Theories of Dreams Freud believed the dream to be composed of two parts. The manifest and the latent content. The manifest content can be thought of as what a person would remember as soon as they wake – what they would consciously describe to someone else when recalling the dream. Freud suggested that the manifest content possessed no meaning whatsoever because it was a disguised representation of the true thought underlying the dream. On the other hand, the latent content holds the true meaning of the dream – the forbidden thoughts and the unconscious desires. These appear in the manifest content but will be disguised and unrecognisable.
Although in rare cases the manifest and latent content can be indistinguishable (Freud referred to these as ‘Infantile dreams’). The process by which the latent content is transformed into the manifest content is known as the “dream work”. The dream work can disguise and distort the latent thoughts in the following four ways: 1: Condensation: Two or more latent thoughts are combined to make up one manifest dream image or situation. 2: Displacement: Instead of directing the emotion or desire toward the intended person or object it is transferred onto a meaningless / unrelated object in the manifest dream. : Symbolism: Where complex or vague concepts are converted into a dream image. For this, the mind may use the image of a similar sounding (more recognizable) word instead or use a similar looking less intrusive object. According to Freud, dream symbols are for the most part sexual in meaning thus many dreams (but not all) have Venice Vergara Lucas: : Secondary Revision: This is the final stage of the dream work. According to Freud, this is where the dream loses ‘the appearance of absurdity and incoherence. In essence, secondary revision can be thought of as the ways in which the dream work covers up the contradiction and attempts to reorganise the dream into a pattern in sync with the dreamer’s experience of everyday life. Freud used the method of ‘free association’ to discover the underlying meaning behind the dream (latent content). A patient would describe a dream as accurately as possible (manifest content). The patient would then be told to focus on a specific element of the dream and form as many associations as they could. Essentially, allowing the patient to let their mind wander. This would continue until all manifest cont