Analysis of Dreams – A deeper look

The following Dreams Analysis was emailed in by TG from Leeds.


TG: Last night’s dream was a strange one, I was in an old market where people I have known in the past are all around selling sweets on different stalls. I was with someone I’m not in contact with anymore and then it jumps to me talking to a little boy trying to get him to find his school trousers because he was wearing girl’s school trousers with frilled pockets. I was getting frustrated as he would not accept that he was wearing the wrong trousers…it’s weird as I rarely remember my dreams but lately bits of dreams come to me throughout the day. 

My dream doesn’t seem to have a beginning or an end as such, I just know that I am in that state where I am not quite in deep sleep yet, the half and half state sort of thing and then the knocking begins, about 6 very loud knocks in my ear, the sound vibrates through my head but doesn’t wake me fully up. All the things that happen in my dreams are trying to wake me, the tapping on my shoulder comes after the knocking and then sometimes I will hear a voice calling my name over and over. Then I awoke.


 Me: An old place you recognize sweets – pleasure, carefree treats, friends – little boy whose getting it wrong or is not coordinated, doesn’t care what he looks like or prefers the company of girls – does this remind you of anyone?  Who have you heard or read about recently who knows someone you used to hang out with as a kid – your pleasure seems to be interrupted by having to see to this boy, when your dream jumps to him.  How does this relate to your recent life?

You appear to be dozing but are you giving yourself permission to rest, relax take time out to slumber? Or waiting for something or someone to disturb you or maybe not looking forward to the following day?  Do you feel guilty for taking time out for yourself?  Is there stuff you should be getting on with or are you under environmental pressure i.e. work colleagues or people / family?  What’s the worst can happen if you ignore that knocking, tapping and voice and allow yourself to fall into a deep sleep  – what fears and anxieties would that highlight?


TG: I recognise the market place but only from another dream, its old fashioned, 19th century style (I have been watching Murdoch Mysteries series set in the same century) The person I was with was a friend in the past, someone who I used to think I could trust but who slated me to other people and was a bit of a snake.

I agree that I do not really allow myself to fall into a deep sleep any longer (once my partner is awake in the morning he will cuddle up to me in bed talking to me whilst I am semi asleep and then potters around and comes in and out the bedroom etc. until finally I give up sleeping and I am fully awake). But on the other hand if my partner is out early in the morning, I am still just dozing because I am listening out for the dog moving about on the wooden floor waiting to be let out or fed…..or….I am expecting my mom to come knocking the door because she has not heard from me and is worried. Either way I just can’t allow myself to relax, completely.

 I do feel guilty in a way for sleeping in as I know that I am not at work at the moment and feel idle…as though I should be up doing something productive (Especially when my partner is working, I felt as though he is working so I should be making sure the house is in order for when he gets back). I might subconsciously associate the calling of my name with danger as the first time I recall it happening I was falling asleep whilst in the bath and the voice calling my name was that of my late Nan’s, my chin had just begun to touch the water when I suddenly woke alarmed.

When I first moved into this house 4 years ago with my ex, I gave mom and dad a spare key in case I got locked out, one morning we had both slept in, which is why I had not phoned my mom and I awoke to my Dad standing at the side of my bed with a glass of orange juice, mom sent him around to see if I was okay. My partner recently left the door open when he went out and Dad came in calling my name, I was in bed and startled me again.  

In relation to this little boy, my partner told me I was controlling during a row we had because I can’t allow myself to let him do DIY alone. I have to be there to make sure it’s done right, this I get from my mom. My mom has specific ways of doing things, she used to sit and watch me colour as a child…telling me I must stay in the lines etc. If what my partner does is not right, mom will inspect it (like she does my house and my cleaning every time she visits) and I will get the numerous questions about it when my partner isn’t around. Mom will ask me in a very particular way though, first saying “Do you think this might look better” or “This would have been a better way of doing this.” as though she is trying to push me into doing it how she thinks it should be done but not saying it outright.  This little boy wearing the girl’s trousers is part of this equation…I simply can’t stand that he is wearing girl’s trousers and refuses to believe they are for little girls…it’s the controlling part of me which can’t get past it.

Final Analysis

Me: There is frustration and guilt in this dream and overall TG feels a lack of control in her life due to family childhood conditioning and has a deep desire to feel free to run her own life, however, feels she cannot explain her frustrations to her mother as she fears feeling guilty of going against her Mum or challenging Mum. This is against her deep rooted self- belief system. I do apologise TG but Mum does come across as a wee bit demanding and I wonder if Mum even realises it?

This is the final installment of our dream discussions. Should you wish to explore the previous discussions they are linked in order here. ( 1, 2, 3, 4 )

The Waking and Dream states

When trying to sleep, we fluctuate between the waking and dream states. This blog post explores these states and provides some insight into them.

The waking and dream states – A comparison

In our waking state we are fully conscious, using the conscious mind to make decisions where we employ logic and reasoning. For example, if we walk down a corridor looking for a particular person in one of the rooms, we ourselves will decide which room to enter to find them. If it’s the wrong room that we enter, we simply leave and choose which door to try next.

in our dream state, however, is where the conscious mind is at rest. The unconscious is working solo and it does not understand logic or reason. What’s at work here is the filing cabinet of our memory and experiences (hippocampus) and the emotional control centre (amygdala). Both are house and connected together. The waking state and dream state are in complete contradiction to each other. The dream state is chaotic and surreal. Both states exist entirely separately. We may as well be in parallel universes.

The dream state – A deeper look

The dream state borrows its dream material from the conscious state of what we have already experienced. It cannot detach itself from that reality. When we dream, what we experience in the dream state is the combination of the filing cabinet experiences of our lives and the emotions which attach themselves to those memories. Let’s say it’s like a partnership between the two, i.e. what we feel in our dreams depends on what memory we are visualizing and this will evoke an accompanying emotional response, without any logic. It appears in a bizarre and confusing format not of our understanding.

The waking state – Dream recollection

When back in the waking state, it can be hard to recall all the dream. The knowledge is often fragmented and unclear. We can look at them as jigsaw pieces scattered to the wind, leaving us thinking “what was that all about”.  The selection of the dream material is usually random daily occurrences of little significance. These, none the less, attach themselves to the more in-depth cerebral cells, which carry our heavier weight experiences from the past. Working out the dream from the symbolic snapshots and accompanying emotional feelings takes some investigative work to understand. 

Last week’s dream, for example, highlighted a repressed emotion of fear by being chased in a hay field by an angry farmer. The long forgotten childhood memory of the experience was triggered by seeing a haystack in a field whilst driving in the countryside.

Freud’s Dream Psychology

Sigmund Freud argued that repressed emotions, sometimes as far back as childhood can manifest themselves in dreams, even years later. During the Victorian era is when we discovered that our emotions are evolved physical responses. They are affected by our unconscious minds.

Next week, we will explore another dream and analyse the interpretation of it.

Rationalising dreams – A dream analysis

In this post we explore and discuss an individuals unusual dream. Rationalising dreams means we will break down the dream into components to gain a understanding of why this dream has occured.

In this dream the dreamer is driving in the country side to visit a friend and sees a small field of haystacks in mid-summer.  Next the dreamer is walking down the steps of a country mansion with the friend, heading towards the parkland.  Then the dreamer notices Prince William and Kate in the parkland surrounded by lots of people and sees the friend amongst them.  When the dreamer looks next to themselves the friend has disappeared and they are on the steps alone.  Then the dreamer looks back towards the parkland and sees that there is nothing there and they are completely alone in a large green field surrounded by giant haystacks, the mansion having disappeared and wakes up feeling scared and overwhelmed.


When asked what the dreamer had been doing recently in their life, where they had been and who they had seen and spoken to recently and about what, the dreamer came back with this information.

The dreamer had been to visit the friend in the dream about four days earlier.  The friend lives in a village in Oxfordshire and they had taken a picnic with them to Blenheim Park for an afternoon out.  They talked about having watched the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton three months earlier in April and how beautiful they thought the ceremony had been.

Now the disjointed snapshots made sense, however where did the haystacks come into it?  When asked, the dreamer came back with this.


The dreamer whilst driving in the countryside towards the friend’s house, had noticed some haystacks in a small field. 

Why were they a threat?

When asked why haystacks should pose a threat, the dreamer said that the only circumstances they could relate to was as a child. At about the age of five or six, the dreamer had been playing hide and seek in a field of haystacks with brothers and cousins. They used the haystacks to hide in.  The dreamer spent quite some time in the haystack before hearing angry shouting. Becoming alarmed at this and moving out of the haystack, the whole mound of hay collapsed onto this child.  The dreamer stood up only to see the others running away in the distance and so also started to run. 

Another frightening aspect was that the farmer who gave chase, was closest to her and was shouting that he knew who the kids were and was going to tell the parents. Those parents would have to pay for the damage and that the children would be in serious trouble with the police.


The dreamer had forgotten this childhood experience and now the haystack part of the dream made sense.  The dreamer went on to add that as a recently separated person, there were feelings of abandonment when the children spent weekends with the ex-partner. Despite making an effort to rekindle old friendships they were fearful of what the future may hold and felt the time had come to make new friends.

Our next discussion in the dream series will explore our dream and waking state. There will be comparisons made for us to better understand them.

Where do dreams come from?

Dreams Part 2

Where do our dreams come from?  It’s an interesting question. 

Let’s start with some neuroscience. In a part of our brain called the Limbic System, we have an area which contains all our long term memories, called the “hippocampus”. After all we need a storage system for our vast memories and experiences. Like an endless filling cabinet, we can’t carry all our vast memory systems and experiences around with us in the foremost of our minds on a day to day basis.  Therefore we store them in our filling cabinet. 

It processes almost thirty billion bytes of data per second and it records all our significant experiences that we have, from the time of our birth to our final breath.  The filling cabinet doesn’t recognise logic or reasoning but has its own language.  It recognises – sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and instinct, in other words, it relies on our sensory perceptions. 


Let’s just run a bit further with this. Suppose we’re chatting and a fly passes by us, are we really going to bat an eyelid? After all, a simple fly is quite harmless; it possess no threat, so we wave it away and carry on chatting.  Now, let’s suppose it’s a wasp; now this becomes a potential threat, as a wasp can sting us and cause a reactive pain.  Our audio hearing perceives this threat through our hearing, so we’ll stop talking and look around to see where the threat is.  This is the learnt and conditioned information putting us on high alert and so we react accordingly. 

The same applies with the threat of potential aggression or risk of attack, we react accordingly.  We’ll either remove ourselves from the threat or confront it (flight or fight).  Our sensory perceptions are working for us at an unconscious and conscious level.  A foul smell or taste we don’t like can have us wrinkling our noses or even gagging; a gut feeling can tell us that something is not right.

We’re collecting and gathering files in our filling cabinet and our environmental existence contributes mostly to this.  It forms a blueprint as to how we see and evaluate our internal world about ourselves, as well as the safety of our external world.  In other words, we become shaped by the filling cabinet, good and not so good experiences.  It’s from these file snap shots that our dreams come, randomly all mixed up according to what happening in our lives in the present as well as the past. 

Understanding the connection.

Connected to this integrated function and next to the filling cabinet (hippocampus) is the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotions and fear-learning.  It links areas of the cortex that process higher cognitive information with hypothalamic and brainstem systems that control lower metabolic responses (e.g. touch, pain, sensitivity and respiration).  This allows the amygdala to coordinate physiological responses based on cognitive information. 

If we experience a frightening dream, our body will also react automatically with symptoms such as;

  • rapid heart rate,
  • dry mouth
  • perspiration

This is why we can awaken from a bad dream feeling emotionally overwhelmed or a happy dream only to realise that we are chuckling with laughter.

Next time we’ll explore a weird dream and give it a rational meaning.

Dreams, The Labyrinth of the Unconscious Realm

Dreams part 1

Our dreams come to us from the unconscious part of the mind and speak to us of our hidden fears and desires           

            Many therapists will tell you when working with clients, one of the most common statements made at the start of many a session is “I had the strangest dream the other night” or “I’ve been having really weird dreams lately about ………..” It teaches and shows us that dreams are a large part of the therapeutic process and that therapy has already stated to work well for the client.  If we were to take the view that dreams are snippets of mumbo jumbo, let’s dispel this myth right now and instead ask this question. Why does there always seemed to be a connection between some part of a person’s dream and the issues they encounter in their waking life, before the dream? 

Why do we use the very old term of “Follow your dreams”? 

This is because we know that one of the functions of dreams is to express our desires and gratifications. This is emphasised in the ones we feel too embarrassed to admit to ourselves.  Likewise dreams can also mask our deeper fears and anxieties at a level we can’t even begin to fathom.  Something too horrible to contemplate or too horrific to remember, or something we want to avoid facing up to can become surpressed at a deeper level of the unconscious mind. Past trauma or incident or unhealthy behaviour pattern, begins to manifest itself in the symbolic language of dreams.  Likewise with painful memories, our dreams can have a way of letting us know upon our waking, that unresolved issues are ready to be dealt with.

Such is the power of our dreams, that they can be disturbing. 

When we experience a nightmare, we are known to thrash about in our beds, shout aloud and sob our hearts out; because of the phenomenal gripping power of a dream.  The first waking moments after a nightmare can leave us feeling emotionally overwhelmed and unbearably vulnerable with a pounding heart, accompanied by perspiration and not really sure of what’s reality or fantasy.  We know that we can be left feeling completely disorientated, desolated and even in the pits of despair.  Whatever terminology people use to describe their dreams, we’ve all experienced them from time to time, the ones that throw us off kilter for a while and the wonderful funny and joyous ones we really don’t want to wake up from.  They are a part of us; they live deep within the bottomless labyrinth of the unconscious mind and psyche.

They speak a perplexing language all of their own in symbols. These can be difficult to fathom and can stir up the most disturbing and pleasant of human emotions. This especially in the ones dreampt in vivid colour.


Next time we will be looking at where dreams come from and their symbolic language.