Mapping Your Dreams
31 March 1995
What are dreams made of? Does dreaming about flying symbolize high aspirations or an attempt to experience happiness?
Or is it only a reaction to spicy Mexican food eaten last night?
"Dreams mirror the themes in our lives," says Michael Wannon, a psychologist at The Catholic University of America. During waking hours, there is not enough time to digest every significant occurrence. "You may see something that strikes a chord for you and be so busy, you don't realize it. Dreaming allows you to sort events out and express how you feel about them," he says. Wannon believes that analyzing dreams is a way to gain personal insight and identify the conflicts and issues in our lives.
"It is a myth that people can receive definite answers from a psychiatrist about what dreams tell. The most qualified person to explain your dreams is you," he says.
"While there may be common symbols and scenarios in all dreams, each person creates his or her own symbols to reflect personal realities."
Wannon offers these tips for interpreting dreams:
- Write down as many details as possible while they are still fresh in your mind.
- Separate the individual elements of a dream. If you dreamed about having a picnic alone on top of a mountain, isolate all the parts that made up the dream: being alone, being on a picnic, and sitting on top of a mountain.
- Ask what each element means. Does a picnic suggest happiness or freedom? Does the top of a mountain suggest a plateau or an answer? What does being alone mean for you?
- Once you understand the meaning behind the symbols, question their significance. If a picnic means freedom, ask why you are dreaming about it. Is it something that you are looking for, that you have found, or that you are afraid of finding?
- Attempt to connect the elements and their meanings. If the top of a mountain suggests something sacred, and spending time alone is something rare, your unconscious may be telling you to take some time for yourself.
Michael Wannon is available for interviews at 202-319-5765.
Don't miss our most recent News Releases or our on-line speech texts.
To the Top of this page
Return to the News Release main page
Return to the News Release Archive main page
The Catholic University of America home page
Any questions or comments? email@example.com
Revised: 27 October 1997
All contents copyright © 1997.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.