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HCI Book Review: The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams

Author and psychologist Ian Wallace has over thirty years of experience in dealing with dreams and the dreaming process. His first book, Top 100 Dreams, was a national best seller and his latest book, The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams, is a comprehensive handbook for all things dreams. 


Wallace’s Dictionary of Dreams isn’t an exploration of various schools of thought—that is, it doesn’t assemble Freudian or Jungian theories or the viewpoints of ancient civilizations—but rather a listing of practical definitions that can aid the reader in taking “constructive action.” According to Wallace, the definitions in the Dictionary of Dreams “have emerged from over thirty years of working with dreams and by consistently working with dreams to help them identify opportunities that will lead to healthy and fulfilling outcomes.”


With over twelve thousand definitions, the Dictionary of Dreams is all you need to decipher the hidden meanings of your dreams. Before he delves into the “A to Z” definitions, Wallace provides readers with background information that answers the following questions:


  • What are dreams?
  • Why do we dream?
  • How do we remember our dreams?
  • What do our dreams mean?




Additionally, Wallace’s Dream Connection Process gives readers a tried-and-true method for connecting the images in their dreams to opportunities in life while they’re awake. According to Wallace, “the process uses dictionary definitions to ask questions about the imagery you’ve created, enabling you to identify actions you can take.” The Dream Connection Process utilizes the steps of “Using the Definitions,” “Asking Questions,” and “Stating the Actions” to propel readers into positive action. After he describes the various steps, Wallace goes through over twenty dream examples—using common dreams that people encounter—and depicts how the Process works so readers can try it themselves. 


The dictionary itself features words like “aardvark,” which relates to the ability to reveal a deeper understanding of purpose by delving into one’s plans; “fester,” which speaks to the opportunities for motivation that allow an individual to deal with deep-rooted anxieties; and “smorgasbord,” which is about the potential to fulfill an ambition by being open to a variety of options. 


The Dictionary of Dreams is a valuable asset to counselors and therapists working with dream interpretation, as well as to the individuals who are interested in exploring the world of their dreams and deciphering the opportunities those dreams represent in their waking life.

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