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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:

Michael Wannon is available for interviews at 202-319-5765.


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Revised: 27 October 1997

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