The Science of Fantasies: Understanding Dreams in a Psychological Perspective
April 7, 2015
You lay down on your bed mattress, closed your eyes, and went deep into slumber. As you go deeper and deeper, you find yourself in a castle hall, in the middle of a forest, or even at a party. This baffled you, and you realized that you were actually asleep and that this is actually a dream. Suddenly you had a kick and woke up with a jolt. And the first thing that comes to your mind is a question: where did that dream come from?
Dreams are one of the most mystical topics found in every culture – they are often believed to be the source of prophecies. But did you know that they are also studied and discussed in different branches of science, especially in Psychology? To show you that the critical mind has been attempting to know more about dreams, here are some famous psychological discussions regarding phantasms.
Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
According to Sigmund Freud and his dream analysis, dreams are manifestations of one’s wish fulfillments. Dreams are formed from the unconscious that work its way to the conscious stage. To be able to go to the consciousness, dreams must work its way through both the primary and final censors by either condensation (the dream idea has been condensed or simplified, making it less extensive than how it is supposed to be) or displacement (dream image is replaced by some other idea somewhat related to it).
Carl Jung agreed with Freud that dreams come from the depths of the unconscious. He also agreed with the latter’s statement that dreams are symbolic and has deeper meanings, thus should be taken seriously and interpreted. However, unlike Freud, Jung does not believe that most dreams symbolize sexual urges. Jung believes that there is more to dreams than just sexual symbolisms. Rather, dreams are a combination of both the personal and collective unconscious.
Alfred Adler’s Individual Psychology
To Alfred Adler, dreams cannot directly tell the future but rather, dreams can provide clues in solving future problems. Adler made reports of him interpreting others and his own dreams. Despite being able to interpret these dreams, he believed that most dreams are self-deceptive and cannot be easily interpreted by the dreamer.
Also, Adler claims that dreams reflect the dreamer’s lifestyle and adds that the more inconsistent a person’s goal is with reality, the more likely that he or she will be having self-deceptive dreams.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner, also referred to as B.F. Skinner, believed that dreams are covert and symbolic forms of behavior still related to reinforcements. He, just like Freud, states that dreams serve as wish fulfillment materials. Dreams occur when there are present repressed sexual urge or aggression. Acting out sexual fantasies or hurting others has repercussions in real life. On the other hand, a person may do such behaviors in dreams without having to deal with punishments as consequences.
Dreams can get really bizarre, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be understood. With these psychological theories regarding dreams, we are able to know ourselves better one dream at a time.