Hartquist’s Dream Analysis


By Elianna Cohen

What did you dream last night? Psychology teacher Jon Hartquist incorporates dream analysis into a unit of his psychology course, because he believes dreams give us a chance to mull things over. In the dream analysis process, students’ dreams are looked at in context of their lives. “When you see things in your dream, it is like a rehearsal, so when it happens in real life it will feel familiar,” Hartquist said. “[During this time of the college process] students’ dreams increase in anxiety, students are chased more, and their dreams become increasingly violent. I think if you’re at school all day, you don’t really have time to reflect on the day, so it comes through in your sleep.”

Julia Daniel – Junior

“I was at school giving a speech on top of Wood Hall. I was giving a speech standing next to the clock tower on the roof. It was snowing on Orange Court. I slid off the roof, and there were a bunch of people sledding in Orange Court. I was thinking about school, probably thinking about how everyone was going on vacation skiing and we didn’t go skiing.”

Hartquist says…
“The snow symbolizes a fresh start, a fresh take on school,” Hartquist said. He mentioned that in Daniel’s context, she may have dreamt about snow because she watched a movie about snow in school, and it was where she wanted to be. While Hartquist feels it is dangerous to read too much into symbolism because it is like fortune telling, he believes giving a speech in a dream may indicate a fear of public speaking.


“I had a dream that I was sent to rehab, and so I ran away with this dude from Glee and lived in Florida and went to school there. I was with people from Glee, which reminded me how I watched Glee. I [had also] went to the AA meeting at tutorial,” said the student.

Hartquist says…
In context, Hartquist attributed going to rehabilitation because the student had a knee injury and because the student went to an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting. “[The student] running away in [the student’s] dream maybe means [the student may be] trying to run away from drinking and experience something different,” said Hartquist. “Running away in general means you are trying to avoid an issue.”


“I was in my house and we just finished dinner and then the police came and took off my jacket and I had blood on my hands. The police are like, “You have to take a blood test to see whose blood it was, and it was mine. [Perhaps] it was because I read Macbeth that day.”

Hartquist says…
Hartquist provided a simple and direct analysis for the dream. “Anybody [reading MacBeth] would have bloody dreams after reading that story,” he said. In a symbolic interpretation, having blood on your hands signifies that you are experiencing some sort of guilt. To dream that you are in handcuffs, suggest that something or someone is holding back your success. It could also mean that you are experiencing a loss of power and effectiveness. Your own fears and doubts may be holding you back.

Written by Elianna Cohen. This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue.