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Dream decoder: What do your dreams really mean?

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night after a vivid dream and laid in bed wondering what it meant?

News 3 is out to uncover the meaning of dreams through psychoanalytic studies.

Dr. Jerome Blackman, a board-certified psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Virginia Beach, spoke to News 3 about dreaming and the human mind.

"Everybody dreams, but most people don't remember their dreams and we don't know why," said Blackman as he explained the Freudian thought behind dreams and their meaning.

Blackman said every person dreams four to five times a night during Rapid Eye Movement, or REM sleep. Originally, Sigmund Freud thought dreams were wishes but scientists and doctors have learned they are much more than that.

News 3 spoke to dreamers. Cate Curtis told us of a recurring dream she has where ultimately her teeth fall out!

Blackman said a lot of people have dreams about their teeth or other body parts and about harm coming to them. It is often a sign of anxiety about how you look or how your life looks to others.

"Dreams of losing teeth or meeting dead family members and examination dreams where you're not prepared, you don't have your pencil, you're in the wrong room, the exam has been cancelled - probably have the meaning of reassuring the dreamer," said Blackman.

Another dreamer, a single Virginia Beach man, told us about a recurring dream that happens on his future wedding day.

"I've had this dream a couple times where it takes place on my wedding day but it's after the wedding. We are going up the elevator and I see my wife and all I see is the back of her head and I wonder, 'who is this person? Is it going to be déjà vu one day? Do I know this person?'" he said.

Blackman broke down this dream as well saying there is a latent content to the meaning and a symbolic meaning to the dream. In this case Blackman broke it down for us:

"There is a conflict present, he wishes to be married but he's afraid he would not get to know the person well enough before he marries her." But there are other factors at play here, said Blackman. "He (the dreamer) may want to get back to something, we sometime see visual representation of thought in the dreams so whatever the back means."

Night terrors and dreams are not the same and Blackman describes night terrors as a phenomena that only occurs in young children and they are no longer even dreaming, just woken up from a sleep by anxiety. Blackman said usually it has to do with the child's fears for their own aggression and other peoples and being punished.

Children often had bad dreams about the "5 Ds" in Blackman's studies: Dogs, Doctors, Dentists, the Dark and Deep Water. Blackman said these things are fears that children can often not protect themselves from because they are young and defenseless.

Furthermore, dreams and nightmares are not the same either. Blackman said some dreams have deep meaning and some are of mundane things. Nightmares represent crisis and are "evidence of a very serious problem in someone's life," Blackman said.