness and vulnerability. The snakes in your dream symbolize primal energy, temptation, and evil. These are the thoughts and feelings you may be trying to suppress. Your dream may be an invitation for you to explore your unconscious and not to be afraid of what there is to learn about yourself.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a 40-something divorced male.
What could this dream mean?
I was walking side-by side with a woman by the side of a road. I don't think I knew her, because I never saw her face clearly. Suddenly, we began to kiss passionately. One thing led to another, the scene suddenly shifted & we found ourselves "intertwined" in what we thought was a private & secluded place. Just then, a crowd of people, some of whom I know, came walking past. No one said a word - they just walked on by, pretending not to see. We were embarassed, to say the least & we tried, in vain, to hide what we were doing. The crowd eventually moved on, then I woke up.
This dream & its possible implications have been weighing on me the last couple of days.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Anonymous, WALKING usually depicts personal effort, making your own way at your own pace. The conditions or surroundings where you are walking suggest what you feel about that, and the situation of your personal life. Sidewalk is a safe place to be in the activities - traffic - of life. In dreams it signifies your preferences to more secure and stable choices in your life. Your relationship with female stranger is your unsought experience. It could also be your present relationship with your own feelings and intuitive self; your sensitivity and contact with you unconscious through receptivity; or how you are relating to your female partner in general. Sexual dreams usually express hidden desires; the way we would like to express sexually, or problems in this area. Your dream generally signifies hidden weaknesses and fears. You may feel that your self-confidence has been undermined. This dream also suggests of insecurities about your sexuality.

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous Natania said...

I'm 24 yrs old and I like an alterboy in my church and for the past two years, all we could do was exchange glances,sometimes our stares got really intense during mass. I know that he likes me too but we have never got a chance to approach each other. (lets just say that there are some obstacles that does not permit me to). On New Years Day I had this dream..... I dreamt that I was in church and my alterboy had become a priest! I approached the alter and he actually talked to me (we were at the alter, no one was at church except my mom), and he expressed that he wanted to know me and asked me for my number....I gave it to him! What does this mean? (In real life, I would never have given my number to him if he was a priest....)

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Natania, one of the simplest meanings a man in your dream has is that he portrays your relationship, your feelings about, or responses to, a relationship with him .The man in your dreams in nearly always an aspect of your own feelings, hopes and fears. Even if it is someone you know well, the dream image is never that person.
Your alter boy becoming a priest in your dream could represent spiritual needs, your conscience, a desire to be moral and worthy, inner guidance, or your higher self. This dream could be comforting if it reassures you that there is safety and strength in spiritual forces. But your dream could also uncover your sense of sin and guilt due to affection you already know is not appropriate.

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost weekly I have dreams about my dogs. I'm always protecting them in some way from other animals or people. My younger dog always gets hurt badly, but I always wake up before I know if i'm able to save her.
1. she was wraped in plastic bags when i entered the room.
2. She was attacked outside by a racoon looking animal.
3. she was stabed with a hook by a poacher.

I have always had pleasant or understandable dreams, until my husband was deployed. Now I have these dreams that just scare me. Please help

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Spirita said...

Karen, dogs in dreams could symbolize a large variety of ideas and concepts, but mostly they are symbolic of yours defensive structure and may represent personal boundary issues. First, if you have dogs, it may be natural to dream about them. We become emotionally attached to our dogs and we dream about them just as we dream about anything else that is important to us.
The dog is generally thought of as a male creature, quite different to the femininity of cats. It thus stands for male sexuality and adventurousness or aggressiveness. On the metaphysical level, dogs are considered to be the guardians of the underworld.
Generally speaking, I think your unpleasant dreams are nothing more than a direct result of your daily anxieties and stress.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous dreamer7 said...

I enjoy your blog & I find it fascinating. I think I've learned something about myself from it. You might be hearing a lot more from me in the near future.
The following dream theme was very common for me while I was going through a divorce. But now it occurs much less frequently.
The scene & the circumstances were different each time. But I was with my estranged (now ex-) wife & we were the happy & loving couple that we once were in waking life. Or at least, we were on friendly terms. Sometimes, but not every time, we would become sexually intimate or we'd prepare to do so. Other times, I'd wake up before it was consumated.
My current relationship with my ex-wife, while not overly friendly, is usually civil. Can it be that I still have feelings for her? Or that I simply desire more normal relations with her?

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Spirita said...

Dreamer7, thanks for your interest and the compliment. It is very common for people to dream about ex-partners. Individuals that have been an important part of our lives continue to take up a part of our mind and heart. It is impossible to very radically shut the person out of thoughts and feelings. Just because the relationship ends does not mean that all is finished. As we go through relationships we learn and at times pick up "battle wounds." You will continue to dream about your ex-wife until you "let go" of her on a very significant level, or until you learned your lessons from that relationship. Either way, dreaming about your ex-wife does not predict future involvement. It may be wish-fulfillment, reliving memories, or working out old issues.
Also it’s important to stress, if you are currently experiencing sadness, dreams about your ex-wife may be an attempt to compensate and to comfort you.


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