Dream Interpretation Features at Jung
Subject Level, Prospective Aspect,
Jung was the
eminent adept of Freud and, for a while, a tireless fighter for the Freudian cause, that is, the universal promotion of psychoanalysis. He was influenced by Freud's approach of the delicate problem of dream
interpretation. Later on, Jung develops his own theory which includes a few basic elements: subject level, prospective aspect, compensation, amplification method.
It is known that Freud interprets dreams on the object level; that is, according to the relationship between the dreamer and the persons or situations in his real life. Jung introduces the subject level.
What is this level? The fact that the dream reveals, in a symbolic way, some features of individual psychological life or of his internal psychological transformations. This way the dream becomes an indicator of those
changes that sometimes point to the development of the individuation process.
So, if someone dreams of his mother, the mother in Jung's view is not an evocation of the real mother, but of the dreamer's anima, that is, his emotional, feminine side of the
psyche. Mother can also be a suggestion to what is basically biologic in the human nature or can lead to his inherited background, his homeland in a cultural way.
Freud's dream approach is retrospective;
that is, it refers mainly to past events, placed back in the dreamer's childhood (psychological trauma, sexual fixations and desires, and so forth). Jung's dream approach is prospective
; it treats dream like a map of dreamer's future psychological evolution towards a more balanced relationship between his ego and the Self.
Talking about infantile complexes, Jung states, in accordance with his orientation, that complexes are not of importance per se, but what the individual's ego does
with them. This way, the complexes, even the neurotic ones, become raw material for dreams, the language through which the dream (the unconscious) expresses itself.
For Jung the concept of compensation includes another powerful idea: the dream
is an attempt to counterbalance a hypertrophied conscious psychological tendency. Dream interpretation should aim at the uncovering of its compensation's
feature. In a certain clinical situation, as a result of a dream interpretation, Jung had to explain to his patient that she must resign her too rationalist attitude (as a consequence of her animus inflation
). This way the dream becomes a message of the unconscious that indicates several neurotic deficiencies in the individual life orientation.
Finally, Jung adds to the free association method,
developed by Freud, the method of amplification. He states that there are elements of the dream to which the dreamer cannot provide personal associations. These elements are symbols.*
In this case, the analyst should intervene with his knowledge and complete the dreamer's gaps related to them. The associative material comes from various
cultural areas: mythology, religion, alchemy, folklore, and so forth.
One must notice that these essential additions to the theory of dream interpretation should not be taken over easily. Jung warns us repeatedly that dreams ought to be interpreted at first by Freud's method.
Only exceptional cases demand the use of his own method.
Examples of Dream Approach at Jung
-> A Symptomatic Dream of Carl Jung (paper)
Example of Using I Ching in Dream Interpretation (paper)
-> Jung and Artemidorus (paper)
-> Methods of Exploration of the Unconscious
*One must know that unlike Freud, Jung treats symbols like signs that leads to unknown psychological content. [See also the archetype
section of this site.]