Application of Freudian Dream Concepts to Reality


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Dreams are a never-ending source of images for creativity, art and culture, one of the most popular topics in the media and entertainment industry as well as in everyday life. Dreams can even provoke people into visiting a psychologist, as it is believed that what happens in our dreams largely depends on the emotional and psychological state of each of us. Dream analysis as a method of psychological study is not new. Dreaming and analysis of dreams as a method of applied psychology is the object of interest and research of a wide range of psychological schools: classical and neoclassical psychoanalysis, analytical psychology, individual psychology, Gestalt therapy, etc. Considerable attention is paid to this phenomenon in the works of representatives of the existential, procedural and transpersonal psychology. However, the most influential methods applied for analysing dreams were provided by S. Freud and K. Jung, which is why, in this work, a special attention will be paid to their theories. (Symanyuk, Pecherkina, 2016).

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Pre-Freudian Theories of Dreams A significant number of researchers regarded dreams as a form of mental disorder. Dreams were compared with chaos, with madness, described in clinical terms, and the mechanism of their formation was interpreted as pathological. A French psychiatrist, one of the founders of clinical psychopharmacology – J. Moreau de Tour believed that dream and delirium have a common origin (Moreau de Tours, 1869). It is important to note that the French physician was the first to use elements of psychoanalysis to treat mental disorders. J.-J. Moreau de Tour believed that the basis of psychological understanding of the state of mind is introspection (self-observation). To better understand the condition of patients, the psychiatrist took hashish; this can be seen as a prerequisite for the use of hallucinogens (psychedelics) to model the psychotic state. J.-J. Moreau de Tour believed that it is possible to understand mental disorders with the help of dreams, since they have the same nature as hallucinations (Moreau de Tours, 1840). Moreau de Tour came very close to the concept of the unconscious: according to the researcher, man is given two models of existence, two types of life. The first is our interaction with the outside world; the second is only a reflection of its inner essence, and it feeds from its own deep sources. A dream is something like a no man’s land, where the outside world ends and the inner world begins (Moreau de Tours, 1859). Many years of clinical experience of the French psychiatrist summarised in the monograph ‘De l’identité de l’état de rêve et de la folie’ (‘Identity of sleep and madness’) (Moreau de Tours, 1855).

P. Radestock wrote about dream analysis: ‘In fact, it seems impossible to distinguish any hard laws in the chaos (Radestock, 1879). Pharmacologist K. Binz believed that out of ten dreams, nine are absurd (Binz 1878). French physician E. Lasegue suggested that methacholine psychoses, particularly delirium tremens (delirium tremens) should be regarded as the pathological form of dreaming (Lasegue, 1881). Similar views were held by a psychiatrist and a neurologist A. Krauss, who argued that the emergence of dreams, psychosis and delusional ideas due to the common operating factors and mental mechanisms (Krauss, 2009). The idea of the similarity of dreams with psychosis was supported internationally by many scientists (Griesinger, 1876; Sanctis, 1922). The similarity of dreams with hallucinations, especially the visual one, with various intoxications and infections was confirmed by many authors (Jost & Jacquot 1955; Whitty & Lewin 1957). At the same time, other scientists, mainly physicians and philosophers, have considered dreaming as a complex, ambiguous phenomenon, which is, however, should be placed within the boundaries of the normal state of mind. The healing function of dreams was noted by some European scientists who believed that the loss of the ability to see dreams causes an acute mental disorder.

Pathopsychological mechanisms were identified: the accumulation in the cerebral cortex of unformed fragmentary thoughts and superficial impressions prevents the preservation of relevant information in memory, causes overload and depletion of the Central nervous system. K. A. Scherner in on of his work (Scherner 1861) considers them as a creative act of unconscious power of spirit, creative imagination. In addition, he developed a theory about the symbolism of the internal organs and their functions in dreaming (e.g., the intestine appears as a narrow and dirty curving streets with low houses). Freud’s Theory of Dreams The theory of dreams, as represented in Freud’s works, can be regarded as an application of the concepts of Freudianism and classical psychoanalysis. The fundamental position according to which the dream is a sign (code) with the help of which it is possible for humans to satisfy hidden desires was put forward by Sigmund Freud already in 1895. Freud gave his theory of dreams an exceptional value and thought dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious („Königsweg zum Unbewussten“), giving special importance to the study of the symbolism of dreams and pointing out that dreams are put on in fancy dress („Träume ziehen die Masken anzüge an“) (Freud, 1998). Freud believed that for an effective study of the nature of visions arising in a state of sleep, it is first necessary to determine the function of sleep, its physiological and mental purpose. According to S. Freud, the biological function of sleep is the rest of the body tired of the day activities (Freud, 1998). However, the mental purpose of sleep is not identical to its biological functions. The mental purpose of sleep is to lose interest in the outside world: in the state of sleep, the perception of the surrounding reality stops, behavioral reactions disappear and the person for a while plunges into an analogue of a comfortable intrauterine state.

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