Psychoanalysis > Papers

Freud's Dream interpretation Method, Today

This paper treats of the worthiness of Freud's view
and method on dream interpretation.

By J Jones

Many people, and many experts among them, pretend that Freud is not topical, that his views are not scientific, and so forth. This criticism is virulent today and one hardly could escape the feeling that Freud mistook things.

If we check out the dreams interest of scientists and psychoanalysts today we find a great deal of confusion. Scientists still carry on the study of dreams in laboratories of drams as they would deal with physiological phenomena. In fact, this was the main approach in the time when Freud discovered his method. This approach is called "scientific" only because dreams are studied with the help of scientific equipment and results are quantified on the basis of mathematical graphs.

The laboratory of dreams seem to ignore what Freud already discovered in this area. We can see them as proof of the need to return to the times prior of Freud approach of dreams dominated by the materialistic ideology applied in the scientific sphere.

Psychoanalysts don't seem to be interested in dreams as Freud himself showed in one of his later books. Perhaps the explanation is that the handling of dream method is very difficult and requires specific skills that one can achieve only thought personal analysis during years, several times a week. But this personal analysis is no more what it should be, that is, it is not concerned with facts but theory. This way, people trained as psychoanalysts today have theoretical knowledge about the therapy but lack the personal experience with their unconscious and the repressed.

So, is Freud still up-to-date? And what about his method and, mainly, about his practice, that is, working with dreams in order to explore the mind and especially the repressed wishes?

As far as concerns my own experience, Freud's method is still accurate. Dream is a fulfillment of repressed wishes and may be addressed only with the help of the free association method and the symbol analysis. The structure of dreams is still the same and the need of dream interpretation in psychotherapy remains a goal to attain if you want to reach good results.

Dream interpretation is via regia (the royal road) to the unconscious, said once Freud. I think he was right. There's no mean or tool (scientific or not) to explore the depth of one's mind other than the dream interpretation and the method of free association. Moreover, I can tell about the expertise of a psychoanalyst (Freudian or not) only on the basis of this method, if he/she uses the dream analysis or not.

In my own country specialists pretend that dream is not important, but the analysis of transference . Though the transference is very important in analysis (one may experience ancient feelings of hate or love projected upon the psychoanalyst and needs to analyze them), its analysis can not replace the dream interpretation, because one must know how the old psychical stuff is handled today and projected or repressed in the life of the patient. Dreams help us reaching this goal!

Moreover, dream analysis uncover the past in relation with the present events. One may easily see how the past is actualized and updated - as one may say - and so he/she may acquire a solid confirmation of the fact that the entire psychoanalytic procedure actually works. You may add to this the real insight when one realizes that the past continues through the present, and so forth.

Further Resources

  • We dedicated a section of the site to the psychoanalytic aproach of dreams. More...
  • More about Freud's method of dream interpretationmay be found by taking our email course dealing with this topic. More...


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