Dreams about being chased are a fairly common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one have been covering this ground at night, you may have questions about what it all might mean. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Richard Nicoletti, J.D., a psychotherapist trained at the Jung Institute in Boston, to get expert advice about the meanings of your or your loved one’s dreams about being chased. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occurred or is recurring.
What do dreams about being chased mean? Dreaming about being chased generally means that you are "being told by your unconsciousness that you're avoiding an issue or a person," Nicoletti explains. In such dreams, context is important, which includes identifying the chaser. "Who is chasing you matters," says Nicoletti. "Is it a male, female, animal, or an unknown being in the darkness?"
What can I learn about myself from dreaming about being chased? A person could learn that he or she is running from his or her emotions, a common belief about being chased in dreams. "You may be avoiding something painful, annoying or fearful," says Nicoletti.
Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about being chased? If there are any tricks, Nicoletti is not a proponent of using them to avoid dreams about being chased. "It could be a wake-up call," he says. "Trying to avoid the issue could lead to more recurring dreams."
Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about being chased? Dreaming about being chased is "not usually literal," says Nicoletti. A person's culture can influence details of the chase, however. "If it's a car, that's a symbol of the West," he says, "while someone from another culture might be chased on horseback or by rickshaw." Sometimes the method of the chase may not reflect a person's personal experiences, an experience called "transpersonal consciousness."
Who tends to have dreams about being chased most frequently? The majority of people dream about being chased. It's both "universal" and "natural," says Nicoletti. "Over a lifespan, if one didn't have a dream about being chased, it would be very unusual."
What if you dream of chasing someone else? Dreaming about chasing someone else has a lot to do with the person you are chasing. "It could be libidinous, in the Freudian sense -- chasing someone attractive," suggests Nicoletti. "In the Jungian sense, libido is defined as life energy."
Richard Nicoletti, J.D., was a lawyer (Cornell and Boston University law schools) for 37 years before retiring in 2000 and going on to study at the Jung Institute of Boston. He currently lives in Keene, N.H., where he has a private practice in Jungian psychotherapy and works at a family services program.