Freud Dreamwork Essay Research Paper freud dreamwork

Freud Dreamwork Essay, Research Paper freud dreamwork By: leo 1 INTRODUCTION Although Jung was a pupil of Freud, and one would think they shared the same idea about the interpretation of dreams, that is not exactly true. Freud proposed the notorious idea that dreams are a reflextion of subconsciousness, but Jung expanded on Freud and added another dimension to this relation.

Freud Dreamwork Essay, Research Paper

freud dreamwork

By: leo

1 INTRODUCTION Although Jung was a pupil of Freud, and one would think they shared the same idea about the interpretation of dreams, that is not exactly true. Freud proposed the notorious idea that dreams are a reflextion of subconsciousness, but Jung expanded on Freud and added another dimension to this relation. In Jung’s view, dreams not only lead to personal subconsciousness, but also to collective unconsciousness. This paper attempts to present the two theories of dreams and stress the unique qualities in each of them. I believe the reader will excuse a ‘clinical’ tone of paper, knowing that originally this text was written as school assignment. In 1995, I wrote this paper under the guidance of Branka Bajgoric, who was my psychology teacher in the high school I attended. I omitted the technical part of the paper: identifying problem and developing the thesis. I also did not include a part in which I discussed the implications of becoming lucid in dream on the interpretation. Not that it would be inappropriate, but I think that subject is so broad that it demands a separate paper in order to sufficiently cover it. I think that nowadays, where there are so much alternative (occult) explanations of dreams available, we often forget about the old thinkers. What is even worse, we tend to think they are out of date or irrelevant in this rush of global spiritual evolution. However, I find the following two scientists, and Jung particularly, extremely contemporary. I hope the following paper will attract some of reader’s interest to further study the rich work of both, should I say “big men”? Ljubljana, July 1998 2 THEORETICAL INTRODUCTION 2.1 FREUD’S PSYCHOANALYTIC INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS With his psycho-analysis, Sigmund Freud opened the door for dreams to become a subject of scientifical research. He became interested in dreams when dealing with his patients because they were telling dreams spontaneously. He soon systematically included interpretation of dreams in psycho-analysis right beside hypnosis and free association. In the end of 19th century he eventually researched the mechanism of dreaming. The analysis of dreams is indispensable tool in therapy for each psychoanalyst since then, and for Freud, dreams are even the key to theoretical understanding of subconscious. He explained also dreams of people, who did not suffer from mental illness, in psychoanalitic way and so he was changing his psychotherapy in theory in the very beginning. 2.1.1 A desire to sleep When we become tired of receiving of and responding to stimuli from environment we try to fall asleep. The main characteristic of psychical state of a sleeper is therefore a withdrawal from reality and cessation of taking all interests in it. We try to fall asleep by disconnecting from all sources of external stimuli. We lay down in a silent, dark room and cover our body to keep it comfortably warm and so minimize input from environment. Of course, an absolute withdrawal in which we would stop to perceive environment is not possible. In other words, the sleeper does not have a ’switch’ to switch off at the time of sleeping and switch on back, when the time for awakening comes. After all, if such absolute withdrawal was possible to achieve, the sleeper would risk not to wake up again, since more and more strong stimuli in the morning are exactly what wakes up the sleeper. These stimuli disturb us also during the sleep, and our mentality is forced to respond to them – with dreams. Disturbing stimuli can be either external or internal. External stimuli come from environment and from inside of our physical body. Their task is to warn of imbalance in the body (e.g. full bladder, thirst) or else they contain information about disturbances in environment (e.g. low room temperature, noise). There are lot of evidences how dreams maintain sleep in such cases. For Freud though, the external stimuli are important only to the extent that suggest analogous existance of more important, psychical pressure on sleeper: an internal stimulus. This internal stimulation emerges either because of the continuation of our diurnal mental activity or pressure of our unsatisfied instinctive aspirations. The latter are in psychotherapy very important, because they can express those conflicts, which are the cause for mental disease. The possibility that such disturbance occures during the sleep lies in relation between conscious ego and unconscious id1. Suppressed aspirations of id do not conform to ego’s desire to sleep and thus gain certain independancy. These unsatisfied aspirations fight their way through conscious ego in a dream, which is unlikely to happen during the day. The dreams are therefore above all psychological and not somatic phenomenon. If it was that simple, we would be able to reveal the meaning of dreams with ease. In truth, this process is much more complicated. Conscious ego never gives up completely. Under the influence of superego, it transforms and hides id’s aspirations, because the task of dream is to maintain sleep and protect the sleeper from being disturbed. The effort to hide inadmissible instinctive aspirations forms manifest and latent content of dream. 2.1.2 Manifest and latent content The manifest content of dream is the content which the dreamer remembers and relates. Behind this content there is usually hidden the latent content of dream as “the dream we remember [sic] is not exactly the right thing, but rather a deformed substitute for dream.” (Freud 1977: 116) I say usually, because we also know dreams in which latent content matches with manifest content. Such kind of dreams are often experienced by little children as a result of not yet developed ego and superego, which would transform unsatisfied instinctive aspirations. However, this type of dreams occur to grown-ups in certain circumstances as well and Freud called them infantile dreams. In the process of interpretation of dreams, the therapist translates manifest content in latent content using special technique. It is exactly the opposite process of that when dream arises: we need to discover initial internal stimulus. The therapist directs patient at particular elements of dream, which are unknown to him, to discover residua of the day.2 In connection with residua of the day and other patient’s associations regarding manifest content (which are determined), the therapist gradually completes his/her suggestions and discovers the latent content of dream. There are some problems with this though. The manifest content is more or less confined to visual answer on internal stimulus and can thus be quite distant and difficult to connect with latent motive. It is also common that parts of dream are missing and patient cannot or does not want to remember them. This is the work of so called resistance, which serves the same purpose as ego in the rise of dream; it just does not allow morally inadmissible instinctive aspirations to become conscious. The more patient’s associations needed to discover latent content of dream, the greater resistance. The blanks in recall of dream are as a rule latent content itself or without exception they prove to be crucial for discovering it. With the analysis of dreams it is usually possible to overcome the resistance, which also means we are well on the way towards healing or removal of conflict (e.g. hysteria, nevrosis). The same resistance can occur when the therapist explains the latent content to the patient. The presentation of latent motives “seems alarming rather than pleasant, and the acknowledgement of them, even as mere dream-wishes, is not entirely easy.” (Watkins 1997) In this case, the patient will not accept the interpretation, deny it as nonsense or will even become aggressive toward the therapist. In Freud’s opinion, this reaction can be regarded as a direct hit: “the resistance is a certain sign for conflict; something resists what wants to be expressed.” (Bras 1977: 196). In what follows we will try to understand the nature and role of this process. Special psychical instance, which causes the difference between manifest and latent content Freud called the censorship of dreams. 2.1.3 The censorship of dream It is obvious from relation between latent motive and manifest realization of dream that initial internal stimulus undergoes a lot of changes until it realizes as dream. Some parts of latent content appear differently, or not at all, in the manifest content. This transformation is a result of the censorship, which deforms dreams because of scandalous wishes3 that arise when we sleep. The censorship is therefore “a quite systematic process of disguise and distortion of things, which are painful or otherwise unacceptable to the dreamer.” (Watkins 1997) Throughout the life and especially with upbringing, we inherit social norms, beliefs, habits and patterns of behaviour typical for our culture, which are not in conformity with primary instinctive needs. If we do not succeed in satisfying these needs in one way or the other, we suppress them deep in subconsciousness; a process that is called repression. In dreams, when relation between ego, superego and id becomes loose, these repressed wishes arise as internal stimuli. Dreams are not only an answer to them, but also a way of satisfaction of these wishes. Infantile dreams are especially suitable for observing this as manifest and latent content are identical. Those wishes, which have not been satisfied during the day are fulfiled in dreams. This seem logical if we concider the fact that dreams care for peacful sleep. The internal stimulus is in this case unsatisfied wish on which our mentality answers with hallucinatory fulfilment if the wish is admissible. Hence the dream can be called a wish-fulfilment. When these wishes are not in conformity with superego, the task of censorship is to preserve ethically and esthetically clean ego. In some cases the wishes are too intense and the censorship cannot just transform them. Then we experience a feeling of anguish, which is a sign that suppressed wish proved to be stronger than the censorship. In consequence, this uneasyness wakes up the dreamer before suppressed wish is fulfilled – something which is in contrast with the censorship. In this case the dream did not manage to complete its task but its purpose did not change thereby either. “Even a watchman needs to wake up the sleeping, that is when he feels too weak to remove disturbance or danger alone.” (Freud 1977: 212). The censorship, however, is not a precisly fixed centre in brains, it is rather a “term for some dynamic realtionship” (Freud 1977: 141) between answering on internal stimulus and admissibility of this stimulus for superego. When such suppressed wish is strong enough, the censorship takes care of leaving out, modification, and shift of material and so forms manifest content of dream. The resistance of dream interpretation is also a result of censorship, which task is to preserve deformed dreams even when the dreamer already wakes up. The understanding of how the censorship works is essential for dream interpretation. We can only discover latent content of dream when concidering the work of censorship. The censorship is that code without which translation of manifest content would not be possible. It is not the only one though. Freud’s dream symbols are a great help. 2.1.4 Dream symbolism Freud derived dream symbols from the resistance of dream interpretation. He noticed that resistance regularly occurred with certain elements of dreams even in dreams of mentally healthy people. He claimed that formation of visual answer on stimulus (dream) is not coincidental. He figured out that some parts of manifest content typically correspond with certain latent content. Freud called these manifest elements symbols – to which he ascribed constant meaning. The dream symbols are in his opinion more or less sexual. Number three has in dreams symbolic meaning of man’s sexual organ. All dream ideas which consist of three parts can mean the man’s sexual organ. Phallus is symbolically substituted with all things that are similar to it by their form, namely long things that jut out: mountains, rocks, sticks, umbrellas, poles, trees?Then objects for which the penetration in the body and harming is characteristic – weapons: knifes, daggers, lances, sabres, swords… and fire arms: guns, rifles, revolvers, cannons?Obviously, the phallus is also substituted with objects from which water runs: pipes, watering-pots, fountains?and with objects that can be lenghtened: hanging lights, extensible pens, aerials?Baloons, airplanes, helicopters, rockets, etc. are symbols of erection. Less evident male sexual symbols are reptiles and fish, especially a symbol of snake. A hat and a coat as well as various machines and appliances have the same meaning. Female genitalia are symbolically represented with hollow objects that can contain things: shafts, pits and caves, vessels and bottles, boxes, suitcases, tins, pockets, closets, stoves, ships?The same holds for house with entrances, passages and doors, churches, chapels, castles, mansions, fortresses and even landscape itself. The material such as wood and paper as well as objects made of them: a table, a book?symbolize the same. Typical female symbols among animals are snails and mussels and their shells. Apples, peaches and fruits in general symbolize breasts. All kind of playing (playing instruments also), sliding, slipping and breaking branches are symbols of masturbation. The teeth falling out and extraction of them are symbols of castration as a punishment for masturbating (castration’s complex). Various rhytmical activities such as dance, riding, raising and threatening with weapon symbolize sexual intercourse itself. Typical activities that symbolize sexual intercourse are also climbing and going down the ladder or stairs and running inside a house. The queen and king or empress and emperor and similar relations symbolize parents. The fall into water or raising out of it symbolizes birth. Many dreams which seemed puzzling before, become more clear when concidering Freud’s symbols and the censorship of dream. Although dream symbols allow for direct interpretation of dreams, we must never do that without previous knowledge of patient’s psychological background. The dream can be understood, Freud held, only in light of the dreamer’s associations to it.4 After telling the dream, the therapist has to ask the patient to engage in free associations stimulated by certain element of the dream. When following the spontaneous flow of thoughts and feelings, the patient is asked to describe it as fully as possible. The patient, however, has to consider an agreement that s/he will tell every idea without trying to censor or control it in any way. We tell the patient “a rule that must not be broken: when telling [dreams] s/he must not leave out any idea even if s/he gets one of four objections: that idea is irrelevant, too senseless, that is not connected with the issue or is too embarrassing.” (Freud 1977: 117) Only such a rule will ensure efficient relationship between the dream teller and dream interpreter. 2.2 JUNG’S ANALYTICAL INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS Carl Gustav Jung is a scientist, who assigned more importance to dreams and dream work as perhaps no other of his colleagues. His father studied theology due to financial problems,5 which is why he later began to have doubts as to whether the knowledge he was passing on to others was true or not. Therefore the father influenced on his young son Carl so that he soon started to deal with metaphysical questions. In his writing Jung showed the close parallels between ancient myths and dreams. Jung explained the relationship between the unconscious and conscious in his original way and proposed the now well-known idea of collective unconscious. “Ultimately Jung believed that by understanding how one’s personal unconscious integrates with the collective unconscious, a person can achieve a state of individuation, or wholeness of self.” (Vered 1997) Much like Freud, Jung also emphasised the importance of interpretation of dreams in therapy. The most significant dream is that from the night before a patient visit the therapist. This dream is so called initial dream. 2.2.1 Initial dream The interpretation of initial dream is so important because there is a good chance that the main problem of patient will be discovered right at the beginning of therapy. Jung, too, claimed that dreams are psychic phenomenon and that they can mirror central conflict of dreamer. All dreams at certain point in our life, Jung held, “reflect our life situation until we seriously start to concern ourselves with it, that is, so long as we do not draw back completely or remove it.” (Bras 1977: 206) We all know how concerns, problems or excitement can occupy our mind just before we fall asleep. For instance, as we may put it, a boy who is going on a trip tomorrow, will hardly think of anything else because of his excitement. It is also very likely that once he manages to fall asleep, his dreams will contain elements of the trip he is about to have when he will wake up. It is not easy to decide to visit the therapist. The state of alert mind, which is caused by the importance of the event, can produce a strong impulse for the manifestation of patient’s conflict in dreams. Furthermore, such dreams usually contain a prognosis: ways of resolving the conflict, possible troubles and even final result. Jung claimed, that all dreams in certain time frame express most important internal process of person, namely some conflict or complex, even when there is no obvious interconnection between respective dreams. All dreams will be pointing at conflict that the dreamer should become conscious of, and remove it. This of course does not mean that each and every dream reflects conflicting psychic state, nor that people who do not remember dreams do not have any conflicts. Special importance must be put on repeating dreams, which as a rule deal with the same conflict but from different points of view. A series of dreams actually indicates more complex conflict; “dreams show that we rightly hesitate in some situation, or we cannot avoid it, and they always point in same direction ?at same solution.” (Bras 1977: 206). Jung is of the opinion that precise dream record is a basis and a minimum for every dream interpretation. The patient must not leave out, beautify or in any other way deform dream material. Only such material is the real text of subconsciousness. S/he must also tell as many details according to certain dream element as possible (what, who, where, when, why, how?. The therapist’s task then, is to carefully write down all these details as they suggest the direction of main dream flow. In case that patient does not remember some part of dream, s/he will be asked to use imagination. The ideas that patient tells are psychotic fantasies, which are coming directly from the subconsciousness and move around the central problem. Even when the therapist gathered and processed dream material, s/he cannot know the meaning of dream. It is impossible to adequately explain a dream without patient’s cooperation and being acquainted with patient’s life situation (e.g. social status, buisness worries, economic and marital status, social aspirations, inteligence?. The therapist begins interpretation with easier and more evident parts of dream. With patient’s help, s/he then moves further on more difficult and complicated parts. It is important to notice the sequence of dream events, since they are interconnected, and hence the relation between them reveals the meaning of dream. Jung discovered that a course of events in dreams is similar to that in a stage play. 2.2.2 Dramatic structure of dreams The majority of dreams are composed of four parts or phases, pretty much like in drama. Firstly, we need to figure out the scene and time of dream as well as dramatis personae. In first phase, which can be regarded as the exposition, the initial situation (setting) is represented ?already pointing at central conflict expressed in dream. The second phase is the plot and contains something new (essential change), which leads the dream in the third phase: the culmination. In this phase the most critical things happen, which bring the dream to a closure: the fourth phase or denouement. Jung attributed extraordinary significance to the end of dream. The end of dream is so important, Jung held, because we cannot consciously influence on the outcome (i.e. change the end), and dreams so reflect the real situation. “Nature is often obscure or impenetrable, but she is not, like man, deceitful. We must therefore take it that the dream is just what it pretends to be, neither more nor less. If it shows something in a negative light, there is no reason for assuming that it is meant positively.”6 According to the end of dream, he discriminated between favourable and unfavourable dreams. If we were to reverse the well-known proverb, then for dreams we may say that a good end makes a good beginning. Favourable dreams have quieting effect and direct us to the most constructive ways of solving problems. On the contrary, unfavourable dreams contain a warning of, perhaps life important, negative changes. Hence dreams can be said to have a prospective function; they warn us about bright or dark future. Favourable or unfavourable end of dream, however, must not be taken as a final and absolute meaning of dream. This can be done only after several interconnected dreams. 2.2.3 Archetypes Dreams are also an expression of collective generic experiences, which refer to basic life problems and manifest in terms of symbols and myths ?thoughts and memories shared by all humanity. The interpreter of dreams must therefore be familiar with various myths, religions, cults, rituals and fairy tales in order to fully understand the meaning of dreams. These mythological motifs, which can be found in dreams, Jung called archetypes. Archetypes or primordal images are “specific forms and pictorial relationships, which did not only consistently appear in all ages and in all latitudes, but also appear in individual dreams, fantasies, visions and ideas.” (Jung 1978: 396) This observation led Jung to think that there exists collective unconsciousness ?the sum of all experiences that human race acquired in its phylogenetic development. The access to collective unconsciousness is particularly easy, when a person has to take an important decision or is in life situation, crucial for his/her personal growth. S/he gets a suggestion from the collective