Two towering figures dominate much of our current understanding of dreams, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. For Freud, the dream serves two principal functions: psychological and physiological. Physiologically they serve to protect sleep by controlling disturbing stimuli. Psychologically, they function as wish fulfilment. Because repression, the mechanism through which we restrain unbearable, threatening fears, wishes, thoughts, is never fully effective, it returns (i.e. return of the repressed) to us through jokes, slips, symptoms and dreams. There are several key ideas in Freud’s theory of dreams: latent content’, ‘manifest content’, ‘dream-work’, ‘repressed wishes’, ‘condensation’, ‘displacement’, ‘dramatization’ and ‘elaboration’. Through dream-work, by disguising repressed desires and wishes, the raw material of the dream (e.g. wishes and fears, thoughts, day residue) is transformed into manifest content.
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