Writing an Essay on a Psychoanalytic Interpretation of a Dream
Choose ONE of the following two essays
1. A psychoanalytic interpretation of my dream
From the beginning of the year you should have kept a dream diary beside your bed. Every time you wake up from sleep you should attempt to remember any dreams that you might have had and then jot them down immediately in your dream diary. It is important that you jot them down immediately as dreams are quickly forgotten and placed back into the unconscious. By the time you come to write this essay you should have a store of dreams to choose from!
As in any essay you do for Psychosocial Studies, you normally start with an introduction. The introduction should tell the reader what the essay is about, clearly outlining the general content.
Main body of the essay
- This 1st section is. Within this section you should describe Freud’s theories of dreams and how and why he set about analysing them. What important concepts did Freud use to develop his theory of dreams? (Don’t forget to include references).
- The 2nd part of this main body is the Manifest Content which is where you will describe the dream relating it to relevant academic sources and analyse it.
- The3rd part of the main body is the Latent Content where you should analyse and interpret your dream, drawing out the. You should utilise some of Freud’s concepts; such as: condensation, displacement, the compulsion to repeat, and wish fulfilment etc (don’t forget to include references). This section should also relate the dream to relevant personal history and present circumstances.
- Freud suggested that many dreams include material related to the present (that is, experiences which you have had the previous few days). More importantly, Freud suggested that dreams are related to early childhood experiences. Thus you may want to briefly discuss any experiences that you have had which may be related to the dream. In this section you may want to evaluate the use of psychoanalytic tools to interpret your dream. How do they help to obtain further insights into one’s psychological make up? (Don’t forget to include references).
As all essays require an introduction, they also require a conclusion. Briefly summarise the essay and draw out the important points.
2. Fighting with an Owl over berries in my Dream- The description of my dream
Dreamt that we were in a forest to search for berries that usually fell on the ground. Myself and my friends started looking for these berries and was picking them from under som leaves that have covered them up.
All of a sudden we saw this owl coming down and my other friends, I can’t remember how many were they, ran away as soon as they saw the owl and left a guy and myself at the back because we were at the end of the exit of the forest whilst they were close to it.
This owl came fighting my male friend over a big berry and the guy knocked the owl away. The owl came back furiously and clutched the guy from his clothes and flew away with him up the sky. And I began crying and screaming for help.
I started running towards the exit of the forest and I saw the owl chasing me. The owl tried several time to come prey on me and each time it comes, I will knock him off and he will fly away in the sky but will come back energized. He followed me in different places as I was trying to hide away and will try to cling me again and I will give it a very heavy punch hoping it will die but no he will suddenly surface again.
After unleashing a very serious punch on it, it flew away and disappeared for like 2 minutes and appeared again fighting with a fowl over some fruits. As I was walking in between blocks to go to my house which was similar to the military quarters I used to lived 25 years ago, I saw this same owl fighting this fowl and the moment I noticed it was the same owl, I flew straight into the roof of a building and hid myself.
The owl came again towards that roof and each time it comes I will know it off. The owl came like 3 times and I will continuously punched it away but on the fourth time when it came back, it flew and stop right at the place I was laying on top of the roof and we began to gaze at each other. As soon as a set another fist to punch it away, I now woke up. What a night it was.
In my dream there are key features and activities I will like to expound on critically to help me interpret the dream and these are:
- The berries
- The forest
- The owl
- The fowl
- The act of picking from the ground
- The act of pick fruits in a very deep forest
- The act of flying
- The act of being chased by an owl
- The fighting between the owl and the fowl
- Living in a place that I once lived 25 years ago
- Friends abandoning you living you in danger
- Loosing a friend by a mere bird.
- Hiding in the top of a roof
- Punching as my weapon.
Writing an Essay on a Psychoanalytic Interpretation of a Dream
Dreams can be referred to as series of images, emotions and ideas which comes come to the mind when a person as his/her dream involuntarily. A person might have a dream whiles sleeping but in certain stages (Sharpe 2018). The purpose and content of dream often are not fully comprehended because there lies great ambiguity what the mind perceives and gets manifested in the form of dream while someone is sleeping. There have been several attempts made by psychologists t understand what dreams signify through psychological, philosophical and scientific understanding. It is intended to understand the message which lies within or gets manifested. Sigmund Freud who is often considered to be the father of psychology and the founder of psychoanalysis tried to interpret dream by developing techniques of therapy. In this essay, the interpretation of a dream will be conducted with the help of Freudian concepts of Psychoanalytic and one of his most insightful works ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’.
Dreams have always fascinated philosophers and psychologists alike since time immemorial whereas, the study of dreams which were based on empirical research started taking place much later. The person who provided the foundation to, can be said, is Freud. According to him, Dreams are the result of two processes which takes place in the mind. The first one cam be categorized as the forces which are unconscious and is almost like a wish in the mind which is expressed in the form of a dream. Whereas, the second can be refinement which the dream possesses as a result of which the dream gets distorted. In Freud’s words, dreams are manifestations of desires. In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud exclaimed it to be a manifestation which is like a wish fulfilment.
He asserted the fact that dreams could be interpreted by analysts and further be differentiated into the latent content and the manifest content. The manifest content is the narrative part of the dream which is remembered by the person dreaming. Whereas, the latent content is referred to as the meaning it symbolizes or signifies (Freud 2019). When a person is sleeping, the unconscious part of the mind condenses to take shape in the form of content in a dream. These representations which a person has while dreaming is often unrecognizable by the person after waking up from sleep (Civitarese 2018). Freud claimed that dreams have connection to past experiences and the life of the person dreaming. There are few sources of the dream which include experiences felt mentally which are directly represented, many discreet experiences accumulating a shape to dorm a single dream, one recent experience which gets represented differently or a memory which is represented in a dream through a representation with a different impression which recalls the memory.
Importance of Keeping a Dream Diary
A dream which I recently had was about a fight with an owl about berries. I dreamt that we were in a forest to search for berries that usually fell on the ground from the trees and we intended to collect them. Me and my friends started looking for these berries and were picking them from under some leaves which had covered them up. All of a sudden, it came to my notice that an owl came down flying at me and my other friends. I can no longer remember how many were there at that point of time as they ran away as soon as they saw the owl. There only was a guy and myself at the back who could not run away because we were at the end of the forest whilst they were close to the exit. This owl came down flying and tried to attack my male friend over a big berry which we had collected while the guy knocked the owl away. The owl came back furiously and clutched the guy with his clothes and flew away with him, high up to the sky. And I left feeling scared and helpless, crying and screaming for some to come and help us in this situation. I started running towards the exit of the forest while I realize that the owl was now chasing me. The owl tried several times to come prey on me and every time it came, I would knock it off. He would then fly away in the sky but soon come back energized. He followed me in all different places as I was trying desperately to hide away. Whereas, it will still try to cling on to me despite all my attempts. I finally gave it a very heavy punch hoping that it will die but, to my surprise, it springs back again to the surface. After unleashing a very serious punch on it, it flew away and disappeared for 2 minutes straight when I felt a bit relieved but it appeared again fighting with a fowl over some fruits. As I started walking in between blocks to go to my house which was similar to the military quarters I used to live 25 years ago, I saw an owl fighting the fowl. The moment I noticed it was the same owl, I flew straight into the roof of a building and hid myself. The owl came back again towards the roof and each time it came back, I would try hard to knock it off. The owl came attacking me while I was on the roof thrice and I continued punching it away each time it appeared back. It was on the fourth time when it came back, it flew and stopped right at the place I was laying on top of the roof and we began to gaze at each other. As soon as I set another fist to punch it away, I now woke up. What a night it was.
General Structure of the Essay
The narrative portion which I remember from the dream is what is referred to, as being the Manifest content of the dream. It is often in contrast with the latent or hidden content of the dream. A dream might bear symbolic meaning to have a wish fulfilled or get faced with something that is feared the most. The unconscious thoughts which contains the traumatic memories get manifested through representations in dreams (Lear 2015). The latent content of the dreams can be referred to as the meaning which lies within and is denoted by what is seen in the form of dream.
The latent content in the dream which was seen can understood by the fact that some of the elements which were present in the dreams are talked about by Freud in his momentary work, Interpretation of Dreams. Freud is of the opinion that dreams can be deciphered by the understanding of the elements. There are quite a few elements with the help of which, the latent content of the dream can be understood, such as the berries, the owl, the forest, friends abandoning and so on. According to condensation, it can be said that the repressed are often manifested through dreams and take shape gathering impression of more than one or more experiences (Freud 2019). The dream which was experienced exhibits that there are multiple experiences such as being abandoned by friends, picking of berries, being attacked by owls and so on. While displacement is another method by which the repressed thoughts return to the mind in ways which are unknown (Coolidge, Lavie and Blenkinsopp 2018). It was seen that the person was dreaming of a similar place like that of the military quarters she lived in, 25 years earlier. It states that the experiences are transferred elsewhere which causes indistinct representation in dreams. Repetition or compulsion to repeat states that humans are often compelled to engage in acts which do not generate pleasure abut are painful. This allows them to return to a state of inactivity. The repetition which the person dreaming experience doing is fighting back the attacking owl in order to be relieved from the trauma of being attacked. Free Association is employed in psychoanalysis which was developed by Freud to understand the content of consciousness (Lothane 2018). In this technique, patients were allowed to speak which does not get censored. Free Association has no agenda which s linear and promotes unconscious thinking and expression.
Concepts of Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Dreams
According to Freud, there are certain symbols in the dreams, with the help of which, the dream can be interpreted (Freud 2019). The person dreaming found herself with her friends picking berries in a forest. Berries, according to dream interpretation represents happiness in bounty. Berries also represent repressed desires of a person. The manifestations of the same may denote that the person had repressed fantasies which was symbolized by picking or exploring them in the deep forest. The owl here predates on the person dreaming no matter how many times she wishes to fight it away. This is characterized also by the emergence of the fowl. According to Freudian interpretation, poultry birds represent justice. The fight between the owl and fowl can be assumed to be the encounter of the predator with justice (Schon 2016). The act of picking denotes that there is attempt to collect success or what is perceived as success in life. Whereas, picking berries might as swell suggest that she was trying to gathering prosperity which is longed for. It can be assumed that act of flying signifies her ambition to achieve things in life.
Friends abandoning her when the owl appeared may signify that she had similar experience in the past when her friends left her side in times of trouble which has been repressed in her unconsciousness. Losing a friend by a mere bird explains her fear of losing loved ones while encountering dangers. While the bird is gone she comes across a similar place where she lived 25 years back. This indicates that she misses the place and holds it dearly in her heart where she felt safe. She feels nostalgic about the place whereas, it’s where she can run back to for protection. She tries to hide in a roof, in dream interpretation, it is considered to be a hindrance between states of consciousness. She protects herself from the predating bird whereas, she also is on the top of success, which can suggest that she is trying to protect the consciousness and the self from the troubles which stands between achieving the success. She tries to fight back the predator with all her might by punching. Her courage and strength are the only things which enable her to fight through the troubles.
It can be concluded by saying that dreams are representation of what the unconsciousness comprises of. They get manifested while a person is sleeping, in an involuntary manner. The manifest content is referred to as the narration of the dream as it is remembered by the person dreaming. Whereas, on interpreting the same dream, the manifest content can be comprehended. The dream which was experienced denoted things which was feared as well as felt nostalgic about. The features, such as being chased by an owl might have meant that she was feeling threatened. Whereas, it can also be assumed that her repressed desires of being happy, successful or satiated were being manifested through symbols such as picking berries in the deep forest. Psychoanalytic interpretation of dream can be referred to as the division which has pioneered Freud in order to understand emotions and thoughts which get buried in the deep unconsciousness of a person.
Civitarese, G., 2018. The necessary dream: New theories and techniques of interpretation in psychoanalysis. Routledge.
Coolidge, F.L., Lavie, P. and Blenkinsopp, A., 2018. Dream interpretation as a psychotherapeutic technique. CRC Press.
Freud, S., 2019. The interpretation of dreams. Neobooks.
Freud, S., 2019. Dream psychology. BoD-Books on Demand.
Hall, C.S., 2016. A primer of Freudian psychology. Pickle Partners Publishing.
Lear, J., 2015. Freud. Routledge.
Lothane, H.Z., 2018. Free association as the foundation of the psychoanalytic method and psychoanalysis as a historical science. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 38(6), pp.416-434.
Schon, J., 2016. Dream interpretation in theory: Drawing on the contributions of Freud, Jung, and the Kleinians. Psycho-analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa, 24(1), pp.76-108.
Sharpe, E.F., 2018. Dream Analysis: A Practical Handbook of Psychoanalysis. Routledge.
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