Freud believed in five stages of personality and he saw dreams as manifestations of desired stemming from each of these five stages. To Freud personality formation consisted of:
Stage One – Oral/Dependency
Freud’s theory was that any needs not satisfied during the oral/dependency stage would cause the person to go through life trying to meet them. Thus, to Freud habits such as overeating, drinking to much and smoking were all oral fixations. People suffering from these oral fixations often dreamed about their unmet needs and desires.
Stage Two – Anal/Potty Training
Freud held that improper potty training could traumatize a child and cause him or her to become anal retentive, rigid and controlling. Such traumatized children often develop obsessive compulsive disorders as well. Recurring dreams of being out of control, such as dreams of falling were common in such people.
Stage Three – Phallic
According to Freud the personality is completely developed by the time stage three rolls around. The third stage of personality is identified with the Oedipus and Electra complexes. The Oedipus complex represents the love a male child feels toward the mother, coupled with fear and jealousy of the male parent. The Electra complex is the female version of Oedipus in which the female child feels anger toward the mother and develops “penis envy.”
Stage Four – Latency
Unlike the other stages the latency period is a time of relative calm. During this stage, the aggression and sexual urges are less intense and little psycho-sexual conflict is exhibited.
Stage Five – Genital
This is the period of sexual maturity and the creation and enhancement of life. The stage of sexual maturity is where reproduction, intellectual activity and artistic pursuits take place.
Freud believed that wish fulfillment was the source of dreams and that dreamers used dreams as a way to satisfy the fixations they had developed during childhood. In addition, issues like power and control frequently manifested themselves in dreams. The central part of Freud’s dream theory was that thoughts and desires repressed during the day were free to run wild during the dream stage.