Jung’s Dream Interpretation Method

After first using Freud’s method of free associations, Jung considered that this approach did not take into account the whole dreamlike framework. It inevitably reduced subjects to complexes, complexes which were not necessarily part of the dream.

He then decided to decompose the dreams to extract all their substance and try to establish the meaning, or rather the senses at the different levels of interpretation.

He took each of the elements of a dream and, without a preconceived opinion on how this image got there, proceeded concentrically to deepen the meaning of the image. He called his method amplification. But Jung found insufficient the technique of decomposing the dream into its elements, reminiscences, and motivations. For him, this way of proceeding reached its limits.

Dream symbols are no longer reduced to reminiscences or personal volitions, that is to say as soon as images of the collective unconscious arise.

There are psychic materials that seem to make very little sense in the context of analytical dissection. If, by amplification, we isolate them, if we search, using conscious means, all the allusions that can relate to them, they then reveal their significant fullness. It is then necessary to carry out a synthesis to integrate all the data collected into an understandable general expression.

It can be said, with regard to this technique of interpretation, that Jung continued Freud’s work by expanding it. There is, however, one point on which their views diverge more deeply.

A divergence between Freud and Jung

Freud, according to Jung, took a courageous step to give meaning to the dream but he made his observations in the field of psychopathology. He thinks that dreams, like neurotics, are concealers.

If the latent content of my dream is thus distorted, distorted into its opposite … the distortion is willed, it is a process of concealment. The dreams would then be a simple facade behind which something is intentionally hidden.

Jung firmly refutes this vision of dream psychology.

There is no doubt that neurotics hide bad things, just like normal people probably do. But is it legitimate to extend such a conception to a phenomenon as normal and as widespread in the world as the dream? He doubted that we have to admit that a dream is anything other than what it seems to be. He would rather refer to another Judaic authority, namely the Talmud, who says that the dream can be explained by itself. In other words, He took the dream for what it is.

For him, the dream is a “natural event”. The unconscious is autonomous, it has its project and we see no valid reason for it to be a cunning invention intended to deceive us. The dream does not hide, it exposes. This is why we must avoid analyzing it with too much boldness or distrust. You just have to welcome it, as it stands, and contemplate it, and finally become aware of what it expresses in its totality.

Interpretation is a story of relationships

We must now explore a relational domain, which has the characteristic of being rooted in a common background. We will indeed see that the interpretation of dreams is, once again, a story of relationships.

Relation between the unconscious and the conscious Ego of the dreamer if he is alone in front of the dreamlike contributions of the unconscious.

Relationship between the dreamer, ie the analysing mind, and the analyst. This relationship forms a loop that passes through the unconscious of the two protagonists. This common ground is at the origin of the possibility of interpretation.

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