Is your Unconscious Speaking to You?

Grossmont psychology professor delves into the meaning of dreaming.

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Desmond J. Rhea, Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered what dreams are about or if any meaning is behind the sometimes-unexplainable images in your head? Maybe it’s just a random chemical process that our brains go through, but some professionals see them as the key to the unconscious mind.

Psychoanalysis is a set of psychological theories that includes therapies to help people struggling with mental disorders. This also involves views about dream interpretation. Some hypotheses attempt to prove that dreams are powerful indicators that reveal something unknown is processing in the minds during sleep.

Grossmont College Psychology Professor Susmita Thukral said she believes that dream interpretation is a useful method for understanding the unconscious mind. 

Something that terrifies us might also excite us. On the surface, a dream that looks like it’s all about fear and terror may actually be, when you start analyzing it, a hidden wish or a desire that needs to be understood.”

— Susmita Thukral

Thukral explained that psychoanalysis is not as prevalent of an approach to understanding people as it used to be, along with dream interpretation. Psychoanalysis is an intense therapy approach where a person meets with a specialist multiple times, usually on a consistent basis. This method can be time-consuming, and health insurance does not always cover the cost.

Thukral referenced pioneers of psychiatry, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, explaining their beliefs on dreams. She attested that their findings are still relevant, and their work helped lead the way to several different fields.

“If you decode a person’s dream, you’ll find themes that a person is struggling within their life,” Thukral said. “Sometimes dreams are really vivid, and they’re powerful and very emotionally stunning, it’s because our mind has a need to sort of process intense emotional states.”

When we are stressed, our dreams may be more intense, but Thukral stated, “that doesn’t necessarily mean we will remember them.” She said we dream every night, even though we don’t remember every dream, and some dreams are so intense that our mind is protecting us from recognizing them.

“It’s a very painful thing for us to be fully aware of everything we are dealing with emotionally,” Thukral said. “The fact that we forget our dreams is a pointer to the fact that maybe the dream was really intense. She suggested that analyzing powerful dreams such as nightmares is imperative. Thukral finds that analyzing symbols in dreams is crucial because they tell us that something deep in our lives is bothersome.

She described: “Something that terrifies us might also excite us. On the surface, a dream that looks like it’s all about fear and terror may actually be, when you start analyzing it, a hidden wish or a desire that needs to be understood.”

Thrukral suggested that we should see dreams as our friends because they are unveiling issues that individuals are going through. So It might be worth looking into the abyss of our minds but know they might be looking right back at us.

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