In 1953, Calvin S. Hall developed a theory of dreams in which dreaming is considered to be a cognitive process. Hall argued that a dream was simply a thought or sequence of thoughts that occurred during sleep, and that dream images are visual representations of personal conceptions. For example, if one dreams of being attacked by friends, this may be a manifestation of fear of friendship; a more complicated example, which requires a cultural metaphor, is that a cat within a dream symbolizes a need to use one’s intuition. For English speakers, it may suggest that the dreamer must recognise that there is “more than one way to skin a cat”, or in other words, more than one way to do something.
Faraday, Clift, et al.
In the 1970s, Ann Faraday and others helped bring dream interpretation into the mainstream by publishing books on do-it-yourself dream interpretation and forming groups to share and analyze dreams. Faraday focused on the application of dreams to situations occurring in one’s life. For instance, some dreams are warnings of something about to happen – e.g. a dream of failing an examination, if one is a student, may be a literal warning of unpreparedness. Outside of such context, it could relate to failing some other kind of test. Or it could even have a “punny” nature, e.g. that one has failed to examine some aspect of his life adequately.
Faraday noted that “one finding has emerged pretty firmly from modern research, namely that the majority of dreams seem in some way to reflect things that have preoccupied our minds during the previous day or two.”
In the 1980s and 1990s, Wallace Clift and Jean Dalby Clift further explored the relationship between images produced in dreams and the dreamer’s waking life. Their books identified patterns in dreaming, and ways of analyzing dreams to explore life changes, with particular emphasis on moving toward healing and wholeness.