Theory of Dreams by V. Kasatkin

Theory of Dreams by V. Kasatkin

Theory of Dreams was written by Vasily Kasatkin, a Russian psychiatrist working in Moskow at the end of the Second World War. Kasatkin asked all of his patients about their dreams. This way, he gathered thousands of dreams from people with a variety of diseases. He analyzed all of them and wrote Theory of Dreams.

Published in Russia in 1967, it found its way to the West. Henri Ellenberger, famous for his Discovery of the unconscious was married to Emilie, who made translations of part of the book in French. As a gift she sent the translated parts to Bob van de Castle, who then used most of what Emilie had sent in Our Dreaming Mind.

In the book, Kasatkin makes a bold statement. “Describe me the dream of a person”, he said, “and I will tell you what illness he suffers from.” The second edition of his book was printed in 1970, and Kasatkin went on to conduct research in sport and motivation.


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Translating the book, I found the content surprisingly modern. I did my best to put in many footnotes, referring to the latest research and neurological findings for the diseases Kasatkin researched.

If you are interested in health and you are a vivid dreamer, this is the book for you. If you are intersested in dreams, and their ancient relation with health, this book will definitely be an interesting read. Theory of Dreams shows you how often dreams predict an illness. How dreams change during the course of a disease. And how dreams contain  messages for healing. Dream content is, of course dependent on the knowledge of the dreamer. Docters have much more detailed information about their medical health in dreams (sometimes they dream about their patients’ health too. If the average person dreams about health issues, the content gets more literal when the trauma for the body is severe. Dreams tend to get more symbolic when the healing process is started.

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