The history of psychology, and especially of the psychoanalytic tradition begun with Sigmund Freud, is closely linked to the interpretation of dreams. It makes many people wonder what it means to dream about the same person every night, Or at least with a relatively high frequency.
To answer this question, one must first understand what people like Freud understood to be dreams and what contemporary psychology related to neuroscience means by them.
Freud and the Interpretation of Dreams
For the father of psychoanalysis, the dream was a means by which the unconscious manifests itself indirectly in our thoughts. From this point of view, much of what we dream of is actually a set of symbols about feelings and thoughts which have been confined to the subconscious because they are too stressful or unbearable to be processed by the conscious mind.
According to Freud, some of the content of the unconscious that our mind tries to repress so that its existence is not noticed much are not in themselves traumatic memories but desires and thoughts that must be hidden by their immoral implications.
It has a lot to do with the theory of self-structures, according to which there is an entity called This related to the most basic and emotional desires and impulses, another so-called superego that represents all the moral norms and impositions related to the idea. . of perfection, and another called me who arbitrates the relationship between the other two so that we do not enter into crisis.
Therefore, dreams might express repressed desires, And this would be noticed in the case of dreaming a lot of the same person.
Does this mean that there is sexual desire?
Although Freudian psychoanalysis is known to place a lot of emphasis on human sexuality understood as a psychological energy that motivates us to behave one way and not another, this does not mean that we dream every night of it. same person means we want it, this psychodynamic. tradition. For example, it could mean that we would like to take revenge on this person, or that this figure is in fact the symbol that is used to represent an abstract idea.
This means that, from psychoanalysis, there is no single, simple and universal answer to the question of what it always means to dream about someone. Historically, finding an answer was one of the main tasks of psychoanalysts, which meant that they had to go through several sessions until a conclusion was reached. In other words, it has been considered on a case-by-case basis, as one of the characteristics of symbols is that they can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways.
So, to find the right interpretation, it was necessary to know the whole psychological background of a person in order to detect certain tendencies or reasonable explanations from an analysis of the whole.
All this based on the paradigm of psychoanalysis, of course. However … What does current psychology say about this?
A science-based interpretation
Contemporary psychology, unlike psychoanalysis, is based on the scientific method, which means that it aspires to create scientific theories from falsifiable assumptions. This means that all those explanations which are so abstract and imprecise that they cannot be refuted by contrast with reality are rejected. And the psychoanalytic explanation of the human mind is very abstract and based on claims that cannot be proven, as criticized by science philosopher Karl Popper.
That is why, for the subject in question, the explanation for the fact that we dream a lot about a person is relatively simple. We dream of this person because we keep his memory alive and we often think of him or in the concepts associated with it.
There are no repressed desires, no memories blocked by what is called “consciousness”: there is simply a phase of sleep in which the memories of concepts which are already in our brain are “activated” in a way. relatively chaotic, creating strange sequences of ideas. And, the more the groups of neurons that simultaneously “ignite” evoke a concept, the more likely it is to happen again in the future.
A matter of attention
What happens in our dreams is not a reflection of our repressed desires, but, in a general sense, of what we value in an abstract sense. This is why, for example, in many of them, we dream that our life or that of someone important is in danger, because death is something that worries us and leaves a deep imprint in our memory of experiences related to this concept. The same goes for people close to us: we have thought a lot about them, and that it is reflected in its frequency of occurrence in dreams.
Of course, the importance we place on these elements doesn’t tell us anything about what we want to do or about these specific concerns that populate our minds, as part of our nervous system would have to “encode” the key messages. only in sleep; which makes no sense or is useful.
So, you know, if you dream about a person a lot, don’t worry about trying to unravel the hidden meanings of possible traumas or desires that aren’t really there. If nothing indicates that you have a problem, chances are you don’t; as simple as that.