Monday, June 17, 2013

Dream Interpretations

1.0 Introduction The practice of dream interpretation has been perceived as being both unmanageable and unchecked (Kramer, 2000, p. 161). An assessment on the re-interpretations that have been conducted on the dream “Irma’s Injection” by Freud is evidence to the unconstrained nature of dream interpretation. There are a number of techniques that are applied in the practice of dream interpretations. One of the most common techniques perceives the dream as a text. In such a scenario, the dream interpreter would then have to apply the knowledge acquired in textual analysis to interpret the dream in question. The perception of dreams as texts opens up a great possibility of perspectives of dream interpretation many of which have been elucidated upon by the various models of literary analysis (Kramer, 2000). The most common perspective of textual analysis dream interpretation is psychoanalysis. According to Hill et al (2001), there are a number of factors that affect the process of dream interpretation. This paper will discuss Freud’s psychoanalytic interpretation of the Irma Dream as well as analyze the characteristics of dream interpreters that may influence the outcomes of dream interpretation sessions. 2.0 Literature Review Scholars and experts have in the last century come up with a number of dream interpretation models; nevertheless, it is only recently that increased interest has been indicated on issues of dream interpretation and a number of investigative studies carried out on the same. The Hill (1996) Cognitive-Experiential model of dream interpretation commonly utilized in single visits has received much attention lately. According to Hill et al (2001, p. 53) an investigative study was carried out to determine the personal characteristics of interpreters that have a propensity to influence the outcome of the dream interpretation sessions. In this investigative study 105 respondents-all volunteers- were asked to utilize the Hill (1996) framework to carry out single dream analysis sessions; in this exercise half of the respondents were asked to carrying out a waking life analysis of the dream while the remaining respondents engaged in self interpretation as depicted by the Hill Model’s insight phase. The fact that there were no discrepancies revealed between the two interpretations implies that dream interpreters may make use of either technique in their dream interpretation processes. According to investigative studies carried out by Hill et al (2001, p. 54) volunteer respondents have a propensity of indicating sessions of greater superiority and obtaining more knowledge from their dream analysis activity as opposed to regular sessions of therapy. Consequently increased insight and high quality sessions are significant in dream interpretation processes. In order for expert dream interpreters to decide on the best techniques of dream interpretation, as well as he persons to engage in dream interpretation sessions, Hill et al (2001, p. 54) claims that it is very important to recognize any factors that tend to predict the results of dream interpretation sessions. The basic tenets of psychoanalysis dream interpretation make it necessary that the dream interpreters are knowledgeable listeners and that they allow for free interrelation between the dreamer and themselves. It is only in such a context that psychoanalysis can be effectively applied in dream interpretation. Kramer (2000) indicates clearly that there are a number of requirements that must be fulfilled in this process. Firstly, the desires requiring to be satisfied in the dream must be made clear; more often than not these tend to be puerile sexual intentions. In addition to this, the dream must be canvassed in the dreamer’s psychological life occurrences. Such fitting of the dream into the emotional conditions of the dreamer will enable the interpreter to decipher the significance of the dream (Kramer, 2000, p. 161). In his interpretation of “Irma’s Injection” Freud begins by revealing the psychological context which the dream is reacting to; these occurrences are described as the attachments to the dream. The first event is the visit by Otto who is Freud’s friend and long time associate. In their conversations, Otto makes it clear to Freud that despite the fact that she is getting better from her illness, Irma- Freud’s patient that he has recently visited- is still not quite recuperated (Kramer, 2000, p. 162). This declaration by Otto is perceived by Freud as disapproval. More over, Freud perceives Otto as siding with Irma’s parents who have all along been opposed to Irma’s treatment. As a consequence of the social affiliation that he has with Irma as well as the remarks by Otto, Freud enters into a state of self doubt and wonders whether he has pledge in the treatment of Irma than he can deliver. It is these self doubts that cause Freud to spend a good deal of the night drafting a report of Irma’s case for Dr. M. It is on this same night that Freud has his dream. The model of dream of dream interpretation by Hill et al (2001, p. 55) is comprised of three main phases. These are the exploration, insight and action phases (Hill et al, 2001, p. 55). More over, clients are expected to work hand in hand in the production of dream interpretations. According to Kramer (2000, p. 163) in his interpretative approach Freud makes it clear that rather than assess and critically analyze their faculties, the dreamer must observe and be attentive to their mental processes. These mental process include their thoughts and emotions. Moreover, the dreamer must not consider the dream as whole but reflect upon parts of the dream singly. A predicament arises here due to the fact that Freud offers no technique that can be utilized in the segmentation of the dream into parts that the dreamer can react to singly. After observing their mental processes, the dreamer’s second step in the process of dream interpretation is to analyze events or occurrences that they went through in the previous day that the dream seems to allude to (Kramer, 2000). It is such events that present the interpreter with a framework into which to fit the dream. Dream interpreters must make sure to engage dreamers in the associative process before declaring the preamble; failure to do this will result into the dream being presumed into the preamble instead of being outlined as a consequence of the dreamer’s life occurrences in the previous day. Kramer (2000, p. 164) the final step in dream interpretation as described by Freud in is the conclusion step. Here the dream interpreter makes note of any alike associative reactions to different parts of the dream and then investigates them to ascertain whether or not they can be categorized under the same themes. The en detail perspective applied by Freud in analyzing “The Irma Dream” enabled him to come up with three main themes. The first theme that Freud came up with is the fact that it is not him, but rather Otto that is to blame for Irma’s medical condition. Secondly Freud identified himself as being diligent professional who is concerned about his health as well as those of others. The third theme that Freud identified is that he had a propensity towards replacing compliant persons with resistant ones (Kramer, 2000). According to Hills et al (2001, p. 54) the characteristics of clients are very significant in any process of dream interpretation. The most important feature of the client that is considered is the need for cognition. A great number of therapists indicate that clients that are psychologically minded and those that tend to derive great pleasure from reflecting on their dreams are the best to engage in dream interpretation sessions. Hill et al (2001) point out that this is despite the fact that there are no significant associations between self reports by clients on the evaluation of emotional mindedness and the results of dream analysis processes. Apart from cognition the second characteristic of clients that is very significant in determining the results of dream interpretation sessions is the mindsets that the clients harbor towards dreams. Researches carried out on the same reveal that clients who volunteer their participation in the dream analysis process tend to be have more positive outlooks and feeling a bout the process than those who did not offer to participate in the process. Hill et al (2001) reveal that there was variability between the volunteers who had moderate, very positive and very negative approaches towards dreams. While those with very positive mindsets reported better results than those with very negative attitudes, the best outcomes were indicated in clients whose attitudes towards dreams were moderate. Hill et al (2001, p. 55) claim that the features of the dreams in question are also very important in determining the outcomes of the dream analysis process. The most important dream characteristic is valence. Valence is described the levels to which the dream can be described as being “pleasant” (Hill et al, 2005). In comparison to neutral, very unlikable or moderately likeable dreams, the best outcomes have been ascertained by experts as those from dreams that are moderately unlikeable or exceedingly pleasant. Another characteristic of dreams that is significant in determining the outcome of dream analysis activities is distortion. According to Hill et al (2001) distortion is described as the level to which the dream differs from the actual life occurrences or experiences of the dreamer. For clients with low cognition requirements dreams which have lower levels of distortion tend to be much easier to comprehend than those with high distortion. This is due to the fact that clients with low need for cognitions tend to easily connect low distortion dreams to reality. On the other hand, clients with high requirements of cognition are described as preferring dreams with a high degree of distortion since they find such dreams both fascinating and mystifying (Hill et al, 2001, p. 55). The third characteristic of dreams that is described as being very important in sessions of dream analysis is the degree to which the dream is vivid or current. Dreams that are still very fresh are easier to work with for most clients as opposed to those whose details and associative feelings they can hardly reconstruct. A noteworthy number of Freud’s dreams - 6% of the 50- are perceived by experts as counter-transference dreams while 34% describe patients in their latent substance (Kramer, 2000). Freud’s interpretation of Irma’s Injection is perceived as failing to make the criteria described by Freud for a fully interpreted dream due to the fact that Freud tends to drift his associations away at points which would have depicted sexual motives. More over, by treating the characters in the dream separately from himself, Freud fails-in his interpretation of the dream- to respond to his sexual attraction for Irma as well as the jealousy he has towards Otto (Karmer, 2000, p. 165). According to Karmer (2000, p. 175) the myriad of re-interpretations carried out on The Irma Dream by relevant scholars have been characterized by a number of limitations. The first limitation is that rather than depict the dream associations as dream reports, the scholars depict them as hypothetical Secondly, these re-interpretations have only focused on those parts of the dream that fit certain life occurrences and ignored those that do not. Thirdly the scholars fail to create a link between the dream report and its summative interpretations. Fourthly the scholars fail to consider the associations depicted in the dream report in their interpretations The final limitation as indicated by Kramer (2000, p. 176) is the fact that the scholars contravened the fundamental basics of psychoanalytic interpretation of dreams such as involving the dreamer in the dream interpretative process. In the investigative study conducted by Hill et al (2001, p. 68) it was revealed that the best indicators of the results of dream analysis processes involving volunteer clients in single sessions are the volunteers perceptions towards the dreams as well as the degree of pleasantness of each dream. The pleasantness of the dream was also discovered to be the best indicator of volunteers gaining insight or knowledge of the dreams (Hill et al, 2001). It was also discovered that session outcomes were not significantly dependent on factors such as the vividness or freshness of the dream as well as the need for cognition, type of analysis or distortion. 3.0 Conclusion Conclusively, the fact that Freud admitted that dreams may have more than one meaning reveals that a single dream may have more than a single dream interpretation. Nevertheless, in similar manner to other texts, the polysemy of dreams may increase the latitude that characterizes interpretation of dreams. An effective dream interpretation, therefore, is that which considers the dreamer’s life history, personal importance associated to the dream, social context and current life conditions. Moreover, it is important that standards be created to determine the effectiveness of dream interpretations. The investigative study described in this paper implies that dream interpreters of therapists must be careful in their utilization of dream analysis particularly for clients with no interest or those that do not attach any worth to dreams Unpleasant dreams should also be used carefully particularly in single sessions. 4.0 References Hill, C. E., Kelley, F. A., Davis, T. L. et al, (2001), Predictors of Outcome of Dream Interpretation Sessions: Volunteer Client Characteristics, Dream Characteristics and Type of Interpretation, Dreaming, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 53-70 Kramer, M., (2000), Does Dream Interpretation Have Any Limits: An Evaluation of Interpretations of the Dream of “Irma’s Injection”, Dreaming, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 161-78