Dreams are said to be highly symbolic. Indeed, many believe that dreams are symbolic representations of the subconscious mind and that the images that appear in a dream frequently contain deeper meaning. Dreams often are directly connected to the events in one’s life and some believe that the link can be understood through the symbols that appear. The Internet is full of sites that help people interpret the symbols in their dreams. Many dream dictionaries break down each symbol and provide one or more interpretations.
Dream Symbolism and Freud
The idea of dream symbolism dates back to the work of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud attempted to connect dreams with personality. Freud believed that dreams were a form of wish fulfillment and are sometimes attempts by the unconscious mind to resolve conflict. Freud believed that there were three types of dreams:
- Direct prophecies
- Foretelling of the future
- Symbolic dreams, which require interpretation
Dream Symbolism and Depression
It has been noted that people suffering from depression have a tendency to dream more than normal, as the mind attempts to wrestle with emotional distress. Many of the symbols that arise in dreams may be connected to the daily struggles. Dreams are also important in creativity and learning. Because the mind is allowed to roam free during REM sleep, new pathways within the brain are created. Dream symbolism may then be connected to the process of learning that is going on during the day.