Censorship in Dreams

Censorship in Dreams

(dreams)

The notion that dreams provide an avenue for the expression of normally repressed desires while simultaneously disguising and censoring our real urges was systematically formulated by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. In Freud’s view, the purpose of dreams is to allow us to satisfy in fantasies the instinctual urges that society judges to be unacceptable in some way, such as the infantile urge to kill a repressive parent. If, however, we were to dream about the actual, overt murder of one of our parents, the emotions evoked by the dream would wake us up. So that our sleep is not continually disturbed by such dreams, the part of the mind that Freud called the censor modifies and disguises the content of our dreams so that such strong emotions are not evoked. Thus, instead of killing a parent, we might dream about our brother (a projection of ourselves) throwing our employer (a parental figure) out of a window. Freud referred to the process of censoring and transforming dream contents into less disturbing images as the dreamwork and explicitly identified five processes through which dreams are censored: displacement, condensation, symbolization, projection, and secondary revision.

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