The role of dream analysis for exploring emotional content during early adolescence

  • A C Jones
  • S Schulze
  • I Sonnekus
Keywords: dreams, dream analysis, emotional problems, female, adolescent


The purpose of the study reported in this article was to determine whether dream analysis can provide insight into the emotional problems of female adolescents. A number of classical and contemporary theories on dreams and dream analysis were used to design guidelines for dream analysis. This was followed by a qualitative study of five purposefully selected adolescent girls with emotional problems. Data gathering included the following: recorded dreams, interviews, diaries, a personality test, (the Emotions Profile Index), a projection medium (Three Wishes) and the above-mentioned guidelines for dream analysis. Findings indicated that insights may be gained into adolescent emotional problems by means of dream analysis, revealing the intrapsychic world of the individual. Emotional problems that were revealed by the dream analysis, include(d) anxiety, aggression, negative self-concepts, feelings of social isolation and depression. These were revealed by means of manifest dream content such as being chased, falling, biting, fighting and stabbing. The emotional problems were often caused by fear, conflict, lack of confidence or trauma. Compensatory and regulatory functions were revealed by the investigation.

Keywords: dreams; dream analysis; emotional problems; female, adolescent

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 10 (2) 2005: pp. 33-46

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848