My aim is to investigate if dreams have any symbolic meaning.
“Dreams, are all forms of “wish fulfillment” — attempts by the unconscious to resolve a conflict of some sort, whether something recent or something from the recesses of the past”
– Sigmund Freud
According to Freud (1900) the main idea about this subject is that dreams perform important functions for the unconscious mind and provide valuable clues to demonstrate how the unconscious mind operates. On 24 July 1895, Freud saw a dream that became the bases of his theory. He had been troubled about a patient, Irma, who was not doing as well in treatment as he had expected. Freud accused himself for this, and was feeling guilty.
Freud dreamed that he met Irma at a party and examined her. He then saw a chemical formula for a drug that another doctor had given Irma flash before his eyes and realized that her condition was a result of a dirty syringe used by the other doctor. Freud’s guilt was therefore relieved.
In conclusion Freud understood this dream as wish-fulfillment. He wished that Irma’s condition was not his doing and the dream had fulfilled his wish by enlightening him that another doctor was at fault. However there is much evidence to refute this.
Another idea, by Jung (1967) is that a dream expresses the current condition of the dreamer mind and the purpose of dreams is to present “a spontaneous self-
portrayal, in symbolic form, of the actual situation in the unconscious”.
Jung opposed Freud’s theory that dreams intentionally disguise their meanings, instead Jung believed that dreams are a natural and direct expression of the dreamer’s current concerns. He believed we have difficulties understanding dreams when conscious because they follow to the language of our unconscious. This language involves the use of images, metaphors, and symbols (Jung, 1967).
In conclusion, Jung (1967) believes that dreams serve two functions. The first is to express content from the unconscious that the dreamer has deliberately repressed, disregarded or depreciated. The second purpose of dreams is to provide potential images of the future. This does not mean that dreams enable us to predict future, however it can help to generate prospects of the future experiences of the dreamer.
Like Jung, Alfred Adler (1870) believes that the unique lifestyle of the dreamer forms the unique image around which the models itself. Adler believes that dreams contribute to solve interpersonal problems rather than, as for Freud, to release intrapsychic tensions by means of wish-fulfillment.
The third author, Adler, concludes that dreams are one of the ways in which our imperfections are revealed to us. In order to work through our problems and to attain perfection, we must bring our dreams to our conscious mind and must interpret them correctly.