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The Importance Of Dreams In Jungian Analysis

In Jungian theory, dreams are a clear vision of the inner truth for the individual.

In dreams, there is no manipulation of the experience to conform with what the individual wants it to be, and the Jungian Analyst interprets these dreams without adding any of what he or she assumes or believes to be true.

In Jung's own words, he saw dreams as "a spontaneous self-portrayal in symbolic form of the actual situation in the unconscious." As such, the dream itself is the source of new information and greater understanding. Dreams are created as a manifestation of a specific archetype, allowing for the content of the dream to become the focus of the analysis.

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Jungian dream analysis is very different than what popular culture defines as dream analysis. In other words, there is not a specific association with a dream component, rather the components in the dream create circular associations which lead to a deeper understanding of the full message of the dream.

Dreams can contain signs, and signs are known. Symbols in dreams, on the other hand, are only partially known. The symbols have the power to draw or attract the individual to greater leaning and to also transform energy in a psychological sense. In fact, Jung specifically did not advocate the literal interpretation of symbols within dreams. Instead, exploring the role of the symbol leads to the understanding of the deeper meaning within.

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Three Levels of Dream Analysis

There are three different levels upon which dreams can be interpreted. These include the subject, the objective, and the transferential. These have a different meaning to the Jungian Analyst than may be assumed by the specific terms used.

The objective level is the references to the images in the dream at the subject's view of external objects. The subjective level is a reference to all parts of the dream back to the dreamer. In this way, each element or part of the content in the dream is related back to a memory that has a reference to an external situation. In this way, the person having the dream recognises the images as facts from the unconscious being brought to the conscious level. This process opens the way for the dreamer to understand his or her inner reality. Transferential level and interpretation is a combination of both objective and subjective.

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Important Factors in Dream Interpretation

In Jungian analysis, dreams are seen as a way to compensate for conscious thoughts and attitudes. In this way, the psyche is able to use dreams to self-regulate or compensate. This can happen both as a positive function with the dream sending a message about a future conscious achievement. It is a mental exercise or dress rehearsal for possibilities of what may occur in the future for the individual based on the collective and personal unconscious.

In some cases, the dreams are used by the psyche to bring forth repressed memories, thoughts, and emotions to the surface. Dreams can also be both positive and reductive at the same time or at different times and in different stages.

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