Karen Muller, Ph.D. | Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Easy Steps to Unravel the Essence of a Dream

  1. Tell or write the dream in the first person and present tense, as if it were happening now. It is useful to do so in a journal, and then tell the dream to a friend.
  2. Reenter the dream in your imagination. It may help to lie down and close your eyes. Remember as much detail as possible-the setting, sensory details and feelings of yourself and other dream characters. If doing this with a friend, give a detailed description so your friend can enter your dream. Each of you spends several minutes in silence experiencing the dream. Although your friend has a different experience, it will probably illuminate yours.
  3. To explore the possible meanings in your dream, write in your journal or tell your friend about each character in the dream. Describe the person as if you are talking not only to someone who doesn’t know the person, but as if you are talking to someone who is from another culture or planet, so that you must explain even an iconic figure like Abraham Lincoln or Marilyn Monroe. The importance of this step is that your description shows your personal associations.
  4. The process of describing characters as if to someone from Mars can be used for unusual objects or settings as well.
  5. Put the pieces back together and retell the dream with a summary of the characters instead of their names. If Abraham Lincoln was in your dream and you described him as a “great and wise man with humble beginnings” use that description.
  6. Now ask yourself what situation in your life is like your description. Often, characters in dreams are aspects of the dreamer’s personality. Characters may also be people in the dreamer’s life. Or they can be both at the same time. Many dreams work on multiple levels.
  7. The feelings in the dream are often especially important. Ask yourself what aspect of your life feels like the dream.
Karen H. Muller, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
4497 Brown Ridge Terrace, Suite #104
Medford OR 97504
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