Freud and the Interpretation of Dreams

freud dreams

Freud and the interpretation of dreams

Before Freud’s theorie on dreams, dreams have been seen as a sleep of the consciousness. Freud introduced a positivity to dreams : indeed, it seems that dreams have meaning, but a hidden meaning

1) There are two interpretations:

The symbolic interpretation: considering the content of the dream as a whole and seek to substitute an intelligible content and somewhat similar. This interpretation fails to dreams that are not only incomprehensible, but still confused. Example of Joseph in the Bible, Pharaoh dreams of seven lean cows devouring seven fat kine: it is a symbolic prophecy of seven years of famine in Egypt, which devour all that have accumulated years of plenty in reserve. Most dreams artificially created by poets are to be interpreted symbolically as well: they make the thought of the author in disguise that our experience reveals the characters of our own dreams. The success of this method of interpretation depends on the ingenuity of immediate intuition.

The method of deciphering: we consider the dream as a cipher in which each written sign is reflected in a sign of common sense, with a fixed key. One takes into account not only the content of the dream, but also the personality and the circumstances of the dreamer’s life: that detail has a different meaning for the rich man, married for the poor man, single. The characteristic of this method is that the interpretation does not address the entire dream, but each of its elements, as if the dream were a conglomerate in which each fragment must be determined separately. It is certainly confusing and conflicting dreams that gave birth to the idea of ​​the method of decryption.

These two popular methods of dream analysis is obviously quite useless for scientific research. The symbolic method is of limited application, you can not make a general system. The method of deciphering it entirely depends on the key, “Key to Dreams” and there is no guarantee it.

The Freudian interpretation is an analysis “in detail” and not “en masse”, it considers the dream as a conglomerate of psychic facts. The dreams of adults are the most incomprehensible and hardly resemble the fulfillment of a wish. Indeed, for Freud, the dream is that the performance (in disguise) a desire (repressed). The dreams of adults have suffered disfigurement, disguise: their psychic origin is very different from their last term. There is therefore the one hand the dream as it appears, the “manifest content” and all the “latent dream thoughts,” which is assumed to govern the dream of the substance of the unconscious. The manifest content of dreams is the substitute dream unrealized ideas altered and this alteration is the work of a “me” defending itself. It is born of resistance to prohibit absolutely unconscious desires to enter consciousness in the waking state, but in the weakening of sleep, these forces still have enough power to impose at least in the repressed desires that a mask cache and makes them incomprehensible to the conscience of the dreamer.

Simply replace the manifest content so preposterous that the deeper meaning all becomes clear: we see that the various details of the dreams are related to impressions of previous days (especially the night before) and all appears to be the realization of an unsatisfied desire and events of yesterday.

We can asserts that:

Two major forces contributing to the formation of a dream: the trends and the system. One builds the desire of the dream censorship and the other because it distorts the expression of desire.

The “dream job” is the passage of unconscious ideas in manifest content. There are two basic processes: condensation and displacement. This work is similar to the work of alteration that transforms complex repressed in symptoms when the delivery fails. You really have to compare the dream to the writer who feared censorship, distortion and moderate expression of his thought. The unconscious uses, especially to represent the sexual complexes, a certain symbolism, which sometimes varies from person to person but also the general features and comes down to some type of symbol.

The emperor and empress, the king and queen are most often the parents of the dreamer, and he himself is the Prince or Princess. The same high authority may be attributed to great men. All elongated objects, sticks, tree trunks, umbrellas (on account of deployment similar to that of erection), all long guns represent the male member. Boxes, boxes, crates, cabinets, stoves, chambers represent the female body. The sexual act is shown to him by the nail file, steep paths, ladders, and of course, Freud’s flagship symbol, the staircase. The description of the various inputs and outputs can not be wrong: we now understand the importance of knowing whether the room is closed or open …


Freud & The work of condensation:

The dream is short, poor, terse, compared to the size and richness of the dream thoughts. Writing, the dream barely covers half a page; analysis, which are indicated his thoughts will be six or seven times larger. The ratio can vary with dreams, but as Freud was aware of it, it never reverses. In general, it underestimates the extent of this compression, it is considered that no other thoughts discoveries, we neglect all those that are hidden behind the dream and a broader interpretation we could discover. Is it necessary to explain the discrepancy between the dream content and dream thoughts only by a tremendous work of condensation of the material

Psychic? We often feel that we have forgotten most of our dreams. The dream that we remember on waking would then be a remnant of the entire dream work, which would have extended the same thoughts if we could remember a whole. Everyone has seen a dream is reproduced more accurately, when one tries to be remembered in the morning, until evening when we did find a few scraps. The fact that we can forget our dreams do not in fact contradicts the hypothesis of condensation, it remains proven by the number of representations belonging to fragments not forgotten the dream. While much of the dream has escaped the recall, it can take away that we have access to another set of thoughts. Nothing, in fact, no evidence that the parties refer to thoughts forgotten as the analysis of what remains enabled us to achieve.

Example of condensation: Freud dreams he is sitting in a train compartment and has a hat on his lap top hat transparent. This is how he interprets this condensation. On the one hand, hat evokes respectability on the other hand, it is transparent. Its associations evoke his beak Auer used for chemistry experiments. This instrument was invented by a contemporary of Freud doctor who had taken advantage and glory. As Auer, Freud wanted to make a fortune with an invention that would ensure the respect of his fellow citizens.


Freud & The work of Displacement:

By collecting examples of condensation in the dream, we noticed that the elements we thought were essential to the content did not play in the dream thoughts a role erased. Conversely, what is visible most of the dream thoughts is sometimes not at all represented in this one. The dream is another center, its contents are arranged around elements other than the dream-thoughts. We know what are the essential elements we know of immediate. However, during the formation of the dream, these elements responsible for an intense interest, can be treated as if it had little value, and other, minor in the thoughts of the dream, take their place . It seems at first that the intensity of various mental representations is irrelevant to their choice in the dream and played only the complexity of their determination. The details of the manifest content are quite revealing of the latent content is most important. In the analysis, the emphasis is therefore the study of the most insignificant to go back to the latent content. Thus, we have movement of thoughts and forbidden desires or conflict on ordinary objects to make them acceptable to the conscious. One might assume that what appears in the dream is not what was important in the dream thoughts, but that was often repeated.

The primary process brings together over a three transformations:

-Figuration of the dream:

Indeed, the dream has only formed elements (especially perceived viewed). The dream tells how the silent film, he can cite, repeat the words actually spoken, but it is imperative to show our meaning what he says. If it is to say that someone is not there, he will direct and will disappear.

Similarly, any abstract formulation will be illustrated, will be replaced with a concrete set element or as an emblem, symbol, metaphor, etc …



-The sequence in which are gathered the unconscious elements that make a dream comes secondarily developed, so the most basic, a narrative or dramatic scenario that Freud calls the “front of the dream,” the minimum necessary for this formal can be told.

A dream and its interpretation according to Freud:

“I want to give a dinner, but I have any provision for a little smoked salmon. I would like to go shopping, but I remember that Sunday afternoon and all shops are closed. I want to call a few suppliers, but the phone is broken. So I have to give up the desire to give a dinner. ”

The husband of this patient is a butcher. She is very loving and teasing all the time. She asked her husband not to give her caviar. In fact, it has long wanted to have a sandwich every morning with caviar and she would if she spoke to her husband. In fact, this person wants to create a desire in life unsatisfied and shows him that dream. With some prodding from Freud, the patient said she visited the day before her friend she is very jealous because her husband always says much good. Fortunately, the friend is thin and thin, and her husband loves the full forms.

What this person was talking so thin? Of course, his desire to gain weight. She asked him: “When we invite you again? We always eat so well at home. “The meaning of the dream is clear now, it’s like in a dream the patient had answered mentally,” Yes! I will invite you for you to eat well, you fat and you like it more to my husband! I would rather not give dinner of my life! “The dream that she can not give a dinner and he accomplished his vow not to help make your best friend. However, it still lacks what meets the smoked salmon in the dream. “This, she said, the dish of choice for my friend. ”

Another interpretation is possible, without contradicting the previous one, and proves the double meaning encompassed dreams. The patient tried to fill in the reality of one’s desires (the sandwich with caviar).

The friend had also expressed a wish, that of fatten, and there would be no surprise that the patient would have dreamed that his friend’s wish is not fulfilled. But instead, she dreams that she even saw one of his unfulfilled desires. The dream acquires a new meaning, if it is not about her but her friend, she identified with her.


Cite this article as: Tim, "Freud and the Interpretation of Dreams, April 7, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, April 7, 2012,

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