A dream life

Shadow world: Understand your dreams and you understand yourself.

The imagery of sleep is an insight into our lives, says Abi Jackson.

THE meanings of dreams fascinate us. Dream psychologist, and author of Top 100 Dreams, Ian Wallace says dreams can be understood.

“We use dreams as a sense-making process,” says Wallace, who has analysed 170,000 dreams during his three-decade career.

“Every day, we absorb millions and millions of pieces of information, unconsciously, that we can’t consciously process, either because we don’t notice them or that they’re too confusing or paradoxical.

“Dreaming’s evolved as a way of making sense of all the information we unconsciously absorb, and all the experiences and emotions that occur during the day.”


¦ Being chased: This doesn’t mean you’re being pursued in life. “If you dream you’re being pursued, there’s something in waking life that you’re in pursuit of, and there’s something you’re trying to identify, that you’re unsure of and that’s getting in your way,” says Wallace. “One of the most powerful things you can do, in a chase dream, is turn around and ask your pursuer who they are and what they need. Usually, you get a very powerful answer.”

¦ Teeth falling out: “Teeth symbolise power and confidence,” says Wallace. “We tend to show our teeth on two occasions — when we’re happy and smiling, and when we’re snarling, asserting our anger. If you dream your teeth are falling out, or crumbling, there’s something in waking life that’s causing your feelings of power and confidence to diminish in some way.”

¦ Can’t find a toilet/exposed on the toilet: “This is all about tending to your needs,” says Wallace. “Often, in waking life, people tend to look after others’ needs, rather than their own. When you can’t find the toilet in a dream, there’s something in waking life where you need to express your needs to another person, but you feel guilty and ashamed about doing that and think it might end up being quite messy. Very often, in dreams, the toilet’s missing a door or walls, and it seems you’re missing personal boundaries.”

¦ Naked or semi-naked in public: This is about feeling exposed. “For example, if you’ve started a new job, or perhaps a new relationship, you might be lacking confidence in yourself and your talents,” says Wallace. “Sometimes, to really show your talents in life, you have to open up a bit and be vulnerable.”

¦ Unprepared for an exam: Exams are about “judging our abilities and capabilities”, says Wallace. “People who have this dream may be a little too self-critical in real life, and maybe too judgemental of their own abilities. So the action for this dream is, instead of being so self-critical and doubting of your talents, you should be celebrating them and feeling proud.”  


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