Dream Interpretation 101

I could not teach Dream Interpretation 201, or the advanced seminar, Special Topics in Dream Interpretation, because I am a failure at dream interpretation. In fact, unlike Freud, I’m not much of a believer in the whole dream thing, mostly because my own mind is too simple. I dread clients’ asking me about their dreams, and often fall back on the old standard: “What do you think it might mean?” This way, I can learn from their insightful interpretations.

Forget the notion of dreams as symbolic; my dreams simply reflect my day-to-day life. You may be much deeper than me and have dreams that can be interpreted on many levels. Not me, I’m afraid. My dreams are painfully transparent, not replete with mysterious hidden meanings.

Those dreams we all have of falling? Mine occur when I have rolled so close to the edge of my bed that I am at risk of falling off. I’ve also admitted previously to dreaming about having to pee very very badly when I have  to pee very very badly. (Thankfully, I always wake up before I wet the bed.) For years I dreamt that I was late or ill prepared for an exam, I couldn’t find the exam room, I kept getting held up, I was in a panic. I’d have this dream the night before an exam. Even my unconscious is concrete and predictable.

Sometimes I dream that I or someone close to me has cancer. Not surprising since I have leukemia. I had these dreams infrequently before I was diagnosed with cancer. (Maybe my psyche was deeper then.) I’d awaken in a panic. Now, although I may be a bit unsettled when I wake up, I quickly remind myself that I already do have cancer. Why worry about something I’ve already got? So I roll over and go back to sleep.

Last night, I had a dream I’ve had several times since resuming work after suspending my practice. In the dream, I mess up a scheduled appointment by not getting back to my office in time, double booking, or forgetting altogether. Now, just so you know, these behaviours would be highly out of character, although I did double book twice in the year prior to my leukemia diagnosis. That same year I had three car accidents, in addition to a variety of other gross attention lapses. (FYI: Swiss cheese can survive the freezer.) When I had the dream last night, I reminded myself that I am currently seeing only one client per week. Hard to double book or not show up when you only have one person to keep track of. So far, since my return, I’ve shown up to every single client on time. Maybe this dream has run its course.

And so today’s client arrived at the appointed time, and I was there waiting and ready. And thankfully there was no discussion of dreams, the client’s or mine.

Baby sleeping on back with arms outstretched, broad smile on face.

I might be able to interpret this dream.


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