Dream interpretation, what do YOU think?



A well known saying by people working with dreams is that “the dream belongs to the dreamer”. Working on dreams with personal associations is a commen strategy used by people. Other people use a dreamdictionary and look up symbols. Some people do both. And you? What works for you? Let me know, I am curious about your method(s).


About Mindfunda

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study of psychology at Tilburg University. I made this site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life. A Mindfunda a day keeps the doctor away: a healthy mind in a healthy body. If you are a blogger yourself, you’re invited to submit a blog (if you use the contact form I will get back to you asap) on the subjects of science, mythology or psychology.
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8 Responses to Dream interpretation, what do YOU think?

  1. tim schaming says:

    I use the If it were my dream only…. the fact that any type of experiences have many levels of meaning its up to the person to have the opportunity to have other options to use and fold into the action they will take. If you use one source like a dream dictionary or one persons take on that dream or experience you will miss options that could help no matter how accurate the information is that is provided by that …one… source.

    • I agree that dreams have multiple layers and some of them I have uncovered years after a dream… But Tim what advice would you give to a person who does not have access to a dreamgroup to get multiple visions on a dream?

  2. Ingidisa says:

    I use everything I can lay my hands on to understand a dream. I begin with a Jungian/Caycian type framework then I proceed with an Inner Work-ish (R. Johnson) method, which usually begins with a list of keywords from the dream and associations to those. Associations come from personal experiences, mythology, alchemy, religions, psychology, etc., whatever the image suggests and the feeling I have about it. At some point in this process, I usually see threads forming between the keywords; a picture is woven. Where I get stumped, I often turn to Tony Crisp’s articles and index. Like a muse, his writing prompts me until I get rolling again on my own. Sometimes, also, when I am stuck, I draw doodles of my dream or just start writing. Sometimes, I paint images from the dreams. Although I will write out a reading as though it is done, I never let myself believe it is done. My other self-admonishment is against projection. I have been led astray in the past, and I only end up recanting everything I assume about externals that turn out to be nonsense and, worse, self-defeating.

    When I first started doing this work, I used dream dictionaries, but it didn’t take me long to throw those out. They don’t do justice to the wonder of my dreams. The one method I lack and sorely miss is someone of like mind with whom I could talk about the dreams, but I don’t imagine ever finding that someone. I suppose that is why people pay therapists. 🙂

    • Hallo Ingidisa,

      that is quite a road you have traveled! So you use associations to detect threads, also with other dreams. I think we dreamers have a series of themes that emerge. What is your experience?

      • Ingidisa says:

        Oh, yes, definitely a thread runs between dreams. I do my best to read a dream as an individual image first, but understanding from one dream will often spill over into another. Motifs arise over time. I recognize figures who come again and again. I am able to follow ups and downs in relationships with some figures. I also see emotion/meaning increase or decrease in which I recognize a pattern of development. I don’t like to say growth; it is more like movement, shifts. Oh, it’s very exciting sometimes. I greatly appreciate my dream world.

      • And who has influenced you the most when it comes to working with dreams?

      • Ingidisa says:

        Hmm, I have to say Jung, but I am less inclined to see my dreams as having to do with external, everyday affairs. That might be specific to me though. Maybe I am reading my dreams at a time when they are mostly about my inner life. I admire Edgar Cayce, his gift and wisdom. Like Jung, Cayce will often find a dream meaningful to the external relationships. Cayce and Jung also both read a lot of precognition into dreams, whereas, I have only suspected that a couple of times. Again, perhaps that is just me. I was strongly influenced by R. Johnson’s book, Inner Work, because it gave me practical method, but I am also a great admirer of James Hillman, because he taught me to look deeper, to wait, to even look away to find the meaning out the corner of my eye, so to speak. To Maria von Franz and to J. Campbell, I owe my confidence in myths. Crisp, I mentioned, as a muse. Of course, there is Life and the books and books that have informed my thoughts over the years. How can one say which is most important? Maybe Wotan, whose gift is mad inspiration, or Apollo, whose oracle’s lintel read “Know Thyself….” 🙂

  3. That is an impressive list Ingidisa. I can see how all those eloquent writers and thinkers have sharpen your mind when it comes to dreams. I like the books that change my perspective on dreams. Books that go beyond the associating around a symbol. Tracks in the wilderness of Bosnak has influenced me very deeply and Gongloff’s matrix method that really got me out of the asscoiating game (althoug I always use it as an entry into a dream) and into the themes behind the dreams.
    And off course my own method: looking at a dream as a representation of life’s energy and the dream as a way of telling you where the energy blocks: The Infinity Model. Energy does not end, it only transfers and with that ides in mind I designed a model. A simplification of the “truth”.
    If in a dream -t give a quick example- your tells you about astrology and the stars and you are not interested- it woudl be a sign for me to advice the dreamer to get familiar with astrology and write a story about it for his or her father. There would be no need to actually give it unless the dreamer feels a need to it.

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