Dream Interpretation Features at Jung
Subject Level, Prospective Aspect,
Jung was the eminent adept of Freud and, for
a while, a tireless fighter for the Freudian cause, that is, the universal promotion of psychoanalysis. He was influenced by Freud's approach of the delicate problem of dream interpretation. Later on, Jung develops his own theory which includes several revolutionary features:
subject level, prospective aspect, compensation, amplification method.
It is known that Freud interprets dreams on the object level; that is, according to the relationship between the dreamer
and the persons or situations in his real life. Jung introduces the subject level. What is this level? The fact that the dream reveals, in a symbolic way, some features of individual psychological life or of his
internal psychological transformations. This way the dream becomes an indicator of those changes that sometimes point to the development of the individuation process.
So, if someone dreams of his mother,
the mother in Jung's view is not an evocation of the real mother, but of the dreamer's anima, that is, his
emotional, feminine side of the psyche. Mother can also be a suggestion to what is basically biologic in the human nature or can lead to his inherited background, his homeland in a cultural way.
Freud's dream approach is retrospective; that is, it refers mainly to past events, placed back in the dreamer's childhood (psychological trauma, sexual fixations and
desires, and so forth). Jung's dream approach is prospective; he treats the dream like an inner map of dreamer's future psychological evolution towards a
more balanced relationship between his ego and the unconscious (be it personal or collective).
Talking about infantile complexes, Jung states, in accordance with his orientation,
that complexes are not of importance per se; what really matters is what the individual's ego does with them. This way, the complexes, even the neurotic ones,
become raw material for dreams, the language through which the dream (the unconscious) expresses itself.
For Jung the concept of compensation includes another powerful idea: the dream
is an attempt to counterbalance a hypertrophied conscious psychological tendency. Therefore the dream interpretation should aim at the uncovering of its
compensation's feature. In a certain clinical situation, as a result of a dream interpretation, Jung had to explain to his patient that she must resign her too rationalist attitude (as a consequence of her
animus inflation) in order to cure her severe neurosis. This way the dream becomes a message of the unconscious that indicates several neurotic deficiencies in the individual life orientation.
Finally, Jung adds to the free association method, developed by Freud, the method of amplification. He states that there are elements of the dream to which
the dreamer cannot provide personal associations. These elements are symbols.(1) In this case, the analyst should intervene with his knowledge and complete the
dreamer's gaps related to them. The associative material comes from various cultural areas: mythology, religion, alchemy, folklore, and so forth.
One must notice that these essential additions to the method of dream interpretation
should not be taken over easily. Jung warns us repeatedly that dreams ought to be interpreted at first by Freud's method. Only exceptional cases demand the use of his own method.(2)
Notes: (See also the
archetype section of this site.)
*One must know that, unlike Freud, Jung treats symbols like signs that leads to unknown psychological content.
** In fact, starting with Freud's approach of dreams is a necessary step which equates the meeting of shadow on the Jungian plane. (See also the shadow archetype.)
-> Examples of dreams interpreted by Jung (quotes)
-> Jung and Artemidorus (paper)
-> Dream interpretation and I Ching
- the well known Chinese oracle may help you interpret your dreams. Learn how here.
-> A beginners guide to the dream interpretation methods, including Jung's and Freud's, may be found here.
-> Learn the basics of the Jungian method of dream interpretation by taking our 12-lesson email course for beginners. Click here
to start right now.
-> Check our papers section of this site for articles on dreams here.
-> Talk about dream interpretation and its Jungian's features on our forum at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jung_for_beginners.