What do your dreams mean?

I’ve been studying dreams for forty-five years. My interest in dream analysis began in my early twenties. At twenty-one, I gave birth to my eldest daughter Tina, who was born with Down Syndrome. Not too long after, I became depressed and was fortunate to end up with a brilliant psychoanalyst. Back then I wasn’t as well able to articulate my feelings, but I’m a dreamer! We did probably eighty percent of my psychoanalysis through dream interpretation.

That’s where I learned, in fact, we are problem solving in our dreams. My fascination led me to these years of studying different perspectives about dreams and their meaning.

While dreams are a true avenue to looking deeper, I am a first things first kind of person, so I always begin by looking at what event triggered the dream. At the first level, the dream is about something that either happened to you, or that you thought about yesterday. The dream is you having a discussion with yourself about a very specific current issue in your life you are attempting to problem solve.

I use six basic points of entry to help the dreamer connect the dream to that specific problem:

  • Feelings
  • Symbols
  • Play on Words and Puns
  • Action
  • Plot
  • Rote

A little while ago, I was a guest on the Wise Women CJAD Radio Show, and thought I would share a few afterthoughts about my experience that night.

One gentleman recalled, “I am standing at the bow of a big ship, holding on. It’s a ‘tall ship’. I’m at the front end. It’s like the Titanic and it’s travelling up a main Downtown street. There is traffic, and incidental features, along the sides lined with tall buildings.” He added,  “I’m enjoying the ride.”

In responding so honestly to my questions, the dreamer shared sadly, that after many years of marriage, he recently lost his wife.

Titanic: Wise Women Canada

When working on radio and having to complete a call in one minute or less you must be quick on your feet. I accomplish this requirement by following the first point of entry that hits me. Using the language of the dreamer, in this caller’s case it was his final comment, “I’m enjoying the ride.”

I explained how when a very sad event happens to us, we might stay sad long enough that we forget what feeling good feels like.  That’s when you might have a dream in which you rehearse “enjoying”.  It’s a reminder to take that feeling and run with it!

I explained to the dreamer, “Your dream seems healthy to me. After all, you could have said, ‘I was falling off a tall building, and dropping to the ground!’ But you didn’t have that kind of dream.”

While I maintain my initial thought about his dream, I think it is so poignant how he referred to the ship as being like the Titanic. What a bitter, yet appropriate choice of metaphor in a story of lost love!

Deeper yet, (pardon the pun), is how the Tall Ship the dreamer is on is not travelling on water. It is on a main street in the middle of Downtown. Imagine the heavy weight of a ship moving on a Downtown road? Now that can’t be easy!

Using Dr. Montague Ullman’s Dream Group Model, that image makes me say to myself, “If this were my dream, that ship would be me, literally, holding on, trying to stand tall in the face of difficulty, but to be sure, having a hard time moving and getting around.”  

Polarities present themselves not just to our waking-self, but to our sleeping-self as well. That internal touch of ambiguity we possess, serves to maintain balance.

If this were my dream, I am slowly moving myself along in a world full of incidentals, and somehow, at the same time, I know to appreciate the time I have left here. I am enjoying the ride.

About me and Afterthoughts

In analyzing a dream, once I feel I’ve said all I have to say, I let it go. I’m on to the next mystery. When I have an afterthought about a dream though, it sticks to me!!

I have made a habit of sometimes asking dreamers, “If I have afterthoughts about your dream, would you like to know what they are?”

I recently started doing Free Dreaminars in which I do one to one dream analysis live on YouTube. When I have afterthoughts now it’s great because I get to film it and tack the ideas on to the end of the film!

-Layne Dalfen


Her NEW and FREE DREAMINARS, featured live on YouTube, dream analyst Layne Dalfen, founded The Dream Interpretation Center in Montreal in 1997. Layne’s interest in dreams stems from her early experience in Freudian analysis where dream work was the primary tool. Combining insight from Freud, Adler, Jung and Perls’ Gestalt Physchology, her focus is introducing the general public to the value of decoding our dreams. She does this by teaching easy to grasp ideas about how to uncover the solutions to our current issues that appear in our dreams every night. In her book Dreams Do Come True; Decoding Your Dreams To Discover Your Full Potential Layne takes a down-to-earth and easy to understand approach to dream analysis.

She has appeared on over 150 radio shows across America, including CJAD in her hometown, Montreal. She has been featured on numerous TV networks including NBC, ABC, FOX, CTV and CITY TV. Layne sat on The Board of Directors of The International Association for the Study of Dreams. She has been a lecturer for the Counseling students at Concordia University since 2005 and has written articles for magazines both in Canada and The US. Layne is also well known at Rancho La Puerta Spa in Mexico, and has conducted workshops at both Canyon Ranch Spas, and Old Stone Farm in the United States.


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