…ask the patient how he feels about his dream images…

Never apply any theory, but always ask the patient how he feels about his dream images. For dreams are always about a particular problem of the individual about which he has a wrong conscious judgment. The dreams are the reaction to our conscious attitude in the same way that the body reacts when we overeat or do not eat enough or when we ill-treat it in some other way. Dreams are the natural reaction of the self-regulating psychic system.

Analytical Psychology: Its Theory and Practice: The Tavistock Lectures. (1935). In CW 18: (retitled) The Tavistock Lectures. pg. 123

I disagree with Jung here. While I think one of the most important questions that can be asked is about the feelings behind the dream images, I don’t think they are “always about” the wrong conscious judgment of an individual. Among other options, dreams can be representative of different aspects or states of the bodily system. My own best example comes from dreaming of a red four cylinder engine that was leaking oil and smoking; I woke up from the dream with the thought in my head I have heart trouble. (www.heartak.com) This dream was not about the wrong conscious attitude, but rather a statement, in metaphorical terms, of a problem within the bodily system.


There is a tendency among psychologists and many dream workers to interpret almost all dreams on a psychological level. In my experience — after studying prodromal dreams (dreams about illness and health) for several years — they are also often about bodily states. (Search for “prodromal” on www.dreamcurrents.com)

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