Dreams embody the unconscious events in the mind in different phases of sleep. As the "royal path to the unconscious," dreams allow access to parts of the mind that are inaccessible through conscious thinking. According to Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory, dreams - like most psychological experiences - can be understood through two different levels: manifest and latent.

The manifest content can be interpreted as the information that a person consciously remembers. It consists of all elements of the actual images, thoughts and contents within a dream, which the individual cognitively remembers upon awakening.
Clearly separated from the manifest content, the latent content of the dream illustrates the hidden meaning of unconscious thoughts, instincts and desires. The subconscious actively suppresses what can be revealed from the latent content in order to protect the individual from primitive feelings that are particularly difficult to master.

By "Traumarbeit" Sigmund Freud understood both the production of a manifest, concretely remembered dream of the dreamer and, in the opposite sense, the work of the dream interpreter to crystallize the hidden dream thoughts out of the manifest dream content. Through the interpretation of dreams, the dream work of the dreamer is revived. This work is the result of a censorship or distortion process through which the unconscious dream thoughts can cross the threshold of consciousness.

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