In Your Dreams: Falling, Flying, and Other Dream Themes by Gayle Delaney

Do you ever question the imaginations in your wildest dreams, literally? That’s what Gayle Delaney, the author of In Your Dreams, wanted to break down in her “new kind of dream dictionary.” With the uncertainty and curiosity of dreams, people grew more impatient in looking for answers. In her book, she wants the reader to be able to interpret the dream in their own way with little guidance so they can experience the connection directly. She believes the brain works in ways to manipulate dream situations to mimic the conflicts in the reader’s real life. “But I don’t believe in one-size fits-all dream meanings. And after reading just a few pages in this book neither will you,” she says. Without giving straight-forward answers Delaney attempts to explain the personal reasoning for dreams.

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Gayle Delaney is a PhD in clinical psychology and the founding president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. I believe I’m safe to say that Delaney is passionate about her dream studies and is well qualified to write a book on this topic. Because of her occupation, she involved her studies with various patients with dream interpretations as sample dreams in this book. To further help the reader, she also includes what other analysts have said about the given dream topic.

The book begins with guidelines to recalling dreams and “The Dream Interview Method,” which Delaney has formulated to help patients and readers begin the process of analyzing. Then she goes into part one of the book, introducing common dreams and her studies from patients. The results from patients became repetitive and the connections to their lives sounded all too similar. This made me question the accuracy of her findings and if every dream holds the same meanings. In part two, Delaney discusses dream elements that include characters, settings, and objects in dreams. Most of the reasoning relates to portraying celebrities or other famous people in dreams as someone who relates to the reader in real life. The third part of the book ties the knowledge learned from the first two parts together. In using the sample dreams and reading the theories behind the dreams, the reader can now make their own dream studies and share them with other people.

My overall reaction was disappointing. I can blame some of that on myself, because I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting to find in this book. I was perhaps expecting more fascinating interpretations or complex answers to why I dream the things I do. “All of us are naturally curious about the odd, puzzling, sometimes delightful, sometimes terrifying stories that come from our brains in sleep,” she agrees. But what I did get out of the book was that whatever dreams may mean, they don’t have to be so complicated. Since my brain is the one to come up with the dreams, they should be directly related to my life and symbolize a real life conflict or situation into a strange experience that goes on while I sleep.

I think reading a book like this for high school kids isn’t the best because it does not hold much educational value, but I think the book expands the mind into new concepts of dreams. If high school kids were to read this they might undergo the same feelings I did of disappointment and have a realization to the reality of dreams. I am left with more questions than answers from this book. Like, wondering if dreams can even be considered fake or real because of the relation to life experiences. But, what I’ve learned from the book is, “We all want straightforward answers to the puzzles of our dreams. Yet we know that an interpretation that fails to take into account that particular conditions of our lives and personalities and the particular details of our dream can never be accurate.” As simple as the reader wants the answers to be, they aren’t and that’s the take away students could learn from this book.

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