Animal Phobias

Some research suggests that our dream animal may represent a conscious phobia, and that left handed people, or those from a family in which left-handedness is frequent, may suffer phobia more frequently than people who are right handed. This is thought to arise out of the way the two brain hemispheres inter-relate. For instance the left hemisphere deals with rational thought and verbal concepts; the right deals with non-verbal ideas and feeling responses.

In most men and in right-handed people, the division of activity between the brain hemispheres is marked. In these cases the two hemispheres are said to be ‘lateralised.’ But in women and people who are left-handed, the brain’s hemispheres share many functions and are not so segregated, and the hemispheres are less lateralised.

In studying the frequency of animal phobias in left-handed people, the psychologist Paul Chemtob, found that left-handedness occurred in twenty percent of phobics whose problem was bad enough for them to seek treatment. Chemtob believes that where the lateralisation of the brain is high, the rational left side of the brain inhibits the action of the feeling responses in the right. In left-handed people however, this inhibiting action is not so pronounced, so the feeling reactions arising in the right brain hemisphere more readily break through into consciousness. This may explain why ninety five percent of phobic sufferers are women, and many of the men are left handed.

Connecting this with the animals we dream about, waking animal phobias, unless rooted in an actual encounter with an animal – for instance being bitten by a dog – may still represent our personal struggle with and fear of our own instinctive reactions and feelings. It is also probably true that all of us, left-handed or not, experience deeply moving feeling reactions such as anxiety in response to many events of our everyday life. But as Chemtob’s findings suggest, some people are physiologically, and thus also psychologically, better equipped to deal with such high levels of impulse than others. This can be thought of as a stronger or more resistant threshold for impulses such as fear or aggression to pass through before they impact upon the conscious personality. Therefore, in some people, such as women in general, and the left-handed in particular, their ‘animal’ is a much more insistent beast in their life.


-EMMZIBOBS 2011-02-11 10:38:32

i had a dream about my partner, who doesnt take drugs. he was in a room filled with crack users, and he was using himself..i am an ex user, and my ex boyf too. it was like my current boyfreind had turned into him, smoking drugs, paying no attention to me, and just didnt want to know me.but he still looked like my partner.then i was out on the street, pitch black and my dog(german shperd)was attacking a baby puppy. this is NOT in his nature..he is so soft. it was a horrible dream..any suggestions???

    -Tony Crisp 2011-02-16 11:38:32

    Emmzibobs – Considering that in the world of dreams our most intimate fears and longings are given an exterior life of their own in the form of the people, objects and places of our dream. Therefore our sexual drive may be shown as a person and how we relate to them; or given shape and colour as an object; or given mood as a scene, something that haunts our memory shown as a ghost or demon. Our feeling of ambition might thus be portrayed as a business person in our dream – our changing emotions as the sea or a river; while the present relationship we have with our ambition or emotions is expressed in the events or plot of the dream.

    So your partner is not actually your partner, but your feelings about him. Your dog is not actually your dog but your usually helpful instincts.

    That you have put your partner in the role of an addict is an indication of how you have a hidden fear or feeling that you could destroy the love you have – because of your past. Such fears are normal, so do not feel that what you dream will come true. A dream is a mirror showing you what you are feeling deep inside – and you CAN choose the direction you want to take. To find help with making changes see

    That the first part of the dream deals with fear bout losing the partner that obviously means a lot to you, and that because of your past, the change in your dog can be because you are threatened by anything new. I do not mean your conscious mind, I mean the hidden worries that are lurking in the dark corners of your mind. So your dog that loves you is probably trying to attack anything new in your life. And if this is right, ask yourself whether you want to keep things exactly as they are. If so, you need to recognise that change is a constant pushing on. As Helen Keller so wisely says, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.



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