The word archetype is actually derived from the Latin and Greek languages, but the world of psychiatry, particularly the work of Carl Jung, is what brought the word into common usage.
Simply stated, an archetype is a prototype, or an original model. An archetype can also be used to mean the ideal example of a type.
Carl Jung used the word archetype to mean an instinct pattern of thought or imagery that was derived from collective experience. Jung believed in the existence of the collective unconscious that is that people are born knowing things learned from their ancestors.
There are several archetypes used in dream interpretation.
One of the most common of these archetypes is that of the child.
The child is quite a common symbol in dreams, and it is probably the most easily recognized archetypes. After all, everyone can remember what it was like to be a child the freedom of being a child, the unconditional love received from parents, the laughter and the innocence of the imagination.
In the world of dreams, the child reminds us of our past and our childhood. Dreams involving children, or dreaming of ourselves as children, often symbolizes an unconscious desire to go back to a simpler time. People in need of unconditional love often dream of being children or being surrounded by children.
Every psychology student is familiar with the concept of the inner child, the part of everyone that refuses to grow up, and is constantly in need of encouragement, comfort and unconditional love.
There are several other child archetypes and metaphors, and one of the most powerful of these is the Divine Child. The Divine Child archetype is often encountered in mythology, and there are examples of the Divine Child in almost every major religion and belief system in the world. This worldwide appearance is one of the hallmarks of a true archetype.
The Wounded Child, like the Divine Child, is also an archetype that is seen in cultures and religions all over the world. The wounded child archetype is most closely associated with children who have been neglected or abused. Dreaming of a wounded child, or dreaming of yourself as a wounded child, is often the manifestation of a desire for a loving, wonderful childhood.
In addition, the Wounded Child archetype may appear when you are facing something that reminds you of being a Wounded Child. For instance, being blamed for something you did not do at work can take you back to the times a parent treated you unfairly. Therefore, such a negative event in the workplace could trigger the appearance of the Wounded Child archetype in a dream.
There is no question that children are powerful dream symbols, and dreams about children can have many interpretations. When interpreting any dream, it is always important to consider the context of the dream, and to take it into account when examining the dream.
Recurring dreams involving children can have their own meanings as well, and they can often be triggered by memories of childhood. Often a return to a hometown, a grade school reunion, or running into a childhood friend you have not seen in years, can trigger dreams of being a child again. These types of dreams are among the most common in the world of dream interpretation.