IMPORTANT: Dream analysis can be traumatic. This is not a medical site. If you suspect you have a medical problem or serious emotional disturbance you should consult your doctor.


IMPORTANT: Dream analysis can be traumatic. This is not a medical site. If you suspect you have a medical problem or serious emotional disturbance you should consult your doctor

Fritz Perls'

Theory of Dreams

Gestalt Therapy

The basis of gestalt therapy is looking at the moment - the whole moment and nothing but the moment. Rather than hide behind intellectual analysis, gestalt therapy emphasises direct perception of what one is feeling at the moment and how one is behaving.

Fritz Perls began as a Freudian analyst then during the 1940s went on to develop "gestalt therapy". As the name suggests, gestalt therapy takes a very holistic approach to psychotherapy.

A major goal of gestalt work is to live fully in the present and in doing so to gain insight into ourselves and hence stimulate growth.

Perls' Dream Interpretation

The Gestalt Approach

Perls' theory of dreams follows the holistic nature of gestalt therapy. Dreams are seen as being projections of parts of oneself. Often these are parts that have been ignored, rejected or even suppressed. One aim of gestalt dream analysis is to accept and reintegrate these.

The dream needs to be accepted in its own right - not broken down and analysed out of existence as something unique to the bedroom.

As with all gestalt therapy, dream analysis involves much dialogue and acting out. The dreamer is encouraged to enter into dialogue with the various aspects of the dream. The dreamer will also be encouraged to take the part of the dream elements, to act out the dream from their perspective. This applies as much to inanimate as to animate objects.

So, for example, if you dream of being chased across a field you might begin a dialogue where you turn to face the pursuer and start asking him/her/it questions. Then you might take the place of the pursuer and start describing the chase from that point of view. This process could then be repeated from the perspective of a tree in the field overlooking the chase - a new perspective that could bring unexpected realisation.

An important factor of Perls' theory of dreams is that little if any emphasis is given to "universal" symbols. All symbolism is unique in that it comes from the dreamer and only the dreamer can truly interpret it. In this way gestalt dream analysis does away with the concept of the analyst as expert.