Two interpretations of the purpose of an individual's dreamlife, posed by C. G. Jung in his "General Aspects of Dream Psychology":
The compensatory function of dreams is the ability of the unconscious to add to a conscious situation all the elements which remained subliminal due to repression. This compensation is "a self-regulation of the psychic organism."
The prospective function of dreams is an anticipation in the unconscious of future conscious achievements. Jung maintains that dreams which function in this capacity are not prophetic, but "merely an anticipatory combination of probabilities which may coincide with the actual behaviour of things but need not necessarily agree in every detail."
However, dreams often provide a more accurate prognosis of individual behaviour than conscious thought for two reasons:
1. A dream results from a combination of all the perceptions, thoughts and feelings which may be too subtle to register in consciousness.
2. Dreams can rely on "memory traces" that are no longer able to influence consciousness.